There’s This Spot Called “Fair Haven”

Thomas MacMillan Photo Roland Lemar likes the pizza on Grand Avenue. Debra Hauser likes meeting the interesting people in the Front Street housing projects who worry about murders. John Morrison doesn’t spend enough time in Fair Haven to have a favorite place.

As the Democratic candidates for New Haven’s only open state legislative seat faced off in a televised debate on Thursday night, a question about their favorite spot in Fair Haven revealed the diversity of their district and the candidates themselves.

The three contenders are vying to replace 96th State General Assembly District Rep. Cam Staples, who’s stepping down at the end of this term.

Thursday marked the second debate between East Rock Alderman Roland Lemar (at right in photo) and East Rock psychologist Debra Hauser (center). Read about the first one here.

They were joined on Thursday night by Hamden historian John Morrison (at left in photo), who entered the race last week.

The three candidates gathered in the studio of Citizens Television (CTV), the community access station on State Street in Hamden. The evening’s discussion touched on two areas that may feel forgotten—Fair Haven and Hamden—in a district that includes not only two different towns, New Haven and Hamden, but different east side New Haven neighborhoods with.

The question of Fair Haven favorites was raised by N’Zinga Shani (at right in photo), host of OneWorld Progressive Institute‘s “21st Century Conversation” program. Shani moderated the debate along with Advocate reporter Betsy Yagla.

The Independent was in the studio as the debate unfolded, live-blogging the action. Scroll down to read the play-by-play. The debate went live at 8 p.m., after an informal discussion with the candidates and their supporters in the studio.

Shani said she asked the question about Fair Haven to draw attention to the diversity of the 96th District, which includes the East Rock, Wooster Square, and Fair Haven neighborhoods.

Lemar was the first to answer. He mentioned two places he likes in Fair Haven—Chatham Square and Grand Apizza—and praised Grand Avenue as one of the most “vibrant” parts of the city.

Morrison, the only candidate who lives in Hamden, was next to answer. He admitted that he’s not familiar enough with Fair Haven to have a favorite spot. He compared Grand Avenue to Whitney Avenue in Hamden.

Hauser said she likes Front Street, after campaigning door-to-door in the rebuilt Quinnipiac Terrace housing projects there. “I really enjoyed going to the low-income housing there,” she said. “I hear very different things from people there.” The locals are concerned about murders in New Haven, she said.

Before the candidates revealed their relative familiarity with Fair Haven, they discussed another part of the district where voters may feel neglected—Hamden. In a discussion before the debate, a Hamden resident and Morrison supporter said it’s important that the next state representative for the 96th District come from Hamden.

With only 35 percent of the district in Hamden, the town gets short shrift, said Myron Hul. “New Haven wags the tail and Hamden gets the crumbs,” he said. Hamden faces the same problems but gets less state money than New Haven, he said.

Morrison who said during the debate that he was running for state representative because the previous candidate from Hamden dropped out, said after the debate that voters he speaks with have not raised the issue of inadequate Hamden representation. But he did say he’s running because another Hamden candidate dropped out.

But Hauser said Hamden is an issue in the race. “The meta-issue is that Hamden feels marginalized and underrepresented.” She said she is the candidate who “has a foot in both towns.” She lives in East Rock; her husband is a doctor in Hamden and her sons play baseball there.

The underlying issue is that “people are feeling a crisis of leadership,” she said. If a state representative weres getting Hamden what it needs, there would be no problem.

Hauser also said she wasn’t hearing about the issue from voters. “It’s the insiders who are squabbling about this.”

Lemar said that the real issue is Hartford, not Hamden or New Haven. Cities get “the short end of the stick” from the state government and then end up fighting each other, Lemar said. Both towns are facing the same problems, he said.

Live Blog

7:32 p.m.:The candidates are seated in the studio, at a table behind a couple of potted plants. A half-dozen of their supporters are seated in a bank of folding chairs to the left. The tech crew is attending to some last minute details as we wait for the discussion to begin.

7:41: N’Zinga Shani is addressing the room. Some crew members are missing, and it’s unclear if they’ll be able to broadcast the show.

Shani’s introduction: She says she’s been doing her show for 14 years. There are always technical challenges (like tonight). Shani gives a little personal and professional history. She is a health educator “by training and experience.” Her show focuses on civic engagement, along with health literacy.

Morrison and Hauser each have three supporters in the studio. Lemar has one, Yale Alderman Mike Jones. Alderman Darnell Goldson is here to support Hauser, along with former Alderman Alan Brison.

7:46: Shani asks the Morrison supporters: New Haven has always held the assembly seat. How important is it that Hamden get the seat?

Morrison’s supporters: Very. “New Haven wags the tail and Hamden gets the crumbs,” says Myron Hul (center left in photo), of Hamden.

Goldson (center right in photo) says Hauser is able to talk to everybody and find common ground.

Shani asks Lemar to respond to the Hamdenites.

Lemar: We need to focus on our similarities. Education, jobs, transportation, energy costs—these issues are the same in both towns. “The challenges before you are the same.” There are differences, but there is not a “competitive nature” between Hamden and New Haven.

Shani addresses Morrison: How are you going to convince New Haven that Hamden won’t start “wagging the tail” and New Haven will be left out.

Morrison: I’ve spent a good part of my life in New Haven, at Yale. “It’s a great city…”

[Buzzing static interrupts him.]

Lemar: The three of us believe strongly in our district and will work strongly for the people who live there.

Hul, a Morrison supporter, speaks up: New Haven gets more funding than Hamden for Education Cost Sharing. New Haven receives “a boatload more money,” but the demographics of the schools aren’t that different. 53 percent of students are minority.

Shani: But Hamden is far smaller.

Hul: Hamden has historically seen a lower level of funding but we have the same problems, that aren’t being addressed by Hartford.

Shani: So the representative should be from Hamden?

Hul: Exactly. New Haven is the bigger entity.

Goldson: The homeless come to New Haven. Folks who need drug treatment come to New Haven. Hamden residents come to New Haven to work.

7:57: Lemar lends his wristwatch to Shani to time question responses. We’re moments away from going live. Shani takes her seat next to Yagla.

7:59: Shani gives last-minute instructions. “I’m glad you’re here and I hope you’ll find that it was worth your time. ... I hope we can make this meaningful.” There will be time at the end for direct questions by the candidates and closing statements.

8:00: And we’re on the air! Watch the debate on Comcast Channel 26.

Shani: Welcome. The 96th District seat is open for the first time in about 15 years. Introductions:

Lemar: Good Evening. I’m an alderman. I live in New Haven.

Hauser: Thanks for having me. I’m a clinical psychologist. I got involved in my community around my children. I gave up my private practice to be a community activist.

Morrison: I’ve lived for 30 years in Hamden. We had another candidate from Hamden who dropped out. I’ve replaced him.

Betsy Yagla is introduced.

Shani (picking up on the theme of the conversation moments ago): This is the only district that straddles two towns. This causes some concern. People worry that New Haven is getting the better representation.

8:04: Shani reads bios for the candidates: Lemar studied at UMass Amherst, worked on New Haven’s Safe Streets campaign, fought blight, is “a strong believer that money should not corrupt politics,” and is the first candidate to qualify for public financing.

Shani: Morrison has been politically active all his life, was one of the original “teens for Kennedy,” is the vice-chair of the Hamden Democratic committee, has been on the police commission.

Shani: Hauser was a clinical psychologist, became a full-time community activist (as an aside, Shani says she identifies with this strongly), founded the neighbor-to-neighbor community toy drive, became Democratic co-chair of Ward 10, and worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign.

8:08: Yagla begins the questioning:

Question 1: What would you do to jump-start job creation in the region and the state?

Lemar: We’ve lost a lot of jobs. We’re approaching 9 percent unemployment. We are not positioned well to compete. We export more people between 18 and 34 than any other state. The answer: First address energy costs. Why would businesses want to come to Connecticut when energy prices are high? Also, we’re not investing enough in our community-college-to-job pipeline. We need to prepare the next generation of workers to work in high-growth fields. Also, we need to lower property taxes.

Hauser: A very important question and a central issue to my campaign. Without a vibrant economy our state will continue to be in trouble. We have a historic deficit. One, we need to “really woo” companies to come to Connecticut. We also need, the “Silicon Valleys of California:” biotech firms, for instance. We need to attract more companies and keep the ones that are here. “We have a very high-cost state for businesses.” High labor costs, high taxes, high utility costs. We need to address all of those.

Morrison: One of the problems I see for business is that we have an obsolete tax system. We depend largely on property tax. This is based on a lifestyle 100 years old, when people derived their wealth from their land: farms. [Unsurprisingly, Morrison, a historian, is giving a historical answer.] After WWII, there was a shift in population to the cities, but the tax system has not changed. We need an aggressive income tax.  We have a flat 4 percent tax. We need a progressive income tax for the upper levels.

8:15: Shani: Do you think Yale should be paying taxes?

Morrison: No. The state is not paying Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT). But with a progressive income tax, it could be.

Lemar: Anything revenue-producing and not core to education at Yale should be taxed. The state has never lived up to PILOT. We need to be compensated.

Shani: If elected, would you take PILOT up with the legislature, to make sure it’s honored?

Hauser: It’s currently funded at only 63 percent. But what concerns me most is we need a “smarter, leaner government.” “We need government that’s accountable.” I’m concerned about programs being funded without enough review.

Yagla: How would you help to balance the next state budget?

Hauser: We have a big task ahead of us. It’s a highly complex problem. Ultimately we’ll have to find a balance between taxing and spending cuts. “I’d like to introduce ‘results-based accountability’.”

Morrison: Two years from now $5 billion deficit is projected. Towns will be cutting their education budgets and “it’s the children that are going to suffer.” We need to fund education, the only way is a graduated income tax.

Lemar: We face an unprecedented challenge. How we address the deficit will define how the state grows. We have to radically rethink everything we do, from revenues to costs. Smart decisions around transportation and education. Hamden and New Haven have weathered the recession pretty well. We need to look at a progressive tax structure. [Lemar agrees with Morrison.]

Hauser: I disagree with John regarding taxes. We can actually find more money, by closing tax loopholes and eliminating tax credits.

Shani: So you disagree with progressive taxation?

Hauser: No. But it’s not an answer to all our ills. We need to do other things as well, like closing tax loop holes.

8:25: Morrison: Lower level earners are paying 35 percent, while upper level earners pay 4 percent. [He speaks directly to the camera, unlike the other candidates.]

Yagla: Would you support regionalization?

Morrison: If you’re going to do it, who is going to run it? “You’re creating a whole bureaucracy.” Is that the way to save money?

Lemar: Regionalism is a clear top priority. There are huge additional cost associated with the tiny divisions caused by town lines. We need to regionalize services for the cost efficiencies and the improved service levels. Regionalization means sharing costs across boundaries.

Shani: Economies of scale.

Lemar: Exactly. Like plowing beyond town lines on Whitney Avenue.

Hauser: I’m in support of regional cooperation.

8:31: Yagla brings up the topic of red light cameras. Would you support them?

Lemar: We need to look at this as an appropriate tool to make our streets safer. In my neighborhood, I don’t feel safe letting my daughter walk down the street to the store because of the traffic. I helped develop the complete streets program last year. I’ve been working with Hamden residents on this.

Hauser: I’m deeply concerned about public safety. Livable streets are deeply important to me. But I’m concerned about the costs, given the looming deficits.

Shani: How about the privacy issue?

Hauser: I feel mixed about it. 9/11 never really leaves me. Security is very important to me. I’m concerned about Metro North and the harbor. But I would be in favor of the cameras.

Morrison: As former president of the Spring Glen Civic Association we’ve been dealing with this. I live on Whitney Avenue. I’m not only in favor of the cameras, we’d like to put in solar powered speed signs. I don’t see it as a privacy issue. We’re looking at speed humps, new crosswalks, new pedestrian crossing technologies.

8:36: Yagla: Do you support local option taxes that would allow cities to levy hotel or sale taxes, for instance?

Hauser: I’m concerned about sales tax being a regressive tax. But hotel tax would be a viable way to raise revenue. I’d also consider a “targeted luxury tax” on expensive boats and cars.

Lemar: I agree, we need to provide the state with new ways of taxation. Also municipalities should be able to make these decisions on their own. Sales taxes are regressive. We should look at hotel taxes, real estate conveyance taxes, and city income taxes.

Morrison: It’s not just local taxes. It’s sales tax loopholes. For instance, yachts are exempt from sales tax.

8:41: Shani: Where is your favorite place in Fair Haven?

Lemar: Chatham Square Park, Grand Apizza. Grand Avenue is one of the most vibrant places in New Haven.

Morrison: I have to admit I don’t go there that often, but Grand Avenue is like Whitney Avenue, because of the small shops. We need to preserve that.

Hauser: Front Street. I loved it there. I really enjoyed going to the low-income housing there, that’s been refurbished. I hear very different things from the people there. People there are concerned about the murders in New Haven.

Shani: Speaking of crime, when people are released from prison they’re dropped on Whalley Avenue. What, specifically, would you do to address the prison re-entry program? To prevent a revolving door to prison?

Morrison: This comes back to the tax system. We need a progressive tax system that can provide for these people.

Shani: Let me clarify. What would you do if you took the seat and the legislative session starts, to ensure that people are not let loose to commit more crimes.

Morrison: You need housing and training. They could have dorms where they could live and be trained. You have to teach them and train them.

Hauser: This is a highly complex problem. These were vulnerable children and became vulnerable juvenile offenders. There is no infrastructure that I can see. There should be a prison re-entry center. We need political will. We need a coordinated effort. I don’t have a quick fix. We need a coordinated coherent approach.

Shani: What would you do specifically?

Lemar: People dropped off are handed a guide and told good luck. Half of them will need mental health services. Two-thirds will be re-arrested. This needs to be dealt with before release.

Shani: What would you do?

Lemar: Two things—getting them involved with homeless agencies and job agencies. It should begin in the Department of Corrections, before release.

8:50: Shani: John, ask Debra and Roland a question.

Morrison: What’s the best way to make Connecticut more business-friendly?

Lemar: Invest in education. That’s the first priority. Investing in transportation is the second thing. We have a 19th century transportation system.

Hauser: Close the achievement gap. We have international, racial, and income achievement gaps.

Time for Lemar’s question.

Lemar: How can we close the achievement gap?

Morrison: 100 percent funding of education paid for by progressive income tax.

Hauser to ask a question.

Hauser, to Lemar, How do we end poverty?

Lemar: It’s around schools and jobs. Close the achievement gap and create opportunities for employment. The silver bullet is education.

8:56: Closing statements:

Morrison closing statement: The progressive income tax has to be the key. It will lower property taxes and allow business to thrive and create equity.

Hauser closing statement: I am an experienced passionate leader, I’m a great consensus builder, and I feel passionate about improving Connecticut. We need an atypical candidate.

Lemar: The best of Connecticut is in front of us. I’ve been able to build consensus. I’m ready for the challenge next year. The best days are in the future and I’m ready to get us there.

8:58: Shani wraps it up with thank yous all around.

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Comments

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 3, 2010  8:01pm

Not so sure that Yale connection is a big selling point to New Haven tax payers, As many that work there do not live and spend here Morrison

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 3, 2010  8:04pm

Well maybe some of the surrounding towns can start taking the homless and drug treatment people…ect. Relesed prisoners left on the street from at parts of the state?

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 3, 2010  8:18pm

the pilot agreements say if the money is available…loop hole

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 3, 2010  8:49pm

This woman is not running this debate right

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 3, 2010  9:31pm

How is Morrison going to represent Fair haven, Cedar hill, and certain parts of Wooster Area, if as stated he never really has been? With out hands on knowledge there is no way he can comprehend their needs and plight.

With that said what I came away from this with was Passion does not play politics it CHANGES politics!

Who do we want to Represent us…Cam is a hard act to follow… and then I remember 2 years ago when Gary Holder Winfield ran…and everybody tried to knock him down because is lack of experience…but not his lack of community work. But he did have passion. That passion gave him the ability to go up to Hartford and not just Represent us but FIGHT for us and surprised he knocked it out of the ball park. My life has shown me that passion is the key to success not going through the motions

posted by: Nony on June 3, 2010  11:18pm

Enjoyed the debate.  Interestingly, Hauser seems to have flip-flopped on the sales tax issue and cribbed from Lemar his stance on this at last week’s event.

From last week’s NHI article:  “She did, however, suggest that an immediate alternate pot of money for social services and relief to property tax owners could come from a very modest increase in the sales tax.

Lemar called that regressive and, unlike the progressive income tax, a burden on lower earners.”

Glad to see, though, that John Morrison hasn’t changed his tune at all!  Not sure that I agree with him that a progressive income tax will cure all that ails us, but I admire his focus and his determination to make the other candidates address his pet issue.

Did the red light camera/9-11/harbor thing make more sense on tv than it did in live blog?  Or the comment that the best thing about Fair Haven is public housing and murders?

posted by: streever on June 3, 2010  11:24pm

Gary had credible experience though, CHR: while not as a legislator, certainly working with legislature. He worked with Dyson & did good things in his neighborhood.

I think Roland has both the passion & the experience. He has authored legislation, true, but I think one of his biggest assets is he finds citizens who want to do things & then gets them in a position to do it. Between his support of Elicker for FERP, Berkowitz for See Click Fix & a variety of other projects, and myself in bike & street smarts advocacy (not to mention neighborhood blockwatchs with Siedlerz and others) he has proven to be very good at connecting citizens to government.

I think in addition to the several bills he has sponsored, his ability to get the average person invested & involved in city government will be a great asset when he starts using it to get us involved in changing State government too.

How do you build businesses in CT? Get business owners to get involved and ask for the changes they want to see. I can’t think of anyone better for the job.

posted by: Walt on June 4, 2010  6:38am

As a Hamdenite who felt cheated with Staples as his Rep,  I do not expect any of those likely to be elected to be of any help to us,  as they are elected primarily by New Haven folk,  and their allegiance goes to those who elected them.

We did better when we shared the district with parts of North Haven and had similar interests.

We were reapportioned into a New Haven -controlled district in order to strengthen Dem power in the region.

I’ll vote for a Hamdenite if given the opportunity, but that is unlikely.  The political facts prevent it.

posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on June 4, 2010  7:32am

Both favorites, Hauser and Lemar, are right on about the importance of closing the achievement gap.  It really is the main driver of economic prosperity in the long run - but also the short run (Just imagine how many people would want to move to New Haven if it was widely recognized as THE best center for urban education?)

But now the hard part.  What would both of these candidates do to actually help close the gap?

- Pour more money into the current system ala the CCJEF lawsuit which would simply reform the way we pay for education by shifting the revenue stream from property taxes to income taxes, all the while ignoring the fundamental problem with how education is actually delivered? (This one I call “Titanic deck-chair solution”)

- Follow the kumbaya songbook recently written by the State Dept of Education and the teachers unions which has as its core refrain “collaboration” instead of education? (slow lane to reform)

- Or, as Hauser said, use Results-Based-Accountability to inform policy makers and politicians about what solutions are working for children NOW? (The fast lane to reform)

- How about supporting progressive policies and laws such as:

- Money-Follows-The-Child which would immediately inject a significant measure of much needed accountability into the system;

- Provide equal operating and facility funding for high-performing urban charter schools;

- Tear down all policy and legal barriers which still keep highly qualified and effective teachers from being able to enter our system fom other places and professions to teach in our public schools;

- Abolish state’s binding arbitration system which in school matters, favors adults at the expense of children;

- Make Connecticut schools a “Right-to_work” zone;

- Make Connecticut the most welcoming state for Teach for America by providing public funds for this highly effective program;

- Advocate for vouchers, or opportunity scholarships for low income children to immediately access inter-district magnet, parochial, and private schools that are working for children today, not five years from now;

Most importantly, put yourself in the position of a single parent, working 2 jobs, with meager family financial resources, and whose 8-year old child is assigned to a school that has NEVER delivered results.  What would you want to see happen to save your child’s future? 

Spend a day with the folks at ConnCAN and CT-BAEO.  Read up on the results.  Take a stand.  Be bold.

posted by: Hauser Supporter on June 4, 2010  8:03am

Nony:

Does it frighten you that one of the candidates is willing to enter public housing in Fair Haven and speak to the residents about the issues that concern THEM? Now you know that she did not say that the best thing about FH was the projects and murders, but why let the truth get in your way.

I don’t agree with Hauser on the red light thing, but at least she got me to think about it from another angle.

Regarding the tax issue, it seems to me that she got a chance to explain her entire stance on the issue, instead of being partially and misquoted. I like the fact that she is looking to close corporate loopholes and tax luxury items.

Oh, and yes, I am willing to admit that I support her, why don’t you do the same with Lemar?

posted by: Somewhat neutral on June 4, 2010  9:40am

I’m not going to pretend that I am completely neutral - but I will try to give an honest assessment. I going to vote for Morrison because I beleive we have a realshot to pick -up a seat for Hamden as the two New Haveners fight themseles.

In order of overall performance though,

1) Lemar - He was clear and concise, gave relevant information,knew his stuff and had good command of issues.  had good ideas on how to address problems.  Great energy and passion.

2) Morrison - Not quite as good as Lemar and didn’t have the same breadth of knowledge, but was on point, he come across smart and knowledgeable and he clearly has a specific plan for improving Hamden and New haven and making the State take on its responsibilities.  He demonstrated great ability to understand the needs of Hamden and outshone Lemar/Hauser when it came to talking aboutwhat he has done in Spring glen.  He’ll be good for Hamden.

3) Hauser - Not good.  A pleasant and personable enough candidate.  She avoided a lot of questions, gave answers she clearly didn’t understand and kept having to circle back to copy Morrison or Lemar’s answers.  My neighbors know her and think highly of her, but it did not come across in this debate.

posted by: Nony on June 4, 2010  9:45am

@ Hauser Supporter

I wasn’t trying to mask my support of Roland.  I figured it was a given.

In fact, the simple fact that I live in Ward 9 makes it a given that I support him.  He’s been a great alder and we’ll miss him when he’s in Hartford but everyone who’s dealt with him knows he’s the person for the job.  He works with neighbors to accomplish their goals, whether it’s traffic calming, community policing, or reducing blight and, in fact, he’s the true community activist in this race. 

On a side note: thanks for adding another ridiculously condescending note to the Hauser campaign.  First there was the “women’s vote” fiasco.  Now you’ve added the “willing to enter public housing” argument.  Kudos to Debbie for being “willing” to walk the streets of our neighborhoods.  I don’t know who in New Haven…  would paint that as a giant plus rather than as A TOTAL GIVEN when you (a) live in New Haven or Hamden, which also has its fair share of public housing, and (b) are hoping to represent an economically diverse district.

posted by: Rick on June 4, 2010  9:49am

I hadn’t known much about Morrison before this. Thanks for the coverage.

Morrison is pretty good. I’d bet that the New Haven candidates would be hard pressed to name their favorite biz in Hamden. But that’s the deal with two-town districts.

I’d feel better about having a Hamden rep since he would have to pay attention to New Haven, whereas the New Haven rep would tend to ignore Hamden.

I’m skeptical of Hauser. Moreso because of Goldson’s support for her. If you tell Hamden voters that Darnell Goldson - who first wanted to build more projects on your border and now wants to send released prisoners to your corner - has alot to say about this race (its not even in his district, is it?) she’ll have problems.

Nobody’s clamoring to open treatment clinics and halfway houses in the People’s Republic of Wooster Square - let’s not act like the suburbs invented NIMBYism.

Morrison or Roland for me. Lemar is a smart ambitious guy - he won’t screw this up.
...

posted by: Hauser Supporter on June 4, 2010  10:15am

Rick:

Sounds like an act of desperation by the Lemar campaign by bringing Goldson into the mix. I would suppose that all the candidates have supporters that do not live in the district. As far as I know Goldson doesn’t build housing projects nor does he deliver or house released prisoners, but again, why let facts get in the way. I guess you did not catch the last budget debate in New Haven. I wish Goldson did live in the district, since he was one of the few alders that voted to NOT raise taxes. Lemar not only voted to raise our taxes, but he also led the charge for Mayor John D. And hey, wasn’t Lemar the one who submitted an amendment to cut $3 million from our schools budget, yet voted against the Goldson amendment to cut $49,000 from the mayor’s budget. And finally, wasn’t Lemar the alder quoted on this site to support Mayor John Ds proposal to add a sales and income tax to New Haven shoppers and workers?

If I were a Hamden voter, I know who I would NOT vote for.

posted by: sjbj on June 4, 2010  10:47am

Hauser Supporter, don’t you think it’s a little ridiculous to try to paint Lemar as the Mayor’s boy (e.g.,  “Lemar not only voted to raise our taxes, but he also led the charge for Mayor John D”, etc.) when Ms. Hauser has been one of the biggest fundraisers for DeStefano? Or are you counting on folks not knowing that?
And, yes , I do support Lemar.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 4, 2010  11:56am

My question would have been to all three is do you know the real deal on this crooked school reform. And how do we stop this.

http://epicpolicy.org/files/disinvest.htm

posted by: abg on June 4, 2010  11:58am

Most of Fair Haven is NOT in this district (this would have been a better response for Morrison, who otherwise acquitted himself well in this debate)... but can someone who supports Deb Hauser please explain to me what on earth she was trying to say by volunteering that she loves hearing about murders at Fair Haven housing projects? (And thanks for making that the lede, Tom—but readers have to actually watch the whole sequence to appreciate just how much this resembled some of Sarah Palin’s responses in the infamous Katie Couric interview.)  Or what was she trying to say in her Giuliani-esque answer to the red-light camera question, when she first said we can’t afford cameras (actually, they bring in revenue), then changed the subject and started blathering about homeland security and 9/11? One might have thought that after her disastrous performance in the first debate against Lemar, Hauser might have immersed herself in the minutiae of public policy affecting the 96th district. One might have expected her to show up at some of the budget meetings at City Hall.  One might have expected her to learn something about red-light cameras, which have been a recurring legislative priority for New Haven for several years. One might have thought that having a third candidate enter the race would be a kick in the ass and encourage her to hone her message. These are things a serious candidate would have done.  I don’t have particularly high expectations for state rep candidates, but at this point in the race, to the extent that Deb Hauser is a serious candidate at all it is ONLY because she has deep pockets. Darnell et al., you are honorable people and you have some legitimate beefs with the “machine”—but for your own sake STAY AWAY from this toxically unqualified candidate or risk completely destroying your credibility! If you absolutely must support someone other than Lemar, I would seriously suggest going with Morrison.

posted by: Hauser Supporter on June 4, 2010  2:16pm

To sjbj:

I think it is a little ridiculous to try to insinuate that Lemar is NOT the Mayor’s boy. Who led the charge at the BOA meeting for the mayor’s budget that increased taxes on New Haveners by $10 million? Lemar! Who put forward a budget amendment to cut $3 million from the BOE budget to put in the mayor’s phony Innovative Based Budgeting? Lemar! Who refused to and voted against cutting a measly $49000 from the mayor’s office budget? Lemar!

Are you counting on folks not knowing that?

posted by: Darnell Goldson on June 4, 2010  2:28pm

I must say that I resent unnamed folks injecting me into the 96th District debate. I support Ms. Hauser because of the work she has done in my former community, Newhallville, and because I genuinely like her as a person. It is not because of some manufactured and non existent feud between Roland and I, who I also think is a nice enough guy.

This election is not about me, or Mayor DeStefano, or Sarah Palin (as one previous poster tried to say), but instead it is about who can best represent folks who normally do not have a voice in this government. That is why Ms. Hauser thinks it is important that Fair Haveners in public housing should be listened to, and young African Americans with no hope of employment should be counseled, and young mothers should be cared for and assisted.

Please listen to the candidates and review their records, instead of throwing around the names of people who really don’t make a difference in the end (like me).

posted by: Louis on June 4, 2010  4:03pm

Which one of these candidates has the most life experience?  Which one owns a home, has raised or is raising children, has a career,an education, etc? That’s who I would vote for.

posted by: EastRocker on June 4, 2010  10:37pm

Opinion of mostly clueless voter just now tuning into the campaign:  my vote goes Lamar,  Hauser sounds like a disaster.

posted by: Eli Antonio on June 5, 2010  8:54am

This kind of program, focusing on LOCAL elections is exactly why an outlet like Citizens Television and The Independent will remain both necessary and viable in the years to come. My only issues are that in both cases, the people who are the are “talent” tend to come across as too self important for my liking. but you temper that, you’ve got local gold.

posted by: Ned on June 5, 2010  10:09am

Ms. Hauser has already been rejected by the voters in her own ward.  In addition, that humongous SUV Ms. Hauser drives around in says two things to me: power trip, and screw the environment.

posted by: Out of district on June 6, 2010  12:24pm

Phew…

Glad I live in northern Hamden, a suburb of Cheshire. We actually have a two-party system here. Imagine that.

posted by: LR on June 6, 2010  4:19pm

Ms. Shani is a terrific moderator, especially when it comes to difficult subjects, like politics.  Thank you for shedding light on the candidates’ perspectives re: the Fair Haven district—-we would not otherwise find such illuminating discourse re: the local political scene.

posted by: Leonidas on June 6, 2010  5:16pm

Did they ask the candidates what their favorite place in Spring Glen or the State Street are of Hamden were??