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Make That Ricci AND DeStefano

by Paul Bass | Sep 5, 2011 3:18 pm

(65) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Campaign 2011

Paul Bass Photo The two named adversaries in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court joined forces at the Dixwell fire station, as Mayor John DeStefano snagged a potent Labor Day campaign endorsement.

The endorsement, by Local 825 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, took place Monday afternoon.

Standing right next to the mayor as the union backed his bid for a tenth two-year term was Frank Ricci, the lead plaintiff in a reverse-discrimination suit against DeStefano’s administration. That suit—over whether the mayor’s team should have tossed results of a promotional exam—sparked a nationwide debate over race and hiring. It led to a split Supreme Court decision that changed the rules by which governments are to weigh race in hiring. After seven years of divisive public wrangling, the DeStefano administration settled the case this July 28 by agreeing to pay the 20 plaintiffs and their lawyers more than $5 million.

Six weeks later, the fire union’s executive board, of which Ricci is a member, offered its politically significant endorsement to the mayor. It’s significant for reasons beyond the symbolism of the Ricci v. DeStefano case: Local 825 (and firefighters in general) are among the hardest-working unions in political campaigns. And the mayor has been at odds with municipal unions this year as he seeks health and pension givebacks. In fact, the firefighters’ contract expired on June 30; the two sides aren’t near a new one.

Ricci (at right with the mayor in the above photo), the local’s vice-president and treasurer, noted before the event began Monday that the local also endorsed DeStefano’s 2006 gubernatorial bid even though the lawsuit was unresolved at the time.

“As in anything in life,” Ricci said, “we have to judge somebody in the totality of their record.” He praised DeStefano for obtaining $4 million to upgrade the fire training academy, for maintaining equipment at national standards, for growing the city’s tax base at a time when other cities are shrinking.

Local 825 President James Kottage (at center in photo) repeated those points during the formal endorsement. He also signaled that his union is open to negotiating health and pension concessions.

“Yes, like any city, we are dealing with the financial meltdown and realities that future adjustments need to be made,” Kottage said. “Firefighters pay into their pensions and don’t receive social security, and we believe under Mayor John DeStefano’s experience to manage a large city that we will be able to make fair and equitable adjustments for roper health and pension benefits.”

“We’ve got to figure out a way to balance our budget and be fair to people” who do the city’s work, DeStefano echoed when his turn came to speak. Since only one reporter showed up to cover the event, he turned to address directly the dozen firefighters assembled behind him in front of Engine 4. “We know we’ve got some issues in front of us. Let’s find a way” to work them out.

Afterwards, Kottage said the two sides haven’t begun negotiating a new contract. No specific proposals for pension or health givebacks have been put on the table. The firefighters are currently working under the provisions of the old one.

The union has decided to “sit on the sidelines” as the city hammers out contentious talks with custodians (now in arbitration) and AFSCME Local 884, which represents clerical workers and police dispatchers.

“Being on the sidelines isn’t the worst place to be,” Kottage said.

“We’re willing to negotiate some adjustments. We understand the totality of the financial mess,” he said. “But we’re not going to solve the problems on the firefighters’ backs.”

Jeffrey Kerekes, one of three Democrats challenging DeStefano in the Sept. 13 primary, issued this statement following the endorsement:

“It is disappointing that the Fire Department Local 825 endorsed John DeStefano. It did so without asking one question, listening to one minute or making one phone call to me or the campaign. What value should be placed on an endorsement when the union, just like the mayor, refuses to listen to anyone and makes decisions in a vacuum? More importantly though, is our significant concern that once again, John DeStefano may have bought off union support with yet another contract for which he has neither the money or the track record of honoring.”

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posted by: Frank Ricci on September 5, 2011  3:49pm

Must see two PSAs and public safety information by New Haven Fire Fighters. Go to our home page Newhavenfirefighter.org

This endorsement did not just come from me, but was based on the leadership of President Kottage and the recommendation by our E board.

Our goal is to protect the citizens of this great city and advocate for our members.

posted by: Jon Doe on September 5, 2011  4:12pm

Let me get this straight OK. Jeffrey Kerekes gets told he can not collect signatures on city land when he was at City Hall, then is told the same thing at the farmers market held in a city park, Right.

But it is ok for John DeStefano to campaign in front of a City own Fire station and to hang posters for his re-election on a City own Fire truck.

Am I the only one who see this.

posted by: Ora on September 5, 2011  4:26pm

Kottage and Ricci ...
...  You don’t want the budget balanced on the backs of the firemen. No union wants the budget balanced on their members backs. Sit on the sidelines, cut your deal with .... mayor, but beware he will cut your throats when need be.

posted by: Elaine Braffman on September 5, 2011  4:35pm

Jon Doe,
No you are not the only one who sees this. This is what happens when an incumbent mayor feels he is bigger than life. Incredible abuse of power. Very unfortunate that he waves his magic wand and all jump. That is why he must be removed.
Elaine

posted by: ohmygod on September 5, 2011  5:13pm

I feel a little throw up in my mouth right now.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 5, 2011  5:45pm

My personal observations:

To have Ricci give his endorsement of John DeStefano is to slap taxpayers and residents in the face. We have stood with him in his battle and now that he won, we will dig deep in our pockets to pay somewhere between $6 and $12 million or more to him and his fellow firefighters, not because they earned it but because DeStefano did them wrong. It is precisely these kinds of settlements that are breaking this city financially.

A couple of other points:

1. The union never heard from another candidate.

2. John does not run a large city. This is a small city by any measure other than Connecticut. Perhaps Ricci and company should travel outside the state more often - not on our dime.

3. Experience does not equal expertise. John has plenty of experience making rich contracts we can’t sustain; hiring people we don’t need and can’t pay for; building schools we can’t afford and a number of them we dont need; plenty of experience running through police chiefs and watching the murders roll by; plenty of experience racking up monster debts now well over a billion dollars and plenty of experience overseeing the school system, appointing school board members and sitting on the school board himself when he is not running for governor, and handing us a failed school system stuffed with his cronies, drop out factories and poor educational results

What experience does JDS have that is so overwhelming that his union doesn’t even feel the need to look at another candidate? LOL

4. Since most of the union members live in nicer communities with lower taxes and less crime among other things, I think their endorsement should be taken with a lot of salt. If we weren’t paying them $100K they would never darken the doors of this city. They’ve already voted with their feet.

5. One more note: I’m tired of a hook and ladder truck stopping for coffee at Manjares and blocking traffic.

posted by: Jan Vincent on September 5, 2011  6:29pm

This Union might give money to the campaign, but are absolutely worthless otherwise. I’ve never seen them stump for votes anywhere,not in my ward,nor street,nor abode, i would have laughed in their face anyways as they DON’T LIVE IN NEW HAVEN ! Turn them around and place one big boot on bone. yes thank you for fighting a few fires, but that’s it..maybe something about the “machine” that’s placed in these houses ?!

posted by: Another great one on September 5, 2011  7:36pm

hey destefano, why dont you worry less about getting the fire fighters to back you and more about the police.  I dont see the city up in arms about city fires.  Yet 25 murders? hmmmm that may be a hot button issue.  Give the cops whatever they ask for, they will back you, and we can all sit back and watch this city crumble

posted by: cityworker on September 5, 2011  7:42pm

I agree with Jon Doe.  It’s good to be the King!

posted by: Lets Stay Together on September 5, 2011  7:45pm

This is not about the record this is about “Lets Stay Together”! Ricci v DeStefano was nothing other than a payday. Shame on you New Haven Firebirds for this farce and the City of New Haven pays this guy and the fire department brass and your union turns around and endorses him. .... The New Haven Independent will not print this because it is deemed devisive against King Johnnies mayoral run…

[Editor: We’re happy to run the comment. Just not the racial slur you put it in it. ]

posted by: streever on September 5, 2011  7:50pm

John Doe—
the Mayor even gets to have his appointed staff ask children to be in a video promoting head start, and then use it for his campaign.

People keep voting the same guy in and expecting things to get better. Someone please define “cognitive dissonance” for me.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on September 5, 2011  7:50pm

John Doe: Mayor John Estevan—never stops campaigning, as he lives for reelection. What else is new?

posted by: Willie on September 5, 2011  7:56pm

The New Haven Fire Department Union members must be getting something other than smoke in their noses!!

If they think ... John DeStefano is supportive of the police and fire departments, they has totally lost sight of reality.

posted by: Please on September 5, 2011  8:31pm

To all my hero’s in the NHFD now is this time to speak out!  Knowing how MANY of you really feel, it makes me sad to see you who risk your lives for us will not stand with us. Those of us that who have stood next to you when you needed us are really saddened by this announment. Worker of the FD you need to unit and speak out now,

posted by: Stan Muzyk on September 5, 2011  8:51pm

Let Mayor DeStefano campaign, just as his political opponents are entitled to campaign against him.

posted by: Ora on September 5, 2011  9:09pm

Anyone know where Ricci and Cottage live? In what city that is.

posted by: Edward Francis on September 5, 2011  9:31pm

In tough times the firefighters union also stood by Bartholomew Guida and Biago DiLieto in the mayoral election, during their era, for the same reasons. Those endorsements included advertisements of their support in the newspaper and the unions volunteer work on election day. The firefighters union are protecting their turf to ensure their lives that are put on the line are not compromised by an inept candidate. Did any of the other candidates approach the union for their support?

posted by: Brian M. on September 5, 2011  10:14pm

Why are the Kerekes-supporting commenters and the NHI surprised by this?

You can’t rail against unions and public employees all summer, and then be surprised when they endorse someone else in the fall. Why would the Kerekes campaign want a union endorsement anyway, when he seems as anti-labor as a Wisconsin Republican? Admit it: he’s way outside the mainstream of northeastern Democratic politics.

Maybe the firemen would have felt more comfortable with Kerekes if, say, they didn’t think that he was coming after their jobs and healthcare benefits. Would it have killed him to have a meeting with them? Did he even pick up the phone?

This is what campaigns are all about. You should be building coalitions, not tabulating an enemies list.

Frank Ricci doesn’t hate John DeStefano as much as you. Get over it. You guys don’t respect the firefighters and their union all that much anyway.

posted by: Should Firefighters live in the city? on September 5, 2011  10:22pm

Q.  Should firefighters be required to live in the city?

A.  No. While many fire fighters live in the city many others own property and pay taxes. New Haven Fire Fighters also support local businesses (See Day of the Firefighter button for more info) and donate to many local charities. We donate to baseball teams, shelters, Life Haven and many other causes. Firefighter have given over $6,000 back to the community each year and donate time to many great causes.

Yes it is great if a firefighter chooses to live here, however there are draw backs to that choice and there are several benefits if a firefighter lives out side of the city.

1. We arrive at your home during the worst time and know things that you would only share with your doctor or closest loved ones. While it is great to see us in a professional capacity most people prefer not to see us as citizen at a picnic or grocery store.

2. In cases of natural disasters it is advantageous to have firefighters leave their family and only focus on your needs.

3. Taxes, We are all citizens of Rome! The city receives over 40 percent of its revenue from the suburbs. New Haven is asset to the state and region. The city receives PILOT funds (Payment in Lieu of taxes) firefighters who live on the suburbs are a critical advocacy group to lobby for proper funding for our city. New Haven Firefighters are always willing to work with city hall at the Capital.

4. Whether your having a heart attack, your child is involved in a car accident or your home, work place is on fire. Firefighters are there to help!

posted by: BISHOP on September 5, 2011  10:28pm

DURING THE RUN FOR GOVERNOR THE FIRE UNION HELD BACK THEIR ENDORSEMENT UNTIL THEY HAD A CONTRACT FROM KING JOHN.KING JOHN GAVE AWAWY THE CANDY STORE BECAUSE HE THOUGHT HE WAS A SHOE-IN FOR GOVERNOR.HE MAY THINK HE IS ANOTHER SHOE IN HERE.LETS SHOW HIM HE’S NOT.

WHY IS IT THAT THE FIRE UNION IS NOT FIGHTING TO FILL THE 70-80 VACANT POSITIONS.COULD IT BE THEY HAVE MADE A DEAL TO CUT THE DEPARTMENT.

GOD BLESS THE REAL FIREFIGHTERS THAT REALLY CARE WHO PAYS THEM. THE TAXPAYERS.

posted by: Vote Him Out on September 5, 2011  10:57pm

I have some questions:
Are these guys fooling themselves or what?
JD is pulling a fire truck out of service in East Rock, he is talking about nothing but cutting pensions, and if he feels he can’t raise taxes he will be closing a firehouse after the election.
That’s right NHFD closing a fire house. ... First your sick time, then an engine, then your pension and benefits and then close a fire house. ... Better get certified as a paramedic, there may be an extra ambulance to ride in.

And they endorsed him? Huh? Really?

posted by: observor on September 5, 2011  11:03pm

This appears to be very much an abuse of power by the mayor in that the sign is affixed to the truck.
In all fairness to all canditates involved everyone between now and the election should be allowed to also post their posters on all city vehicles as well as other city property. That is called equal representation.To act in different way would clearly indicate that DeStefano is preventing,through his power, equal rights of speech as these posters are a form of.
In a different setting one has to look at the stupidity of suing the city,the mayor and of course the taxpayers,getting a substantial settlement and then giving back to the very person that screwed you over in the first place !!! ...
One positive side is by placing posters on ALL city vehicles the police could show up at a very serious incident assisting the fire department who is all postered up.By the time the laughter of the participants stopped the incident would be defused .Then the mayor could take a video,put it on tv and win the 100 grand for Funniest Home Video. A very small dent in the deficite he has the city in.

Sorry but all of the above is about the only good thing I can think of to have DeStefano running for mayor AGAIN !!!!

posted by: Just Thinking on September 5, 2011  11:16pm

May the best candidate win!  I am confident the endorsement of John was a well thought out decision.  Kottage and Ricci and the executive board will stand up to do what is best for all firefighters and their families. And speaking of family I know one mom who would be smiling today to see these pictures.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 6, 2011  1:01am

Should Firefighters Live In The City:

Please drop the wifey/mother/grandmother guilt tripping “if your child…we come at your worst moment” yadda yadda yadda. This is not about that as you well know. When firefighters are called on, they do a good job. It is a job for which they are well paid with an almost endless amount of overtime and terrific benefits.

Brian M: There are too many distortions and lies in your post to comment on. ...

posted by: richgetricher on September 6, 2011  1:46am

Ricci is happy. DeStefano is happy - he got Ricci and the Fire Union’s endorsement. Taxpayers, residents of New Haven are not happy! DeStefano’s endorsement by the Fire Union cost city taxpayers at least $5 million!! It was paid for pure and simple. DeStefano would not be smiling if he were going to feel the pain of his $5 million blunder. The ink on the settlement isn’t even dry. This is grotesque. Let’s pull the curtain down on this farce. Enough is enough.

posted by: streever on September 6, 2011  2:41am

Brian M.
Perhaps you forgot the “I’m gonna flex my muscles and fire 16 new police recruits until those darn police give me concessions” from John? Or the other many public battles where John sought to portray the unions as anti-New Haven leeches, which have been going on for over a year?

What an interesting view point to have, when you are talking about union organizer Kerekes, who came out in support of the NHPD union on the issue of the Police Chief.

...

posted by: Curious on September 6, 2011  8:08am

“In fact, the firefighters’ contract expired on June 30; the two sides aren’t near a new one.”

Yeah.  Big surprise why they endorsed DeStefano.

Nothing like a little sucking-up in advance of union contract negotiations.

Give me a break.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 6, 2011  8:59am

Here’s a delicious tidbit:

Kerekes is a former firefighter. Yes, he was a volunteer firefighter who put his life on the line for his community as a VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER.

Let’s see - DeStefano never served as a cop. He’s the son of a cop. Not the same. He hangs out with the fire union, but has never fought a fire. He only goes to the big fires and never goes to the murder scenes of which there are 25 so far this year. hmmmmm

I’m reminded that there is a difference in playing one vs. being one. Kind of reminds me of Dick Cheney come to think of it.

posted by: streever on September 6, 2011  9:53am

I’m surprised my comment was edited—is there another way to say what I was saying, or is it verboten to mention that Brian M. is the recipient of an annual contract from the Mayor?

posted by: Inside the NHFD on September 6, 2011  10:13am

Trust and believe that as usual, the union heads endorsed this mayor without a discussion with the firefighters.  There was an announcement made by the union president but no vote amongst the union members to determine weather they wanted to use their union funds to endorse him.  The endorsement is just another example of the corruption that will certainly continue if this person in re-elected.

“Our goal is to protect the citizens of this great city and advocate for our members”.

Now this is the biggest lie of all; you would not even speak up when a private was being wrongfully suspended for absolutley nothing.

posted by: anon on September 6, 2011  10:35am

These Kerekes people are really crazy pants. Noteworthy, since when do you have to be a firefighter or police officer to run for Mayor in New Haven, CT?

I really like this Ricci guy from a distance. His statements always seem deliberative and thoughtful regardless of where you come out on his case. He’s absolutely right. You have to look at the totality of the record. DeStefano is a known entity, who I suspect will win again. Further, he works hard and loves the city. The firefighters know this and will have to deal with him later, not these Johnny come latelys. Nothing nefarious there. DeStefano has major faults and often takes a reactive approach to major issues plaguing the city. But have any of the candidates offered anything to overshadow such faults? Not a single one.

posted by: westville man on September 6, 2011  11:03am

The article and accompanying pictures tell the story of why we can’t remove this mayor from office. Too many people are beholden to him and he gets their votes every time. To those who lament “why cant we ever vote him out??”- the answer is here, right in front of you.
It would take an extraordinary candidate defeat him and that type of candidate would not want the job.

posted by: Our Town on September 6, 2011  11:16am

Sleeping with the enemy.

This is really suspicious. What have they been promised this time?

posted by: concernedwestvilleres on September 6, 2011  11:23am

The Kerekes camp is complaining again.  First DeStefano makes a commercial using volunteer teachers and students in a school.  Now the Firefighters union endorses DeStefano.  DeStefano is not a wonderful mayor who deserves to be mayor for life, but compared to his competition he’s the better candidate.  Since Kerekes does all the complaining, look at his platform:

1.  Community Policing- will it really reduce homicides in the city?  Will a person say I’m not going to shoot this person because a cop is around or will he say I’ll wait until the cop isn’t around and then shoot them.  You can blame Limon and policies all you want, but a major problem goes deeper than having enough cops and “strategically placing them”.  Kerekes should know that as a licensed social worker- the problems begin in the home and that is where you have to begin working.

2.  No new taxes without a vote.  Does that mean the city will have to pay for an election every year at budget time?  Should a city that is facing financial difficulties have to hold an election because taxes may increase?  Will this hold if the Revaluation causes taxes to rise?  The vote is in who we vote for mayor and Alderman.  Our vote is heard in going to the meetings and standing up for what we want.

3.  On Education- he will put “real reformers” in the schools.  Who are those reformers and how will he get past the Teachers Union on these reforms?  Michelle Rhee tried to reform Washington schools with the backing of the mayor and they were both booted despite making gains.  Mayo is a waste of money and should be booted, but I wouldn’t want Kerekes or any of the other candidates selecting a new superintendent.  Also a bloated BOE is partly due to mandates put on the schoos and necessary reporting.  One should examine what the people in the BOE bureaucracy do before planning to eliminate them.

Finally- he wants to hold principals accountable for school performance.  Principals have limited ability to fire teachers.  Principals are not in every classroom teaching (at a Pre K 3- 8 school there are at least 20 classes and about 500 students). Principals can’t be at each student’s home to ensure the parents are helping them with homework or have the ability to help with homework.  Principals can’t take care of kids while the parents are working 2 jobs.  Principals are responsible for discipline and ensure the school runs orderly and also helps teachers with issues relating to students.  Holding them accountable for student performance is ludicrous.

However, it came from Kerekes- so I wouldn’t expect anythng but ludicrous.  Vote DeStefano and then for 2013 find a real candidate with real ideas and plan of action to beat DeStefano.

posted by: for the record on September 6, 2011  11:48am

This was a decision made by the Executive Board. The members had no say and most of us do not agree with this endorsement!

posted by: Not representative of firefighters on September 6, 2011  11:59am

This is so disgusting. I couldnt believe when Egan did this during the governor’s race, and I cant believe this now. Guess I dont want to. I am a New Haven Taxpayer and a Firefighter. I do not endorse DeStefano and will not vote for him. The union is totally out of control- ... They arent even smart enough to get the contract negotiated BEFORE the endorsement. Brilliant, guys! I can’t even stand to look at that picture of Frank standing there with the smug face clapping his hands. Can’t wait til election time (Not DeStefano’s, but the Union. This will not be forgotten.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on September 6, 2011  12:38pm

@concernedwestvilleres
What the heck are you talking about??? I see one kerekes persons post here? WOW it is more like John’s camp is crying again. We know you love destefano. That is fine. But there are 3 campaigns, but you seem to fear Kerekes. That speaks volumes at how well we all know he is doing.  So slander spam do what every you need to to make yourself feel better…but you my dear do NOT have the citizens and blue collar worker in your mind even slightly. GO ahead pounce away…because that is all destefano supporters do is play dirty and are out right mean bullies.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 6, 2011  12:44pm

Westvillers:

1. To point out flaws in a candidate or platform is not to complain. It is simply to point out flaws and stunningly inconsistent policies designed to keep John DeStefano in office for life.

2. Community Policing – It has a track record of success. This hodge podge approach since that ended clearly has not worked. Since you can’t remember, there is an element of social work tied into community policing. You should read up on it.

3. No New Taxes Without a Vote – As Kerekes has made clear, this is not a special election and will not carry additional costs. It will only coincide with muni-elections every two years. If you had read his platform, a full version of which is available online, you would know this. Further, revaluation never causes taxes to rise. That only happens if the mayor fails to lower the mill rate to account for the shifting of value. This is what DeStefano did – he let the mill rate remain flat even though it should have been adjusted down to account for the dramatic escalation in values. That cost city taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Since you never seem to go to meetings, let me educate you. Going to dozens of meetings does not mean your voice is heard. It simply means you get to vent for 3 minutes and most of the time, they put you on a clock. So, you vent. You sit down and go home.  The BOA largely rubberstamps what they intended to do all along and allowing public testimony is simply part of the requirements of doing what the mayor already told them to do.

4. Those in charge of our school system are the same people who for 18 long years have failed to correct it. They are just now starting and that’s good. But they and DeStefano is part of them, fought reform, dragged it out and created a bigger mess and deeper hole than necessary. To have all of them in charge of reform when they’ve never reformed anything until now is certainly suspect. Clearly they can’t get it done because we are now spending more than $500K to hire people who allegedly can over at Clemente. We need real reformers with demonstrated success – not retreads trying to recreate themselves into reform they never believed in until federal money and grants came around.

5. There is plenty of history where principals kept poor teachers employed and where their own inability to manage change and student performance/attendance/behavior has contributed to the problem. Going back to Clemente – that principal was in place for 16 years right up to the day they replaced him. There was no discipline. Students were roaming the halls. Attendance was poor and grades were worse. Yet, the principal kept his princely pay and perks.  Principals as well as teachers should be held accountable for results in educational outcomes. They should also have all the tools necessary to get that done. That’s not ludicrous, that’s good education and good government.

Do you really believe another 2 years of DeStefano will yield anything but what we have had for the last 18? Paper machete over our deep and serious problems and taxpayers and businesses used as piñatas. No thanks.

posted by: Brian M. on September 6, 2011  12:46pm

Did David Streever really say I have an annual contract from the mayor?

Prove it. I haven’t seen a check.

I don’t even work in New Haven. I’m just writing as a former political reporter observing this campaign from the outside. In the past, any criticism of the Kerekes campaign has gotten me labeled as a supporter of JDS.

The claim that I’m a paid contractor is new, and really goes to the heart of how misguided the Kerekes supporters are. I think he could be a better candidate and run a better campaign if he’d engage people who weren’t already his supporters. Instead, his people seem ready to pounce on anybody who seems even remotely critical of him and to whine about how hard it is to be bothered with this election.

I’m sympathetic with the anti-incumbency arguments made against JDS. But do you really think this is the most effective way to win over voters?

Reading the comments section of this paper, an uncommitted voter would find 20 reasons to be turned off by Kerekes. And if they put it in a comment, they’d be accused of shilling for the mayor.

Keep it up, guys. You’re doing DeStefano’s work for him.

[Note: I think you may have been confused with a different Brian M.]

posted by: streever on September 6, 2011  12:56pm

Ah-I apologize for my confusion. I thought you were Brian McGrath, and I thought it was funny to see a comment from a vote puller who has worked for the city commenting on the Mayor without acknowledging his involvement.

To your actual point:
I am sure there are a million things that Obama and I disagree on, but would you ever suggest that he needs to get me “on message”? Kerekes is his own man. I don’t speak for him, I have no position of any sort in his campaign, and I am free to express my own views.

My opinions and viewpoints do not negatively impact his campaign. Maybe I’m wrong, and you know a voter who will vote against him because of something I’ve written on the NHI, but I think it would be pretty hard to demonstrate that.

posted by: concernedwestvilleres on September 6, 2011  1:58pm

Noteworthy:
1.  Pointing out a candidate’s flaws is part of the process.  All I hear from Kerekes is populist messages that won’t work in government.  Kerekes may be a self-proclaimed budget watchdog, but he shows a lack of governmental budgeting that would be detrimental to this city.

2.  Community policing has worked in the past, but criminals have found ways to work around it.  Community policing won’t work unless the whole community is behind it.  Kids and young adults are growing up in dysfunctional households, ex-cons are being dumped in our city, and guns and drugs are easy to come by.  Having a community policing approach won’t work unless you deal with all those issues.  Otherwise, crime will be delayed and not down.  Additionally, the economy can spike crime.

3.  The comment about the tax elections being done on the biannual basis just shows the lack of his knowledge about governmental budgeting.  The budget is not a 2 year budget but an annual budget.  The city is required to balance the budget, so in the off-years the city is taking revenue increases off the table since he won’t do it without an election.  Again, he isn’t showing any knowledge about how a budget is developed and put into place.  As for the revaluation- the mill rate is set based upon the revaluation.  If the revaluation is higher then the mill rate goes down.  I expect a lower valuation which will increase the rate.  Even if real property is revenue-neutral, an increased mill rate affects personal property and automobiles which will be an increase on business and individuals.  Under his platform we will have 2 rates- one for real property and one for personal property and automobiles since there can be no tax increase without a vote.

4.  Principals are responsible for discipline and for reporting attendance issues.  They can’t force kids to attend schools, they can’t force kids to learn, they can’t always affect outcomes. New Haven is an urban district with many kids from impoverished homes with illiterate or nearly illiterate parents or parents working long hours to make ends meet.  Kids are sent home to an environment where they aren’t required to do homework and have no one to help them outside school.  School is 6 hours a day- the rest is up to parents and the community.  Too much pressure is put on teachers when home life and socio-economic conditions have a greater impact.  I assume Kerekes knows this as he is a licensed social worker.  Teachers can only teach so much- it’s up to parents and the kids to learn.

Kerekes may be doing well.  I dread what will happen if he wins.  Until a candidate who understands city government and all the factors that affect a city arises, I will reluctantly support DeStefano.

posted by: BRILLIANT on September 6, 2011  2:38pm

KUDOS TO THE FIRE UNION. ANYONE THAT REALLY KNOWS KEREKES KNOWS HE’  JUST A BUDGET WATCH DOG AND ANTI POLICE AND FIRE.
HE ON THAT FRAC COMMITTEE THAT WANT TO CLOSE FIREHOUSES.

posted by: Brian M. on September 6, 2011  2:45pm

Oh, well that’s totally different. No offense taken, and hopefully none given.

In case anyone is thinking that I’m Brian M(xxx) of the campaign/payroll/office of anyone, I’m not. I’m just a fan of the site wasting time with observations my wife doesn’t care about.

posted by: streever on September 6, 2011  2:48pm

None at all, Brian :) Sorry to confuse you with someone else.

@Brilliant
It is funny you say that. The mayor had a misleading push poll call that alleged the same thing, as he himself moves forward with shutting down Engine 8 in East Rock.

posted by: Curious on September 6, 2011  3:44pm

Lot of anti-Kerekes posts here, without anything to post against.  Clear sign that someone is concerned enough about him to try and make him look bad.

:)

posted by: observor on September 6, 2011  3:53pm

I commented earlier and did a little spoof on the campaign signs and their use. What I find very disturbing is the pictures portrayed in this article clearly show that DeStefano is using city property and assets for his own political gain. A clear indication of mis use of power and foremost a questionable ethical tactic.
The second issue is regarding Ricci and DeStefano making this announcement on city property with city owned equipment. This action by Ricci is a slap in the face to the taxpayers of the City of New Haven seeing that his adversary action cost the taxpayers millions>Now we see,as proven by the photos,more taxpayer dollars being abused for DeStefano’s benefit.Unless of course someone TRIES to tell me that all the equipment and fire house are no longer in service and ALL the firefighters pictured were off duty and not on the city’s dime.
The executive board of the union is a handful of people. What doesn’t surprise me is that in talking with several firemen today,not a one was in support of what is portrayed in this article.
One day maybe DeStefano or any other successful candidate will keep the politics away from the emergency service departments of the city. Now that would be ethical !!!

posted by: brutus2011 on September 6, 2011  3:57pm

Many of you seem to say that NHPS principals are responsible for discipline and teacher-student issues, etc.

The problem is that many NHPS principals do not manage the discipline in their buildings well at all.

Ask any teacher with any experience here and they will tell you the same thing.

Until we (the adults) get a handle on how to manage a proper learning environment in our schools for the majority of our kids, then school reform will be arduous at best.

No one seems to see this. And the beat goes on.

This is why we need new leadership at NHPS.

And that means new leadership at city hall.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on September 6, 2011  4:34pm

@Curious

I feel the same way..most that are commenting the negative are the mayors people. I am tired of the BS in the city and it is not working here at all. They are so transparent with their comments it is all but pitiful. They have to be feeling the excitement about Jeffrey across the city.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on September 6, 2011  4:37pm

and Brain M. I to thought you were who streever thought you were.

posted by: taxpayer in need of firetruck on September 6, 2011  5:16pm

Since it is apparently acceptable in New Haven to use public property and equipment for one’s own personal gain, can someone please tell me how I can go about borrowing a firetruck? My son would love to have one for his birthday party. The sign on the side won’t be for campaigning, but will just say “Happy Birthday.” I’ll gladly pay whatever the mayor’s campaign paid for the use of city property and equipment for his little party. Oh wait, it doesn’t work that way does it…. Can you say theft and fraud? SHAME ON YOU JOHN!

posted by: richgetricher on September 6, 2011  6:58pm

The picture of DeStefano talking and gesturing in front of a smiling Ricci and other firefighters says it all. Ricci is smiling and clapping heartily. The other city firefighters who were recruited for this political photo op seem very uneasy. The city fire engine is plastered with a “Re-elect DeStefano” sign. The message quite simply again is “I own this city”. Meanwhile Kerekes is run out of City Hall and a farmers’ market. As the saying goes: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!”

posted by: retired on September 6, 2011  8:23pm

has the e board become that afraid to protect the privates or can they let their 3yrs added to their pensions sell local 825 down the morris cove drain where all officers worked o.t.

posted by: I also would like a firetruck on September 6, 2011  8:46pm

Now that’s a campaign platform I could get behind. Firetrucks for the people! Firetrucks for all!

posted by: Noteworthy on September 6, 2011  9:15pm

Brillant:

... One could not be less infomed and still post a comment that a mayoral candidate, Jeffrey Kerekes supports closing fire houses. Its especially telling since it is DeStefano who is closing fire houses not Kerekes. Perhaps you got your candidates mixed up.

Westvillers:

You “reluctantly” support DeStefano. LOL yeah right. Thanks for the chuckle.

posted by: Tom Burns on September 6, 2011  10:14pm

Brutus—you are right on again—this years reform work will be all about improving the learning environment—for without real change here—we have nothing———but I believe we can do it and invite you to call me so I can add you to the committee—if there ever was a real time for change—it is now—please join us as we attempt to make this the best place on earth to teach, grow and learn——Tom

posted by: To "retired" on September 6, 2011  10:34pm

What???????

posted by: anon on September 6, 2011  11:11pm

the Fire Union cost city taxpayers at least $5 million!!
no not the taxpayers but the firefighters cost the firefighters and police officer pension fund at least 5 million dollars i heard that’s where the money came from. that’s a question Kottage should answer.
teachers get pushed and shoved ... custodians get pushed and shoved and the firefighters who wash their personal cars on city time endorse the bully!!! the FD must be getting something in return. I got it Kottage is lining himself up to do the same as Egan and smack the members on the face. Nice Job!!!

posted by: senior resident on September 7, 2011  8:38am

I can’t believe all the fire men and ladies will vote for destefano they did not have the members vote…it is a shame JD gets away with postering the fire house and truck with his signs….those political commercials talking to 1st 2nd graders about voting and going to college….like they understsnd…and the new ones the two at the end both worked for him in city hall… she and her husband help started the new haven green card,,,election day he will have most of board of ed and housing out at the poles with pay…....

posted by: Randy mantooth on September 7, 2011  11:09am

What I find really amusing is that most of the guys pictured in front of the rig won’t vote for Destefano because they are not even New Haven residents!

posted by: To vlandisio on September 7, 2011  11:52am

...  The only way that the corruption will stop is if the citizens of the city of New Haven; up to and including the city workers that actually live in the city, unite and not re-elect him.  ...

posted by: just for a laugh on September 7, 2011  12:04pm

Anon your last comment hit the nail right on the head.They are setting themselves up for more promotions to top positions.I have the cities requirements to be chief, Asst. chief and other high ranking positions in the department in front of me….  .It is time for some heads to roll and if they are all back in place come January they will. Whistle blower and it is well over due!

posted by: OHMYGOD on September 7, 2011  12:42pm

Anon, you may have the “requirements” in front of you, but there ARE NO requirements. The requirements change to suit the mayor and the favor he owes…. Obviously Kottage and Ricci are following in Egans footsteps to get for themselves what they can. Sad, sad day for NHFD.

posted by: To the Editor on September 7, 2011  12:42pm

Where’s the rest of my comment??

posted by: To vlandisio on September 7, 2011 11:52am
...  The only way that the corruption will stop is if the citizens of the city of New Haven; up to and including the city workers that actually live in the city, unite and not re-elect him.  ...

posted by: FRANK on September 7, 2011  5:21pm

IN THE THRID PICTURE OF THIS ARTICLE, YOU CAN SEE ... PERFORMING WHILE TWO OF THE FIVE MILLON DOLLAR FIRE OFFICERS CHEER.
THE REAL FIREFIGHTERS LOOK ON IN DISMAY.THEY SHOULD OF REFUSED THE PHOTO SHOOT,BUT THEN THEY WOULD BE SUBJECTED TO BEING TRANSFERRED BY GRANT AND EGAN. THE YES MEN

posted by: firemansam on September 8, 2011  10:58pm

HATCH ACT !!!

IF ANY FEDERAL MONEY IS USED BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT THEN THE MAYOR AND THE FIREFIGHTERS HAVE BOKEN THE LAW.

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