Harp Backer: Opponents Smashed Our Front Window

Contributed Photo(Updated) After somebody smashed the front window to Toni Harp’s Whalley Avenue mayoral campaign headquarters this weekend, a prominent supporter pointed the finger at her opponents—but the campaign itself officially held back.

The accusation came from campaign organizer and former West Rock Alderwoman Barbara Walker.

Walker was reacting to an incident that occurred at the 560 Whalley Ave. main Harp headquarters some time between Friday night and 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Police are looking into the incident to try to find out who may have broken the window.

Walker spoke out about the incident at a Saturday afternoon campaign barbecue at a building she owns on Dixwell Avenue. The event was the launch of a new Harp satellite campaign office in the building.

Walker argued that the window must have been broken by a supporter of a rival campaign, citing both Henry Fernandez and Kermit Carolina. She said she didn’t know who else it would have been.

“Let’s fight each other on the issues, not the buildings,” Walker said. “They wanted to try to destroy her headquarters because they don’t have anything to say. ... It’s just ridiculous.”

Walker is one of a group of former aldermen who have endorsed Harp. She was also a signatory to a letter released by the campaign earlier in the week in which prominent female Harp supporters attacked Carolina and Fernandez for sexist “bullying” of their candidate.

Both Carolina and Fernandez reacted sharply to Walker’s remarks.

“I wouldn’t even justify that comment with any response whatsoever. You can quote me on that. It’s important to me that everyone be safe and that democracy be given the opportunity to work in New Haven, I think that’s where we’re going to stay focused,” Fernandez said.

Carolina responded by phone from a wedding he was attending in Michigan, saying he wouldn’t “legitimize” the comment with a response. Then he said that, a few days ago, signs in front of his campaign headquarters had been torn down, and somebody attempted to hack into his campaign’s computer — actions he said he never ascribed to any of his opponents.

“I never for a minute thought that the Harp campaign, or any other campaign for that matter, would stoop to that level. I simply chalked it up to some person, for whatever reason, who wanted to vandalize property,” Carolina said.

He said he hopes whoever broke the window is caught and punished accordingly, adding that such behavior is “unbecoming” of his or any of his opponents’ campaigns.

“I give the other campaigns more credit that that,” he said.

Asked for a response to Walker’s comments, the Harp campaign issued this statement Sunday: “There is no place for violence or vandalism in any political campaign. We are glad nobody was injured as a result of this unfortunate incident. Our staff has filled out a police report, and we will let the proper authorities handle this matter from here.”

An earlier version of this article follows:

Toni Harp campaign manager Jason Bartlett showed up to his campaign headquarters Saturday morning to find broken glass on the sidewalk.

Two double-plated windows on the headquarters at 560 Whalley Ave. had been smashed, Bartlett said. He made the discovery at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, he said. Harp is running in a five-way Democratic primary for mayor.

After examining the windows with a local cop, Bartlett said, he determined “it looked like a baseball bat or some other heavy instrument was used to break the glass.”

He called the incident “disconcerting.”

“We don’t know if it was knuckleheads or if it was something else,” Bartlett said.

He said police are reviewing surveillance footage from across the street.

Harp’s campaign tried to leverage the incident into a fundraising opportunity: The campaign sent out an email to supporters Saturday morning announcing the vandalism and asking supporters for donations.

“Lets show the city that Toni won’t be intimidated!” the campaign wrote.

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posted by: Bill Saunders on July 20, 2013  2:33pm

I am no fan of vandalism, but I do admire some of the artistry. 

The precise placement of the spiderweb clouds the campaign message with gossamer wings.

The smashed hole is an impressionistic map of New Haven.

or maybe the medium is the message….either way, it’s a striking piece.

posted by: robn on July 20, 2013  2:58pm

Redneck Reichstag? anyone? anyone?

posted by: RCguy on July 20, 2013  3:27pm

I’d like to ask why this story is worthy of breaking the regular Saturday respite of the New Haven Independent?

[Editor: We just happened to have an editor working a Saturday shift.]

posted by: William Kurtz on July 20, 2013  7:01pm

““We don’t know if it was knuckleheads or if it was something else,” Bartlett said.”

Oh please. My window was smashed on Church St. about three weeks ago. Technically, I don’t know know if it was Toni Harp or if it was something else.

Please send me donations, too.

posted by: HhE on July 20, 2013  9:51pm

Good one on Mr. Bartlett for saying, “We don’t know if it was knuckleheads or if it was something else.”

Bad one on Sen. Harp’s campagin for parlaying this into a fund raiser, and saying, ““Lets show the city that Toni won’t be intimidated!”

This is not Ireland where a brick through your window means, “next time, it will be a bomb.”  This is some knucklehead outraged at a political personality or politics at large, or just some knucklehead with issues about glazing.  (I suppose the really synical might think one of her own people did it, but I for one am not that jaded—yet.)

posted by: ElmCityVoice on July 21, 2013  7:49am

These are some scary comments above. Blaming Harp’s camp for smashing its own headquarters windows? On this blog, it’s clear everyone is already decided. Everyone has made up his/her mind. That’s fine. But to be FOR one candidate is not to be AGAINST another. I think there are enough skeletons in closets to go around. Remember, after this election we all have to come back and be a community.

posted by: NewHavenerToo on July 21, 2013  8:02am

Ridiculous.  I’m sure Ms. Harp’s campaign already has enough money to replace that window.  Why would she ask for donations?  Is there a problem with the campaign’s coffers already?  I thought she was smarter than that.  I have a funny feeling that this might have been done on purpose in order to generate simpathy for her campaign and I am sure that I am not the ONLY one to think so.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 21, 2013  8:35am

I saw this on the news this morning and was amazed that Jason even tried to indicate that it is was more than a bunch of punks. I think that the only people thinking this was wise to try to spin are a few folks on her campaign team that put it out there. You hurt her even more. It came off as a desperate attempt to try to redirect the people from the more important facts and issues. I talked to a couple of harp supporters yesterday (yeah I know a few, but working on them :) And this made a fool of her. As they stated it came off to them as she is either really out of touch with the daily workings of this city to think it is more than wise ass kids. Or she thinks the people are that clueless and would actually think it was anything else but what we all deal with….campaigner redrick? PLEASE. One women said that Jason is the one steering her in every wrong direction. I think Jason is an alright guy but I can name many missed steps in her campaign Not listing them. But I think she needs to step aside and get her ducks in a row and try again next go around.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 21, 2013  9:51am

posted by: wendy1 on July 19, 2013 3:20pm

Sundiata made the debates worth going to and HE is the most honest of them all—no political hackery here—I’m poor, I’m black, and I’m sick of being ignored.  The large population of poor, underemployed, and homeless people will most likely still be ignored after the election.  I urged Justin to partner up with Sundiata, a diamond in the rough, with really good ideas.  I don’t know if he is listening but I expect more of the status quo with the others.  Sundiata had the guts to fight with Yale Corp. over their responsibility to the city.  I wonder how all you nay-sayers will respond when your taxes get raised next year or two.

This is what Sundiata Keitazulu put on his face book page.

Shaka Zulu shared New Haven Electables 2013’s photo.
about an hour ago ·

  Kermit Carolina is using Hitler hate tactics . Now he is inciting thugs to break windows. Like Hitler, Kermit didn’t break the windows his words did . Every candidate need to speak out against this behavior.

I can not hear you Shame the devil,

I can not hear you Thomas Alfred Paine.You did say I admire and commend Mr. Sundiata Keitazulu for having the courage and conviction to partake of the democratic process even though many people felt he was not a serious contender. He claimed to represent the people of his neighborhood and expressed many interests and desires of New Haveners. Mr. Keitazulu has been blunt, down-to-earth, honest and sincere, and a purveyor of common sense. His focus has been on jobs and vocational education for our youth and others.
Although he ended his campaign on a peculiar note and made numerous accusations about several other candidates, Mr. Keitazulu did not deserve to be called a bad parent by his daughter’s high school principal who made public before all of New Haven something that should have remained private and confidential.

HHE Robin what do you think.

posted by: robn on July 21, 2013  11:15am


I think Principal Carolina was right to point out Sen. Harps hypocrisy. I think he was over the line when he lost his temper and spoke about “parenting” another candidates kid (whether not not its true). Parenting might be an issue germane to the candidacy but to speak of it violates the privacy of the child who is innocent and deserves her privacy.

Mr.Keitazulu has an amusing BS detector and his candor was welcome in the campaign. Now that he’s abandoning his campaign (I think), he has a choice of either fading away or staying involved. It seems like he’s staying involved and effectively endorsing Sen Harp. So as a private citizen he’s got nothing to lose by speaking his peace; diplomatic or not. But if he’s going to drop he should do so and stop using debates as an opinion forum.

posted by: robn on July 21, 2013  11:22am

I know! Maybe this was the brick that Bob Proto and the BOA union supermajority were going to refuse to lay if Yale didn’t play ball with sweetheart contracts.

“Right now, we control 20 out of 30 seats on the Board of Aldermen. Any brick they want to lay down has to get approval from the new supermajority on the board.”
Bob Proto, June 27, 2012

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 21, 2013  1:31pm

@ Robin

But Mr.Keitazulu is over the line when he makes a statement like this.

This is what Sundiata Keitazulu put on his face book page.

Shaka Zulu shared New Haven Electables 2013’s photo.
about an hour ago ·

  Kermit Carolina is using Hitler hate tactics . Now he is inciting thugs to break windows. Like Hitler, Kermit didn’t break the windows his words did . Every candidate need to speak out against this behavior.

posted by: Righteous Cyclist on July 21, 2013  1:55pm

This only makes us stronger. That brick, cast out of hate, will be the foundation of a new town hall with Mayor Toni Harp in command. You can’t hold US back. Don’t even try.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 21, 2013  3:38pm

Key word in that quote..“control” how on gods green earth is that democracy? Another thing what true democratic elected official wants to be controlled? Well apparently 20 of them….and who suffers because these folks are controlled? The residents of the city.

posted by: robn on July 21, 2013  4:22pm

“Bully” is the favorite label used by passive aggressive people when they are met by people who are willing to openly fight back.

posted by: anonymous on July 21, 2013  5:06pm

I’m not saying the broken window itself was planned by Harp—but the reaction is a smokescreen to distract people from the massive slumlord & back taxes issue hanging around this campaign’s neck, which has featured prominently in the Courant and Register for days.

posted by: NewHavenerToo on July 21, 2013  6:07pm

Really?  The title of this article changed and the Harp supporter claims it was done by someone from another camp?  How irresponsible to state that.  Unless it was witnessed as so, the remark is out of hand.  One cannot ignore how heated the mayoral campaign has become, but to imply that it was done by ANY of the opposing campaigns is an outrage.  By the way,  we continuously hear from Ms. Walker but what is Ms. Harp’s take on it?

posted by: True that on July 21, 2013  8:01pm

I am amazed that a campaign with all those resources, and a career politican cannot get its messaaging correct.  First, it was likely to be some kids messing around.  Then, who knows, it could be another campaign.  Then, they send out an email asking for money so that Toni is not intimidated (though I see no connection between the two)and then, instead of disavowing that it is the work of another campaign, they say, not so coyley, that there is no room for violence in a campaign.  It is truly sad to see the Harp campaign sputter and implode because Jason has no clue what he is doing, and because Toni has failed to answer very importnat questions about the family business.  There is nothing for any campaign to gain by breaking windows - not one thing at all.  Who wants a Mayor so willing to play the victim card any time things don’t go her way?  The Harp campaign needs to grow up, and if Toni really wants to win, she should get rid of Jason.  In fact, I think Toni should drop out of the race, and try again two years from now after addressing the multiple issues raised in the campaign.

@robyn,  Carolina’s statement regarding Sundiata’s parenting skills, or lack thereof, don’t even come close to violating a student’s right to confidentiality.  Carolina neither compromised the student’s academic or disciplinary record, did not mention test scores or attendance, nor did he even come close to committing a HIPPA violation.  Reggie Mayo actually did compromise a student’s right to privacy when, in an argument with a parent at a public board of ed meeting, he revealed that he made lnuch and breakfast accomodations for the man’s son due to health concerns.  Now that was a clear violation.

Back to Harp.  It’s clear that the campaign is in trouble.  Perhaps having clear positions on importnat issues, and bravely admitting your failures in addressing the family business and tax issues will help you stay afloat.

posted by: Curious on July 21, 2013  10:05pm

How many windows get broken in New Haven every week?  How many random, senseless acts of violence are there?

What about the guy who got beaten bloody on Goffe by a gang of teens?  If he was a Harp supporter, would they be claiming that an opponent orchestrated the beating?

This is absurd and sad.  Using this as a fundraising rallying cry is just pathetic.  Sadly, it will likely bring in a fair amount of cash.

posted by: HhE on July 21, 2013  10:18pm

I have an idea:  since their is video footage, let us review that before we decide who must have done it.  I think the smart money is on some teenaged knucklehead.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 22, 2013  8:07am

Barbara Walker’s comments on the broken window are as stupid and senseless and the person who broke the window. In fact, it mirrors the silly letter invoking sexism and bullying because Harp’s opponents criticize Toni Harp’s decades of benign neglect on her family real estate holdings and tax problems. This shrill attack is what one would expect from a campaign with a candidate who has zero executive leadership skills, and who ignores problems to the point that it hurts state and local residents and taxpayers.

posted by: Curious on July 22, 2013  10:35am

If it was just knuckleheads, is the Harp campaign going to send out an email blast to everyone who sent in money saying it was vandals and not bullying at all, and send them their money back?

posted by: True that on July 23, 2013  5:14am

@curious,  great point. However, they already know who did it, they only need to take a good look at who first reported it.  It’s analogous to pyromanical firefighters who just happen to be driving by fires so that they can rush in and be heroes.  It’s sad that the Harp campaign has to result to casting it’s candidate as a victim.  They, in essence, went from presumed victor, to perpetual victim in less than two weeks.  They do not have a good candidate, nor do they have an operation worth mentioning.  All that money, and no clue how to win.

She should withdraw, fix the tax issue, fix the apartments, walk around Newhallville, take up residence in New Haven and run again in 6 years.  Maybe by then, we will have forgotten about all of this.