Richard Furlow has five separate neighborhoods to represent; he promised to do so “independently.”
Furlow (pictured) was sworn in this week to replace Angela Russell as the alder from Ward 27, perhaps the city’s oddest-shaped voting district, covering parts of Beaver Hills, West Hills, Westville, Beverly Hills, and Amity. Rusell stepped down as the ward’s alder last month. As the only candidate for the open seat, Furlow took it without the need to hold an election.
Read on to learn some facts about the ward’s new alder.
Name: Rev. Richard Furlow
Age: “Young enough to be energetic, old enough to have the wisdom to make the right decisions.”
Occupation: Instructor at the Reach The Nations school of ministry in Hamden.
Where he grew up: New Haven and East Haven.
Goals: “I want to be the bridge from residents to City Hall.” The ward is most concerned about keeping the crime rate down. Top area cop Sgt. Renee Forte is “doing an excellent job.”
On the city budget: Since he’s “coming in on the tail end” of the budgeting process, “I don’t really have an opinion,” he said.
On the idea of closing Polly McCabe, the city’s tiny school for pregnant teens: This idea emerged at the Finance Committee meeting Furlow observed on Wednesday. “That school’s been there forever,” Furlow said. “I remember the reason it was opened. They didn’t want the young ladies who were expecting taught with the young ladies who were not.” Our culture and society has changed since then. The issue “needs more dialogue.”
On parking requirements for new developments: This is a now-common question during discussion of projects like Rt. 34 West and Star Supply. New urbanists say zoning laws should require fewer parking spaces. Others worry that would mean too much on-street parking would be gobbled up. Asked if the requirements should be lowered, Furlow said it depends. He said all those decisions should be made case-by-case, to ensure the decision is properly “contextualized.”
On the Board of Alders’ split between a largely unified majority and the breakaway People’s Caucus: “I have respect for everyone here. I’m coming in to work with the team and for the best interests of the city. I’m independent.”