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Mayor’s Money Fuels Ward Campaigns

by Melissa Bailey | Sep 11, 2009 9:28 am

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

Posted to: Politics

matteson%3Ahillhouse.pngVote09_logo_02.jpgMeet James Hillhouse. That’s the name the mayor’s chief of staff is using to funnel money to aldermanic candidates who support City Hall.

James Hillhouse (at right in photo) was a prominent New Havener, a U.S. senator who died in 1832 and made a lasting mark on the city’s landscape. His name graces a city high school and one of New Haven’s most elegant streets.

Mayoral Chief Of Staff Sean Matteson (at left in photo above) is using Hillhouse’s name for a new vessel — one that takes in money from Mayor John DeStefano’s supporters and dishes it out to aldermanic candidates who support his administration.

Matteson set up the James Hillhouse Society political action committee (PAC) in January 2008. He said the society aims to “progressive candidates” and voter turnout. He chose the name because Hillhouse is “a dead historical figure from New Haven.”

The society’s activities are detailed in the latest campaign finance reports for municipal races, filed with the city clerk. The filings reveal the forces behind the seven aldermanic races which culminate in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary.

The Money Trail

The James Hillhouse Society shows up as the major benefactor of two candidates’ modest campaigns — Stephanie Bauer in Fair Haven’s Ward 14 and Carlton Staggers in West Rock’s Ward 30.

Bauer is being supported by party leaders to replace retiring Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale, who has been a strong mayoral collaborator. Bauer raised a modest $425 over the last two months. The majority, $375, came from the James Hillhouse Society. Bauer’s opponent, Joan Forte, has raised only $10, according to her filing.

IMG_4990_2.jpgStaggers (pictured) also got a $375 check from the James Hillhouse Society this summer. Staggers, who was recruited by party leaders to run against a City Hall critic, was not endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee; Bauer was.

Where did the money come from? Short answer: the mayor’s loyalists, employees and business partners.

The “society” was set up in January 2008. Matteson serves a chair. Adriana Arreola, a mayoral staffer who ran DeStefano’s reelection campaign, serves as treasurer. The first contribution came a few months later in the form of a $12,500 check from the Committee To Reelect The Mayor, whose treasurer is Alderman Charles Blango.

The only other money into the PAC came from Carter Winstanley, a private builder who has negotiated some of the city’s major redevelopment projects in town and is now eyeing a deal on Route 34. Winstanley and three of his family members gave a total of $3,000 on March 20 of this year.

The James Hillhouse Society spent a few thousand dollars on food and other costs during voter registration drives in 2008. It spent $875 to send five mayoral pals to the state Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey dinner, including Corporation Counsel Victor Bolden and the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, Laoise King.

Then the 2009 election season rolled around. Mayor DeStefano lost two allies on the Board of Aldermen to retirement, Sturgis-Pascale in Ward 14 and Michelle Edmonds-Sepulveda in Ward 30. Their hand-picked replacements were facing challengers. The Hillhouse Society opened its checkbook and gave them both the $375.

Why is the mayor’s chief of staff doling out money to aldermanic hopefuls?

“It’s my PAC,” he said. He backs candidates “not because they support City Hall,” but because of shared values. The PAC supports “progressive-thinking candidates” who value issues like prison reentry, education reform and safe streets, he said. He said he chose Bauer because of her work on smart growth and traffic-calming; and Staggers for his work on youth and prison reentry.

Staggers got a little extra help from the mayor’s team, too, according to his finance report. In addition to Hillhouse’s blessing, he received personal checks from four top mayoral staffers: Bolden, Matteson, King, and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts. None lives in West Rock. Staggers did not report donations from anyone else.

Staggers’ opponent, Darnell Goldson, who has stressed campaign transparency, did not disclose any details in his campaign finance filings. He said he received less than $1,000, so he isn’t legally required to say who it came from.

Mayor’s Team Unites

The James Hillhouse Society support helps two pro-City Hall candidates catch up with the rest of the mayor’s team. That team is united through two candidate “slates” called the West Side and East Side Democrats.

A slate is a committee that represents multiple candidates, who are allowed to raise and spend money jointly.

The Eastern front consists of: Aldermen Joey Rodriguez, Migdalia Castro, Roland Lemar, and Erin Sturgis-Pascale. (Sturgis-Pascale has since decided not to seek reelection.) The group typically, but not always, works in collaboration with the mayor’s administration. None faces a primary challenge. So far, the slate has raised $1,650; it plans to do more fundraising soon for Lemar’s general election contest versus a little-known Republican.

The West Side Democrats face more immediate battles. The slate comprises: Aldermen Sergio Rodriguez, Moti Sandman, Greg Morehead, Katrina Jones, Carl Goldfield, Tom Lehtonen, and Yusuf Shah. The first four face primary challenges. So far, the slate has raised $4,735.

Both slates were endowed with $1,500 from New Haven Alliance, a long-standing local Democratic PAC chaired by attorney Murray Trachten. The PAC’s latest filing showing where the money came from wasn’t available yet.

The West-Side Democrats have drummed up contributions from 20 individuals, many of whom work for or do business with the mayor. Contributions include: $1,500 from developers Ed and Lynn Fusco and seven contributions from city and Board of Ed employees. The mayor’s campaign manager, Keya Jayaram, is shown on reimbursement slips as an unpaid worker for the slate.

Slates are typically used to streamline the process of fundraising, paperwork, and designing and printing campaign literature. Slates let more popular candidates who don’t face challengers raise money jointly with their colleagues.

Unions Weigh In

To launch a challenge against this united front, anti-City Hall candidates are banking on support from unions, as well as two Yale-affiliated political consultants.

Yale’s unions are concentrating on Beaver Hills’ Ward 28, where Alderman Moti Sandman faces a challenge from upstart candidate Claudette Robinson-Thorpe.

UNITE-HERE’s local forces have dwindled this year due to a civil war within the national union, which is sending key campaign organizers out of state.

laurasmith0409.pngWhat troops remain are focused on Beaver Hills, said Laura Smith (pictured), president of Local 34, which represents clerical and technical workers at Yale.

“We’re looking to put whatever limited resources we have in this race,” Smith said, “because we want a strongly pro-union candidate.”

Alderman Sandman “has demonstrated an anti-union and anti-worker stance,” she said. She cited one example: a union organizing effort at a commercial laundry facility run by New England Linen.

Labor activists sought aldermanic support in their battle against the company two years ago. When 26 of his colleagues signed on to a resolution condemning the company as an “unwilling” community partner, Sandman was the only alderman who didn’t join in. At the time, Sandman said he didn’t have enough information and did not feel comfortable with “inflammatory language” first included in the bill.

082908_SandmanCometh-5.jpgSandman (pictured) echoed those words this week. He said the resolution came in at 1:30 p.m., right before a board meeting at 7 p.m. It called the company a “bad community partner.” None of his colleagues had called the company. No one had reached out to him with information. The resolution was submitted under the fast-tracked “unanimous consent” process, so there would be no public hearing. Sandman said he wasn’t comfortable with any of that.

“If you don’t call up the company, and no one reached out to them, how could you pass this? I felt it wasn’t fair to the folks at New England Linen,” Sandman said. Out of respect for his colleagues, he didn’t deny unanimous consent — he abstained from the vote. He said his actions came not from anti-union sentiment, but from a lack of information.

Smith contended that Sandman also didn’t stand with the union on “a number of issues” they approached him on, including increasing the local living wage.

Sandman refuted that claim. “I believe in the living wage,” he said. He said he supports increasing local wages over state and federal minimums, and supports the worker’s right to a safe, clean working environment and medical coverage.

He said the union’s “political attack” stems from a different agenda — putting Alderman Jorge Perez back in the board president seat. Unions reckon Sandman would support Carl Goldfield for president again and Robinson-Thorpe would support Perez, he surmised.

To battle Sandman, union activists have contributed to Robinson-Thorpe’s large war chest. She has raised $3,500, by far the most of any single candidate who filed a report. (Three candidates missed the latest filing deadline.) The vast majority came from her own fundraising efforts, from friends and family. The support also included a $375 check from a Yale union-affiliated PAC.

Bobby Proto, head of Local 35, which represents blue-collar Yale workers, is treasurer of that PAC. (It’s called UNITE HERE Tip State & Local Fund- CT.) The PAC also sent a $200 check to Ward 22 Dixwell Candidate Lisa Hopkins.

Local 34 has officially endorsed three aldermanic candidates: Robinson-Thorpe, Green Ward 10 Alderman Allan Brison, and Ward 24 incumbent Liz McCormack. McCormack has shown “tremendous loyalty” to the Yale unions, Smith said. In making the endorsements, the union encourages its members to vote for the candidate, too.

McCormack faces a challenge from Marcus Paca, a mayoral ally. Little information on Paca’s finances was available this week; he was one of three aldermanic candidates who didn’t submit their Sept. 8 campaign finance filings on time. Paca, McCormack and LaShell Rountree in Ward 26 each face a $100 fine for that omission, said deputy city clerk Sally Brown. Paca submitted his Friday morning and paid the fine, she said.

McCormack’s earlier filing sheds some light on her campaign. In keeping with her union support, McCormack got a $250 check from the Uniformed Professional Firefighters.

A “Grassroots Movement”

McCormack also got help from two young political activists who have devoted the past few months to working on what they call “grassroots,” “independent” campaigns.

IMG_5293.jpgThose activists are Sochie Nnaemeka (at right in photo) and Hugh Baran. Each has been paid to work as a “political consultant” for four candidates: McCormack, Robinson-Thorpe, Hopkins and Brison. They’ve earned about $2,000 each since April for their work. They’re the only paid consultants listed on aldermanic campaign finance reports.

The duo has a lot in common: They entered Yale College the same year: Baran just graduated in May; Nnaemeka has one more semester to go. Both did internships with the labor-affiliated activist group, the Connecticut Center for a New Economy. Both worked on the Obama campaign. Both spent their summers door-knocking in New Haven’s local races. Both are 21 and full of energy.

Though both are working for the same four campaigns, they don’t see their candidates as any kind of slate. They’re united through common values, Nnaemeka said — “independence,” and “putting community first.”

The four candidates “work for their constituents, not for the administration,” she said. She added she chose candidates who will emerge as strong leaders.

Nnaemeka said while slates of candidates can speed things up by generating uniform literature and “shoving it out” to neighborhoods, she and Baran don’t work that way.

“We’re not exporting services,” she said. She said each of them has “forged a relationship” with their candidates, and built a campaign from there. Baran works closely with Robinson-Thorpe, Nnaemeka with Hopkins.

Like the founders of the James Hillhouse Society, neither Nnaemeka nor Baran is from New Haven.

Nnaemeka said she and Baran make sure to spend a lot of time talking to candidates and voters in the wards they work in. Their goal, in part, is to maintain a momentum from the Obama election and encourage people to assert more power in the electoral process.

In Dixwell, she said, many people suffer from “low expectations” of their aldermen.

“They don’t understand that your alderman can do something — not just be a social coordinator,” Nnaemeka said.

People in power take advantage of those low expectations to maintain power, she argued. In each neighborhood, she said, she hopes to build a “grassroots movement” to change that.

James Hillhouse Society Treasurer Arreola said her organization has idealistic goals, too. The PAC has bought food to sustain workers through many hours of voter registration drives.

The PAC helps candidates who support issues important to working families, she said.

“We’re helping candidates who we think will make a positive impact on the community,” she said.

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Comments

posted by: Bruce on September 11, 2009  10:25am

Nice reporting.

Why do they play this shell game? They should just call the PAC “Executive Branch Slush Fund for Legislative Branch”.

The city clerk should make these filings available online, like the Sec of State does.

posted by: jawbone on September 11, 2009  10:27am

Will Ward 10 candidate Justin Elicker be accepting money from the James Hillhouse Society?

posted by: Ellis Copeland on September 11, 2009  10:45am

Hmmmm, Johnny Boy buying aldermen. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

posted by: Correction? on September 11, 2009  10:58am

Why does the NH Register report that Staggers filed on time?

http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009/09/11/news/a3-nealdmoney.txt

What gives?

[Ed: You’re right. Correction made.]

posted by: Bruce on September 11, 2009  11:03am

Jawbone, you can look through the PAC filing yourself, though municipal candidate filings are not available.

Hit this link <a href=“http://seec.ct.gov/ecrisreporting/SearchingDoc.aspx” rel=“nofollow”>http://seec.ct.gov/ecrisreporting/SearchingDoc.aspx</a> then search “hillhouse” under Committee Name. 

Or you can search PAC expenditures here <a href=“http://seec.ct.gov/ecrisreporting/SearchingExpenditure.aspx” rel=“nofollow”>http://seec.ct.gov/ecrisreporting/SearchingExpenditure.aspx</a> and search by payee name.

Unfortunately, you cannot search municipal candidate filings this way, only PACs because they are entities of the state.  It would be nice if the City Clerk posted the municipal filings online.

posted by: funky chicken on September 11, 2009  11:03am

So let me get this strait - it is OK for the Unions to pump money in to their candiates war chests but it is not OK for the Mayor to?

Not fair - what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

posted by: streever on September 11, 2009  11:33am

jawbone:
Elicker has refused all money from city hall. His intention—and those of us supporting him—is that this not be a campaign about who the mayor likes more, but about who will (and has) done more already in the neighborhood.

posted by: streever on September 11, 2009  11:42am

I don’t think it’s a fair characterization of Roland or Erin (or some of the others) to say they are “the pro city hall candidates”.

We are talking about individuals who are effective and work in coalitions on shared interests. To say they are part of a team is to say that they always work together—and that is how the term “pro city hall” is interpreted by NHI readers.

posted by: Bruce on September 11, 2009  11:58am

Funky Chicken,  the reason this is significant is because a healthy democracy should observe “separation of powers”.  When one branch dominates or influences another, we no longer have checks and balances. 

(Sorry for three posts in record time.)

posted by: Jay on September 11, 2009  12:05pm

Ummm, is this supposed to be some type of scandal you are attempting to fabricate?  There really isn’t much going on here and this doesn’t seem to be much of a story.

posted by: This is how Democracy works on September 11, 2009  12:05pm

Bruce,

Really?  So the people who support Obama shouldn’t support whomever runs against Joe Leiberman or Joe Wilson or Joe Schmo? 

Its not surprising that the Mayor and some alders share the same supporters….just like its not surprising that the Yale folks have alders that they are supporting.

posted by: Ka Ching on September 11, 2009  12:28pm

The NHI rarely breaks down aldermanic votes so that readers can see who actually “always works together,” in Streever’s words.  Would be nice to get regular vote breakdowns so we know how frequently these folks vote with the Mayor on important and controversial votes.

posted by: What on September 11, 2009  12:41pm

Jay,

It is not to “create” a scandal, it is a story about how some folks may be skirting or bending the campaign finance rules. I had a mentor in politics who always told me to follow he money. I bet, in the end, you will find folks who want to donate to a candidate more than the limits allow contributing the max to several of these PACs, which in turn contribute to these candidates. Example, if an individual limit is $250 to a municipal candidate, but $1000 to a PAC, why contribute $1000 to the PAC, and let them pass it along to the candidate. I’ll bet you that this story grows as time goes on.

posted by: Jay on September 11, 2009  12:42pm

It seems that a more fitting headline would have been"Union and Mayor spend their money on different candidates”. Why is the Mayor’s PAC singleed out when the union contributed way more (I am counting the $4000 salaries as an indirect contribution). It couldn’t be biased reporting, could it?

posted by: David on September 11, 2009  12:46pm

Bruce,

If the unions are trying to become a 2nd party in this Democratic town, how is the Mayor fighting for his candidates any different than Obama fighting for Congressional Democrats?  Executives always help their party candidates in the legislative branch.  The only difference here is that this is a one party town with two factions. 

The Mayor can support who he wants as can CCNE but it is a huge double standard to attack the Mayor for it and not anyone else.

David

posted by: Margaret on September 11, 2009  12:49pm

Thanks for the thorough reporting, Melissa.

I’m a little confused about the “slates.”  You wrote that a “slate is a committee that represents multiple candidates.”  Is the committee formal or just a group of condidates who agree to pooling their fundraising power?

posted by: City Hall Watch on September 11, 2009  1:41pm

Great reporting. It’s always interesting to learn how those in power try to hang on to it and ironically, how little money it takes to do so. It also inspired me to look into James Hillhouse and read up on his considerable influence in New Haven, at Yale and on the early beginnings of our country. G

Jay:
This is not a scandal nor is it intended to be. The role of news organizations is to inform and then it’s up to those who read it to take whatever action they want to in light of it.

Streever:
It is accurate to say Roland, Erin and others are pro-city hall. They rarely disagree with the mayor. That’s not to say some of them NEVER do, but it is indeed a rare thing and usually after a brief flare up, any objection dies out. Some particular alders argues that they are able to shape initiatives behind the scenes and therefore it is unnecessary to disagree in public. But as one who has watched city government, attended many meetings and worked through the budget process for several years, the behind the scenes shaping might affect fringe, certain neighborhood issues or special interests but on matters that affect all of us - it’s pretty much business as usual. What City Hall wants, City Hall gets.

posted by: streever on September 11, 2009  1:49pm

That’d be interesting to see a record of the votes Ka Ching—I think you’ll see a record that shows integrity & neighborhood-centric voting from Lemar & Sturgis-Pascale, and mindless opposition from some of the people hailed as heros.

Can’t we acknolwedge a third pillar? Pro-city hall, Anti-City Hall, and free-thinking independents who serve the neighborhood that elected them. I don’t think it’s a stretch to see this, and the polarized, opposational viewpoint that’s been embraced is detrimental to local politics & civics.

The reality is that none of the alders are as binary as they are portrayed—rubber stamps or opposational defiant—the caricatures of human beings who serve our communities is just a rhetorical tool & a poor one at that, useful only to people who are unable to express themselves without resorting to cheap tricks.

posted by: Jon Doe on September 11, 2009  2:12pm

... How can we expect change in our local goverment if all the Alder man/woman are in the Mayors pocket.

To Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale supporters ask yourself has she really done what she said she would. Just in the past two weeks two different kids were in accidents with cars on Pine street and cross streets. Are our streets safer today then 3 years ago. Stephanie Bauer says she is going to continue Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale
work, How many people need to be hit and killed on our streets before the Safe Streets Program kicks in.

Ward 14 Needs someone who is not just going to rubber stamp everything the Mayor wants. We need someone who will look out for our community and do the job that we put them there for.

posted by: jawbone on September 11, 2009  2:20pm

My question was more rhetorical in nature.
I’ll accept that Elicker is not accepting PAC $$$ from a thinly veiled city hall when he stands on my front porch and tells me himself. 
I’m not quite ready to accept a claim from a second hand source called a ‘streever’.
I’ve asked this (rhetorically) before…is ‘streever’ officially Elicker’s spokesperson because it sure seems so in this forum?  Or is ‘streever’ merely a staunch supporter that has some sort of window to Elicker’s inner thoughts.

posted by: cedarhillresident on September 11, 2009  2:29pm

Margaret
If I remember a slate is a group of lets say alderman all running for reelection so they form a slate. They raise funds…and lets say two have no body running against them, then they are legal able to let the others on there slate use those funds for there campaign even if the amount used by them exceeds the allowed amount for that individual if he did not run on a slate. I think

posted by: cedarhillresident on September 11, 2009  2:42pm

streever
Can’t we acknolwedge a third pillar? Pro-city hall, Anti-City Hall, and free-thinking independents who serve the neighborhood that elected them.

I second that!

posted by: anon on September 11, 2009  3:04pm

Jon Doe: I’m starting to question the rhetoric you seem to post on every article related to Ward 14: it is definitely true that progress has been insufficient at all levels, but if the candidate you support thinks that she can be much more effective than everyone else in the city on a particular issue, maybe she should prove that by working harder on the issue herself?  It only takes a few days to organize a workshop or meeting to lobby for improvements to the neighborhood. Paul Bass would certainly do a story about her platform and her timeline for improvements if she were willing to gather a small meeting together and highlight specifically what that was, relative to all of the other hard work that has gone on in Ward 14 over the past few years.

posted by: Bruce on September 11, 2009  4:11pm

THIS IS HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS:  This is more than just a matter of sharing common supporters.  The mayor’s re-election fund opened this PAC by donated $12,500 in left-over campaign funds.  The Hillhouse PAC in then gives money to aldermanic campaigns.  The supporters are out of the picture at this point.

David, I don’t think I am attacking the mayor and I never said a word about the union PACs.  If anything, the mayor’s team is being overly aggressive within the confines of the law.  But I will say that this works directly against our system of checks and balances as this money clearly can have an influence over the decisions of the legislative branch.  The unions are not a branch of government, so it’s not relevant to compare their donations to the mayor’s.

posted by: HOOPLA on September 11, 2009  4:14pm

So here’s the big question….DID ANYONE BREAK THE LAW?
Doesn’t look like the PAC’s did.
UMMM and about the Jefferson whatever diner…didn’t every Union go and buy a table too… HUM?
So isn’t CCNE a non profit? why do they have a horse in the race? Aren’t they part of one of those union groups? I’m confused?

posted by: streever on September 11, 2009  5:02pm

Jawbone,

I’m just repeating what was published in the NHI, in Elicker’s own words, no less :)

do you live in ward 10? I’m sure Justin has visited your house. Maybe you weren’t home?

and as I also said before, no, I’m not Justin’s spokesperson. As I told you the last few times, I’m a strong supporter who believes earnestly in him and his commitment to our neighborhood.

posted by: penny on September 11, 2009  5:37pm

going back to ward 14 ....erin-pascale chose stephanie bauer and not joan fotre who supported erin in her election…and has been a co-chair of that ward for several years..you would think she would support someone who lives in the ward for years ...it boils down to this erin was a yes person for the mayor and susie voight…joan forte has her own mind and not afraid to say no..ward 14 vote for joan forte she will help the ward….

posted by: David on September 11, 2009  6:59pm

Bruce,
The people vote for their alderman and the people voted for pro-Mayoral alderman in 2007.  Perhaps they will do so again on Tuesday.  Perhaps not.  Separation of powers starts with the people and no random $375 check is going to be able to influence everyone in a Ward. 

Is it so hard to believe that someone like Bauer, Lemar, Morehead, Jones or Staggers actually do want to work for their wards and support the Mayor?  Are those two ideas really that contradictory?

posted by: cedarhillresident on September 11, 2009  7:50pm

City Hall Watch is right… not matter what in the end the city gets what it wants. The best we can hope for under the rein of Johnny is some crumbs to shut us up. I do agree there are two sides in the BOA but there are a few that can swing both ways if the cause it great and the people get involved. Problem is the people do not get involved so in the end we might as well just through our hands in the air and wait and see what happens the next election of mayor.As we all know Johnny has aready won.

But I am asking people to do a write in as a protest. Write who ever….3/5th do your teletubbie, I am writing a person I wish would run write micky mouse. He has won already but at the least lets no let it be a land slide.

posted by: The Professor on September 11, 2009  8:45pm

Penny, you say that Joan Forte “supported” Erin in her election?  Well maybe in ‘07, when Erin ran unopposed.  I’m glad that Erin had Joan’s absolutely meaningless support when she didn’t even need it.  But back when it counted, in the 2006 special election, Joan supported Evelyn Vargas.

Calling Erin a “yes” person for the Mayor is remarkably disrespectful to Erin’s intelligence and dedication to her ward.  Stephanie is just as intelligent and dedicated.  The only “yes” person I see around here is Joan Forte; she’ll be a “yes woman” for Perez et al.

posted by: DEZ on September 11, 2009  9:18pm

I’m not jumping into the fray on this one.  All I want to do is ask, no BEG Gabriella to take a decent picture of Sean so that Melissa has a new “mug shot” to use when reporting.  I have to tell it like it is, that picture is too smarmy for publication.  So many things are read into a photo like that.  You never have a second chance at a first impression!  How about a smile?

posted by: HOOPLA on September 11, 2009  9:47pm

what’s the deal ward 14? That Joan can’t even help herself. She said she raised ten bucks - that’s it?
Hey isn’t she a retired city employee? Wasn’t she a union member?
Like I said she can’t seem to help herself, how could she help her ward?

posted by: hh on September 11, 2009  10:07pm

Penny,
you are so off base its funny.  Joan has never supported Erin and has actually started a smear campaign against her, which I personally I find offensive and speaks to the character of who Joan is, especially since Erin is soon out, but whatever…

It is not up to Erin to nominate and support an individual it is up to the ward committee and the the people at the committee meeting VOTED to support Stephanie.  It actually had little to do with Erin or Joan.

Joan is not the best choice for ward 14 and if you were involved you would know that.  She is combative, destructive, and out of touch with her neighborhood. You don’t have to live here for 20 years to know and see that.

I really don’t understand the “Erin bashing” that seems to be going around.  There is such a term as non-partisan. That does not make you a “yes-man” that simply makes you someone who is savy enough to realize that you have to work WITH the system to get something accomplished.  She accomplished alot…and before someone starts saying the ignorant comments about doing things only for her direct neighborhood so she can move, please look at what she accomplished.  Because of Erin, the attention she has gained through her traffic initiative has created an entire movement toward safer streets for everyone in New Haven and beyond.  Not many can claim that level of accomplishment. I am saddened that there are so many that don’t see that.  I wonder why anyone would run (aka volunteer) for alder in such a arena.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 11, 2009  10:49pm

I will now vote for Niccolo Machiavelli.I like what he said,Princes and Governments are far more
dangerous than other elements within society.

posted by: angeloreyes on September 12, 2009  9:26am

penny, your talking out of the wrong end erin is for her neighborhood first.definately not a yes person.you should be questioning how joan is paying for all the flyers and people on election day on a ten dolar budget.

posted by: pdh on September 12, 2009  11:44am

Great story!

In some ways, the Squanderbund’s appropriation of the name of New Haven’s First Citizen is grotesque. Hillhouse stood for honesty and civic values rather than cronyism and corruption. In other ways, naming the Mayor’s PAC after Hillhouse makes perfect sense. As a Federalist, Hillhouse believed in one party government—just like Hizzoner!

posted by: mary on September 12, 2009  9:39pm

What a great story, this proves to people how much the City admin.will do for their boss in order for him not to get caught.  I find it very strange that alot of the City workers including Susan Voiet was walking in ward 22 and 30 in the hopes for one of the non endorsed candidates to win.  This form of tatics only make people like me to vote against them because i feel that they only want to control the board.  I want to know why do they want that control, can these Alderpeople make that choice for themselves?

Sorry to be a democrate for this reason.

posted by: anon on September 12, 2009  10:03pm

the bottom line: sandman was a great alderman, and always took the post seriously. I was at the meeting with Thorpe, she said and i quote “i dont know nothin, but i am willing to learn”.

there are many things going on and we cannot afford to just vote in a newbie, just becuase there is a higher political agenda.

Vote moti.

to see what he did over the past 2 years visit his blog http://www.motisandman.blogspot.com

posted by: Anon on September 13, 2009  12:02pm

Mayor DeStefano has generally done a very good job as Mayor. I’m unsure as to why he’s so afraid of having any dissent whatsoever. We saw during the Bush years how very risky it can be to have no checks and balances operating even among those with the best of intentions.

posted by: The Professor on September 13, 2009  1:01pm

Wait, Mary, are you saying that Susan Voigt works for the City?  Because that’s factually inaccurate, much like the rest of your comment.

posted by: cedarhillresident on September 13, 2009  4:31pm

Dez we were joking about the photo to…can I here you say White Rabbits in city hall. Sorry Sean had to.

posted by: cedarhillresident on September 13, 2009  4:43pm

Sorry keep saying white rabbit it is dead rabbit….bit of history…
n fact, gangs like the Dead Rabbits and Bowery Boys were political clubs that met at nights and on weekends to promote their candidates. “They would fight at the polls and sometimes beat up their opponents, but not just for fun or plunder,” Anbinder says.

So why fight? Nearly every scuffle was designed to help a gang’s chosen candidate into public office. Once there, the candidate would reciprocate, bestowing good, steady-paying patronage jobs and municipal funds on his constituency.
got that from
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/03/0320_030320_oscars_gangs_2.html

hmmm history never changes????????

posted by: Charlie O'Keefe on September 13, 2009  6:03pm

OK. Having been censored 100% by Mr Bass lets try again.

I congratulate him on his excellent reporting. People may think this is democracy in action or complete corruption. I thank him for letting us know what is going on.

I find two issues interesting.

Unions are supporting candidates who do not appear to be DeStefano loyalists.

Senior administration appointees who were given large pay hikes recently are supporting candidates who appear to be DeStefano loyalists.

Are these opinions sufficiently sanitized to be published ?????????????????????????????????

posted by: penny on September 13, 2009  9:41pm

angelo reyes..joan is paying for flyers same way you did years ago..short memory huh

posted by: Bruce on September 14, 2009  9:50am

David, I think you are confusing my attack on the system for an attack on certain individuals.  I think Roland is a great alderman (don’t know the others too well).  I just don’t think it is appropriate to re-direct funds this way. 

It’s worth mentioning that the PAC’s only other contributor is large real estate developer—Winstanley Enterprises—who regularly conducts business with the city.  Any candidate who wishes to avoid the appearance of corporate influence would be wise to refuse money from this PAC.

posted by: angeloreyes on September 14, 2009  3:24pm

penny its clear over the years ive learned some valuable lessons,this isnt about me, its about you and your crew thinking that ward 14 is stupid.i ashure you they are not.you bring nothing to the table but old ways.stephanie baur is a solid person, a solid homeowner in ward 14.

posted by: Gabriela on September 15, 2009  12:21am

Dear DEZ,
It’s not my job to take pictures on behalf of the press. There are plenty of other pictures of Sean out there. Melissa chooses that picture every time.
See you in the hood! : )

posted by: Qriver res on September 15, 2009  8:53am

Aldermen are voted in by the people to be their representative for the community in city hall.  The mayor is undermining democracy.

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