The latest candidate to decide to enter this year’s mayoral free-for-all is challenging his opponents to 15 neighborhood-based debates.
The candidate, Matthew Nemerson (pictured), said he plans to file official papers Friday to launch his candidacy for the Democratic mayoral nomination, adding yet another prominent local name to the list of people jumping into the most hotly contested New Haven race in decades.
“I want to run for mayor because the next mayor has got to be able to forge a partnership between the unions, between the existing government apparatus, has to be able to explain why New Haven is going to be the next great global small city,” Nemerson, who’s 57, said in an interview Tuesday.
He argued that his background—current president and CEO of the Connecticut Technology Council trade group, former president of New Haven’s Chamber of Commerce (where he was one of the state’s first business leaders to support a progressive income tax), founding vice-president of Science Park, as well as co-chair of the 19th Ward Democratic Committee since 1994—gives him the ability to play that role. He laid out a campaign platform that includes building concentrated new communities downtown and by the harbor to lure 10,000 new people to live in New Haven (by constructing mixed-income high-rises surrounded by three-story townhouses and storefronts closer to the street); developing manufacturing-oriented industrial parks in Fair Haven and along Ella Grasso Boulevard in the quest to create 10,000 new jobs; and luring Yale or Harvard or Columbia to help the city launch a Bronx Science-style competitive-admissions public high school that would be “the best in state.”
“I am especially qualified,” Nemerson claimed. “The Board of Aldermen is a unique situation now. An active union that has an interest in our largest industry [Yale] has a majority of the members of the board. They have a unique opportunity to participate in making this city successful, where a lot of other medium and small-sized post-industrial cities are showing they can’t be successful. Cities are going bankrupt. Services are being cut. They want to figure out solutions. The best partner they [the Yale-affiliated unions] can actually have is not someone who simply agrees with the assumptions and the problems which they have very articulately identified, in terms of some of the failures of business, the American system. What I think they need is a partnership with a progressive business person who together with them will jointly will be sharing the very difficult decisions that have to be made to move forward.”
Eschewing The Democracy Fund
Like another candidate in the race, Henry Fernandez, Nemerson said he will not participate in the city’s public-financing system run by the Democracy Fund.
Three other Democrats in the race—state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, Alderman Justin Elicker, and Newhallville plumber Sundiata Keitazulu—have signed up to participate in the system, under which candidates agree to limit individual contributions to $370 (rather than the $1,000 legal limit) and forswear special-interest committee money in return for matching public dollars. Hillhouse Principal Kermit Carolina, who is also exploring a Democratic mayoral run, said he, too, will participate in the system. Proponents argue that the system promotes “cleaner” and more democratic elections by limiting the influence of wealthy donors and enabling more candidates with different ideas to compete for public office. Critics argue that Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have neutered public-financing campaigns in America.
Nemerson said he likes the concept behind the Democracy Fund. But he said he needs to raise big money to convince people to support him.
“My weakness now is not as a person who could run the city or could be mayor,” he said. “My weakness is as a credible political candidate. I’ve been part of the civic leadership of the community for the long time. I haven’t been part of the political life in the way some people have. The currency of credibility is the ability to raise money.”
He was asked whether he could demonstrate that credibility by luring just as many contributors, but merely limiting them to giving $370 rather than $1,000 in order to participate in the public-financing program.
“I think it’s a good idea if everybody is in it. Clearly Henry [Fernandez] is not in it,” Nemerson responded. “Henry and I are going to end up as two very credible candidates. You can’t show up to frame a house with a violin. You have to have the right tool for the job.
“Right now I’ve got people across the city saying two things. [One:] Am I actually going to run? That’s why I’m talking to you now. Two: ‘Show me some indication you’re going to be the leading candidate.’ Right now money tends to be leading currency.
“I’m not happy about that. I want to be able to show people that I’m serious. I know people are going to disagree with that. Which is why having come to the framing with a hammer, which I hope to do, a big hammer, I still think the main way we educate people is through debates.”
Hence Nemerson’s campaign-opening challenge to his opponents: that they should all agree as a group to conduct 15 debates across the city’s 30 wards. Besides promoting debate on issues, that will lessen the influence of money in the race, Nemerson argued.
Two of his opponents, Fernandez and Elicker, declined to sign on to Nemerson’s specific challenge. (Carolina couldn’t be reached for comment.) Both said they welcome debates. They said they plan to participate in many of them; a slew of forums and debates have already been scheduled. That said, Fernandez declared that he won’t “engage in other candidates’ strategies” and react to challenges and pledges in this campaign. (Here’s another example where that was the case.)
The Keyes Effect
Nemerson began discussing a possible run with potential supporters after Mayor John DeStefano announced on Jan. 29 that he will retire at the end of the year after two decades in office. Then Nemerson put a campaign on hold when Probate Judge Jack Keyes told people he would run for mayor.
Call it the “Keyes” effect: The announcement last week that Keyes, a campaign front-runner, won’t run for mayor after all has caused other potential candidates to reconsider a run. It also led some movers and shakers to lobby two other potential prominent candidates—housing authority chief Karen DuBois-Walton and state Sen. Martin Looney—to enter the race. DuBois-Walton said in a conversation with the Independent that has not changed her mind: “I’m not running.” Looney, who’s currently consumed with his duties as state Senate majority leader as the legislative session nears a close, was more circumspect. “We’re going to go into a reset period with Jack not running,” Looney said when asked if he will heed the deluge of requests from supporters over the weekend that he consider a mayoral run. (He ran for mayor in 2001.) “That’s all I want to say right now.”
Nemerson’s candidacy will likely not be the last one to join the already crowded dance card in this year’s election. It doesn’t appear that another Democrat would enter the race who has the potential to attract either significant money and/or a sizable vote-pulling organization. But other people active in civic life are seriously considering filing papers to run, if not in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, then in the November general election as independents or as a Republican.
That’s because DeStefano’s exit has opened the door to decades of suppressed individual ambitions and created the opportunity for new ideas in a political system that has been dominated by one figure for 20 years.
“When John DeStefano shocked us all by announcing he was not going to run—I thought we’d all be going to nursing homes together and he’d be running the city from a wheelchair—I like probably 100 people said, ‘I should do this,’” Nemerson said. “Then the word got out that Jack [Keyes] would run.
“One of the attributes the next mayor has to have is the ability to deal with what will be some very difficult decisions and bring people together and make people understand that the political community is not going to be about who gets the next piece of the pie. The next two to six years are going to be about making painfully difficult decisions, forging new kinds of alliances with people who have been friends but haven’t been friends enough. This is going to be about difficult decision. I thought that Jack, because of his personality, his people skills, his Lincolnesque ability to make a joke about difficult things, and the passion he built up dealing with the tragic situations in a probate court ... I was comfortable with Jack [as mayor].” After Keyes reversed course last Friday and dropped out, Nemerson said, he “looked at what I thought he could bring [to the job] and what I could bring, and I thought, ‘Why not the best?’”
Already working to line up support for the campaign in the trenches is Sal Brancati (pictured), who served as Henry Fernandez’s predecessor as New Haven government’s economic development chief in the 1990s (until the mayor cleaned house in the wake of corruption scandals).
“Sal is somebody who’s an old friend,” Nemerson said. “Sal’s giving me a lot of advice. Sal’s role is adviser, fundraiser. Sal is a person who loves New Haven. I think Sal is a person who understands how to leverage land and money to create value and to create good projects. He has a great sense of economic development. Everything I worked on with him at the Chamber, everything he touched as far as projects, was very positive.”
Brancati, who has a government-lobbying and consulting business (read about some of his efforts here, here and here), failed to return repeated calls for comment for this story.
Central to Nemerson’s platform is the notion of “smarter” 21st century government that learns from private-sector management advances.
Advances like “just-in time” manufacturing: Processes that respond to day-to-day demands and market realities rather than fixed long-term schedules.
Government can do that with street-sweeping, Nemerson said. Rather than adhere to an annual cycle dictating when each street gets swept—or which neighborhood gets sidewalks fixed or public spaces get cleaned—government should bring all agencies together to respond immediately to where problems develop. From internal data-gathering systems to outside monitors like SeeClickFix, government has the tools to use real-time information to do better work more efficiently, he argued.
He was asked his opinion of a new effort developed by aldermen and City Hall to update how decisions get made about when and where to fix sidewalks or make other neighborhood-level improvements. Read about that here. Neighborhood-level political leaders (aldermen) participate in the decisions of which sidewalks get fixed when.
“The impetus for that was to have a more equal distribution of spending across the wards,” Nemerson responded. “That’s what you end up with the way I’m suggesting it. But it’s a different mindset of how we structure government. If we look at the governments across the developed world that are still delivering services, they tend to be central Europe and Scandinavia and parts of the [American] South where they have non-political management of cities and counties. It’s still government. They have city managers. They have county managers. They have very different systems. As resources decline, and needs increase, we [in New Haven] have sort of outlived some of the ways we’ve structured things.
“Street sweeping is a great example. You set up a schedule at the beginning of the year. Then you roll through it. It doesn’t really matter what’s happened.
“This isn’t just New Haven. It’s what cities throughout the North and Midwest do. Mayor [William Donald] Schaefer of Baltimore was famous for driving around he city at 6 a.m. and seeing things and calling in problems. I’m a great believer in the broken windows theory of how you create a neighborhood or a city where people have a commitment not just to their neighborhood, but to the general body politic.”
Similarly, Nemerson called himself a “great believer” in community policing based on that same “broken windows” approach, of keeping up to date on small problems that if left unattended could fester into bigger problems.
He was asked if he believes the current leadership of the police department has succeeded in reviving community policing over the past year. Mayor John DeStefano brought in Chief Dean Esserman with that mission; Esserman had helped create the original community policing program in town in the early 1990s under then-Chief Nick Pastore.
Nemerson said he “honestly [doesn’t] know yet.”
“I was a big fan of Nick Pastore,” Nemerson said. “I thought he got it. He was obviously a larger than life character in the way he did it. In a city of New Haven, that works, [but] sometimes people resent that. We’re a small city.
“Esserman trained under Pastore. He is rebuilding some of the systems that were taken away during this interregnum when we had three police chiefs. Dean is another person who I think people ... he’s a big personality. I’ve talked to people about Dean. I haven’t talked to Dean. I talk to people in the neighborhoods. People are still concerned. People still want safer streets. What is the level of accountability we’re going to hold police and neighborhood organizations accountable for?
“I would go to reintroduce block watches. I don’t think this is just about police. This is a city where we should have a police leadership but also a public works leadership and a chief operating officer who are familiar with every street, every streetcorner. You could probably predict, if you did this properly, where the lights have been out, where a house has been vandalized, you can pretty much predict where there’s going to be a crime or a murder.”
Nemerson was asked if he felt the recently expanded weekly police CompStat meetings—in which city housing, neighborhood-blight, health, education, and other officials participate—are performing that function. He said he doesn’t know yet. The campaign is just beginning. He’s starting out with a lot of ideas—and he plans to develop more along the way.
Interesting article with some cliched but nonetheless great ideas on economic development. Nemerson is a very smart man and just the kind of person we need involved in policymaking.
Interesting, that is, until I read this:
“Like another candidate in the race, Henry Fernandez, Nemerson said he will not participate in the city’s public-financing system run by the Democracy Fund.”
No progressive voter would consider a candidate beholden to the moneyed special interests who have continued to destroy our city over the past 20 years.
The rest of the article is probably illuminating as well, but given the cold shoulder that Nemerson has given to true democracy, I doubt that many will read it.
posted by: Anders on April 16, 2013 4:47pm
Nemerson looked good till I got to the Brancati bit. Who is running who? Is this some great game by DeStefano to make Fernandez look better. I always did suspect DeStefano and Fernandez were going to pull a Putin. In comes Fernandez for a few years, then back comes the great puppet master John DeStefano to straighten out the mess he’s made. Going to be interesting then next few episodes of City for Sale.
posted by: Curious on April 16, 2013 4:53pm
I was really excited to read about this guy until I got to the part about not participating in the Democracy Fund. How disappointing!
posted by: robn on April 16, 2013 5:13pm
If Fernandez and Nemerson can’t win an election without big money, that indicates they can only run our city with big money. Taxpayers beware.
...and Mr Nemerson….Sal Brancati? really?
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 16, 2013 5:15pm
With his background he needs to run for mayor of New York.
I’m a bit new here, having only lived in New Haven for eleven years or so, so maybe I am not following this right. His campaign manager was the guy our corrupt mayor threw out as being too corrupt, who was replaced by another guy, who is also going for big money donors.
One says I came in late, and the paper work is too hard. Another claims he is not known well enough, but big money and 15 debates will fix that. This does not bode well.
posted by: ILNewHaven on April 16, 2013 6:17pm
Matt is a true leader and the first candidate to spell out his vision for the City. I understand people’s concerns about participating in the democracy fund. All contributions large or small are important to running a campaign. That said, this election is more about the issues and a solid plan to deal with them. Matt is very qualified to run the city. He has quietly committed his professional life to making New Haven a gat city. His heart and his head are in the right place. He is the first real candidate with any chance of winning to enter the race. Happy to see you “throw your hat in the ring!” YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT!!!!
posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 16, 2013 6:21pm
OMG! I really am not sure what to say! SAL kind of says it all! Not to mention “Big Money” ***tisk tisk while waving my finger*** More power to you but you and Henry will be fighting over the few who are left that will actually vote for a bought and paid for candidate.
Sir I suggest not even filing.
Also I think all the candidates will work with the unions. And maybe restore what was taken from them these past years. I think they to are sick of the games to. As I see it the race is still between Elicker and Winfield
posted by: GoodNatured on April 16, 2013 6:39pm
The mayor gets to control a city budget of $500 million.
Is it any wonder Nemerson and Fernandez have no problem raising money from big donors? There will be some big goodies rewarded to generous supporters.
I won’t trust anyone who doesn’t commit to the Democracy Fund.
Just how stupid does Nemerson think we New Haveners are?
posted by: speakingthetruth on April 16, 2013 7:23pm
Im impressed. Nemerson would make a tremendous mayor of New Haven. Looking forward to reading and hearing more about his vision for the city.
posted by: HhE on April 16, 2013 7:29pm
ILNewHaven, when you say spell out a vision for New Haven, do you mean C-O-R-U-P-T-I-O-N? Or do you mean the first candidate to do so on 16 APR 2013? I seam to recall Justin, Gary, and even Henry doing so some time ago.
The claim of lack of name recognition might have some credence: I live in Ward 19, and I have never heard of him.
Maybe if he attended Newhallville or East Rock CMT meetings, perhaps if he participated in Lt Sweeney’s toy drive, or was a member of the NHI Commentariat, I would know who he is.
posted by: Downtown Gary on April 16, 2013 8:29pm
To be honest… this is the first “real” candidate to enter the race, and who could actually become Mayor of this city. The guy understands the city, how it works, and the importance of rasing real money. He seems to understand where New Haven sits on the global scale, and from a business growth perspective. If he get enough of the right people on his side, and builds a team like no one else can or has to this point, Matt Nemerson has all the credentials and leadership skills to lead this city, and just could win this election. Not an under-qualified guy looking for 5 mins of fame, not a career politician, not a policy wonk, not a community organiser. The right kind of candidate with the smarts and skills to lead this city into this new era post King John.
posted by: factsifter on April 16, 2013 8:34pm
I think it is time for a reality check. Most voters in New Haven will not care who participates in the Democracy Fund when it comes time to vote, they will vote for the candidate with the best message and vision for the City. As a city resident my entire life, I can’t imagine limiting my choice of candidates to those who choose to participate in the democracy fund. Nor do I think that if I vote for a candidate that chooses not to participate in the democracy fund that I am making a horrible decision. And another thing, that constant comment that “no progressive voter will vote for a candidate that does not participate in the democracy fund” makes little sense. To be progressive, you want the best candidate for the entire City, limiting your vote to only candidates that participate in the democracy fund does not make you progressive at all. It only limits your ability to pick the best candidate.
posted by: JackieO on April 16, 2013 8:58pm
I get it about the whole public financing thing. I didn’t like it when Obama did it either, but in the end I voted for him because I felt he was the best man for the job and I agreed with most of his platform. I feel the same way about Nemerson. He’s got a solid vision and the right experience, and I think he stands out in this ever-growing sea of candidates.
posted by: VinnyOx on April 16, 2013 9:04pm
This is new and interesting, but not interesting enough. His ideas about reconstructing new neighborhoods sound nice and all but does he have the wherewithall as well as the guts to do it right? with a PLA and CBA and not just a flimsy bendsy contractor puppet.
and in response to the JD trying to work out some new puppet master situation… I don’t think he cares enough anymore, i’m thinking once he retires he is truely RETIRED. probs flying down to Florida to tan and eat mangoes all day.
posted by: Noteworthy on April 16, 2013 9:06pm
Observations and notes:
1. If you are not political viable, it is because you have not done the hard work to be viable.
2. Therefore, you are going to need big money to buy lots of media, print lots of mailings to convince people who are bigger and better than what your history has shown.
3. To get big money fast, you will have to do what is outlawed at the state level - that is shaking down city contractors and employees. That will lead to more of what we all know is not only an ethical problem, but has never yielded the best value for taxpayers.
4. The Sal connection is a big red flag and not just from his time in City Hall.
5. 15 debates is excessive, pointless and time consuming. It is an attempt to control the conversation which will then translate into news coverage. There are so many candidates, any one candidate will only get a little time. The questions will be repetitive, asked and answered. If you have doubts, look back the GOP Presidential Primary debates that went on ad nauseum.
posted by: getyourfactstraight on April 16, 2013 9:06pm
Hmmm, I think in the 80’s Nemerson and Mednick bought up homes and eventually lost them. They over invested and were looking for a quick buck until the market crashed and ofcourse when they lost the homes it hurt the neighborhood because they were empty and causing blighting conditions. If I am wrong someone let me know, but I don’t think I am. And ofcourse he and Fernandez won’t use the democracy fund because they will be getting plenty of money from developers and out of towners.
posted by: Elmster on April 16, 2013 9:37pm
Well I’ve been a democrat for a long time. I’ve been worried about who has the smarts and the guts to try to manage this city through what promises t be many very tough years. I don’t know a lot about Mr. Nemerson, but I will read subsequent stories as he starts his campaign. With all due respect to the others, they are not qualified. They possess only a small fraction of the knowledge and experience the job demands. Mr. Elicker has no resume and is well meaning, but grossly under qualified. Mr. Hernandez quite simply alienated everyone who crossed his path. Had he intended all along to run for mayor, he showed his arrogance by not even trying to build a consensus during his time in the mayors suite. He has no admirers. The others are not qualified. State Rep, principal and plumber: stop insulting me. We need a leader. Mr. Nemerson might be the guy.
posted by: Stefan G on April 16, 2013 9:48pm
I think some of you are overestimating the real “validity” that the Democracy Fund adds to a candidate.
That notwithstanding, of all the candidates in this race so far, I like what Nemerson has to say. He is someone who has been a part of this city (and state) for quite some time and has a vision for its future. We NEED that. JD managed the city for the last 20 years. We need someone who will do more than that. We need someone to help elevate the city and <GASP> LEAD!
posted by: HewNaven on April 17, 2013 6:25am
Thank you, “FrontStreet”
That article was enlightening to someone like me who wasn’t around New Haven in the 90s and early 2000s. It included historical gems like this:
Brancati is leaving the $78,000-a- year job to form his own consulting firm, offering advice to both municipalities and developers.
His first client: the city of New Haven.
He will usher the mall project through its final stages as a contractor. He will do that not from the sixth floor of city hall, but from the sixth floor of The Maritime Building, an office complex built by Brancati’s old friends, the Fuscos.
The Fuscos built The Maritime Center with a $6.9 million public loan Brancati approved a decade ago. The family ended up paying back less than half of that loan.
For supporters of Nemerson, please cite one actual accomplishment of the CTC. It is a membership organization that sucks up member dues with no tangible benefits. Just another lobbying group. He tours the state speaking about entrepreneurship yet has no experience. He is a talking head with access to money…nothing more.
posted by: ElmCityFan on April 17, 2013 6:56am
Matt Nemerson may or may not be a good candidate for mayor, but his Elite Science High School idea for students that test in stinks. We don’t need one special high school that caters to already successful students, we need ALL our high schools to be high performing and for them to meet the needs of ALL our kids. He may try to explain this away, but to me it shows that he just doesn’t understand the real education issues in New Haven. For this to be the first education idea he offers reveals that his priorities are not properly focused on where the real need is.
“Right now I’ve got people across the city saying two things. [One:] Am I actually going to run? That’s why I’m talking to you now. Two: ‘Show me some indication you’re going to be the leading candidate.’ Right now money tends to be leading currency.”
Fair (and obvious) enough, about money tending to be a leading currency. But the only reason to ask the second question is to know whether a candidate is worthy of an investment of more money, right? In other words, Mr. Nemerson is tacitly confessing to a willingness to be bought. Choose the Democracy Fund, and the influence of any individual donor, and the need to prove to any individual donor that he or she will see an ROI, is obviated.
The naysayers might be right about the overstated importance of the Democracy Fund; time will tell. I don’t know if it’s true that “no progressive voter would consider a candidate” that doesn’t participate, although I might argue that any voter who does consider a candidate indebted to big money interests can’t really be considered ‘progressive’.
posted by: Esbey on April 17, 2013 8:03am
I wasn’t sure if he was going to run as a technocrat / Bloomberg type or simply as the voice of developers who want to feast on city money. I am very pro-development, by the way, but New Haven can now rely on private developer money, with few subsidies, if it is smart.
Hiring Sal Brancati is saying, out loud, “I want to bring back the worst of the old days.”
posted by: robn on April 17, 2013 8:11am
Mr Brancati’s most recent contribution to the city was in 2009 when he got approval to demolish the Simkins plant and removed a couple of million bucks from the grand list. Instead of replacing it with a stainless steel plant, we’ve got mountains of sand and salt which will no doubt add to child asthma rates in the city
The NHI article calls Nemerson “ another prominent local name.” I’ve never heard of him, so of course I kept reading to see what I missed. Then I read, ““I want to run for mayor because the next mayor has got to be able to forge a partnership between the unions” and to me that means he wants the union machine to back him. He also says, “An active union that has an interest in our largest industry [Yale] has a majority of the members of the board. They have a unique opportunity to participate in making this city successful” Why is this gentleman so fond of the union? Does he think they control the city? Or does he want them to control the city? The fact that he “needs to raise big money to convince people to support him” is a very of putting statement. The only way people can be convinced is if he has BIG money? Is he buying votes? I think he calls it right. In his own words, “My weakness is as a credible political candidate.” Followed by “The currency of credibility is the ability to raise money.” I stopped reading at this point. This man’s focus on the Union and BIG money shut me down.
posted by: HhE on April 17, 2013 9:11am
I credit Nemerson’s shills with having a better game than Fernandez’s. A number write of him as someone to watch, rather than jumping on the band wagon strait away. I even recognise a name or two from the NHI regulars, and not just completely new names; created with obvious references to their candidates like OneCity or ForHenry. Their critique of the critique is less dismissive, and more reasoned.
posted by: Curious on April 17, 2013 10:04am
I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw a blatant appeal to the union. Whoever this guy is, he is clearly relying on money to get things done.
While money does make the world go around, Nemerson sounds like he is ready to let the developers make all the shots, not the residents of New Haven. HE is going to decide what is good for New Haven, and he’ll get people with deep pockets to make it happen.
Sounds like what’s been going on already, and not working, for decades.
posted by: Curious on April 17, 2013 10:29am
This is an interesting article, and I like what I see.
Still, I don’t like his bowing out of the Democracy Fund, and it seems like he’s great at spending OTHER people’s money….so where is his agenda going to come from? His own desires, the desires of the people of New Haven, or the desires of developers looking to make a buck?
So I like what I am hearing, but I wonder if he wouldn’t be better in the kind of role that Kelly Murphy is in, or some kind of development czar position, than as mayor. His forte seems to be on industry and development, and getting bogged down with things like sewage repair and police union issues and school system stuff would just slow him down.
Mr Nemerson, if you are reading this, I would love to hear some of your ideas on keeping Yale techies in the cuty when they graduate, and making Yale into more of a Cambridge in that respect…a place for entrepreneurs to stay and set down roots while they roll out their tech and business ideas.
posted by: westville man on April 17, 2013 11:38am
Thank you, Wooster Squared!
“That’s like getting thrown out of a frat for drinking too much”
I laughed out loud. Priceless!
posted by: Xavier on April 17, 2013 12:26pm
As with One City Henry, Nemerson’s announcement gives another candidate who wants to WIN an election. He rejects of the democracy fund to raise big money to get his name out there and he is reaching out to whoever is part of the “machine” to turn out votes. Do we not want someone who wants to WIN an election rather than simply run a principled campaign? I for one want a winner.
Right now the dems are looking at the 2 candidates who really want to be mayor: Nemerson and One City Henry. Again my money is on the big money One City Henry can bring in to the campaign to WIN the election.
posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 17, 2013 12:46pm
Only two candidate? Or only two candidates that are willing to be bought so they can have the seat? Is that really a healthy was to start off a new era for New Haven…with a candidate that is bought by corporate cash?
I want a candidate that is close to only taking donations from the residents of this city. Why? Because that is the person that will work hard for the residents. Not some guy who is taking mass quantity of cash from out of towners! And again I have spoken to 100’s of folks from all communitys…and the democracy fund does matter. And taking care of the folks that live here and the city employees should be at the top of the list. If these guys want to take the large donations why are they just not running for mayor in a suburban town?
posted by: David S Baker on April 17, 2013 12:57pm
Sal Brancati!? Kissing Union Rear out of the Gate No Democracy Fund Did not run before the old guard dropped out.
Ladies and Gents, your election just went from a war of ideas and integrity to a spending war for special interest groups and “it doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win” political philosophy.
I don’t know this guy Nemerson from boomsquat—but I do know him mentioning Mr. Brancati might bring a negative response—and I also don’t know Mr. Brancati so he might be good or he might be bad—I don’t know—but I do know one thing—we will be longing for Mayor Destefano long after he leaves—he is a mayoral legend who has left a legacy to the city of New Haven that is second to none—you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone—I just hope the next Mayor can be 50% of what JD was—so all you posters who think JD has skin in this race—knock it off—that’s why he left—he’s ready to leave and he has earned all the private time he wants—he didn’t resign to stay in the game as an outsider—who would be foolish enough to think this—if JD is anything he is his own man and I can guarantee you that when he leaves you won’t see him in any body politic—-Tom
posted by: Xavier on April 17, 2013 5:24pm
I hate to be a pessimist or cynic, but the one brings the most money to an election WINS. It is not about ideas or principle, those they provide nice window dressing.
The world in which we live, the world of New Haven, is who has more money, because they will have the power to make decisions.
DeStefano kept New Haven from becoming a complete mill town of YALE, but he did not neutralize YALE. He met YALE with the money that was behind him.
With all due respect to the other announced candidates, the two contenders now are Nemerson and One City Henry.
Do I hope for another outcome?I do, but we have to be practical. Two guys with big egos and money to back them up.
Holder-Winfield, Eliker, the plumber guy, and Carolina, nice guys, but you know the saying - the nice guys finish last.
It’s amusing the watch the apologists for big-money, pay-to-play politicians try to contort themselves and their support for desperately acquisitive candidates into some kind of moral position.
Public financing isn’t perfect and in the shadow of Citizens United, it’s not likely to be. But it’s still the most visible and viable method for a candidate to signal that she or he is intending to be beholden only to voters and not big money special interests, corporations, unions, or other institutions whose interests may or may not align with those of the residents of a city or state.
It’s just not necessary for a candidate for a municipal election to raise the kind of money Mr. Fernandez and Mr. Nemerson are blatantly acknowledging that they’re seeking. Going after big money when there’s an alternative doesn’t say, “I’m serious” or, “I intend to win”—it says, “I’m for sale. Let the bidding begin.”
posted by: HhE on April 17, 2013 9:07pm
Xavier, by your reasoning, Mitt Romney is now President, and our state is represented in the Senate by Linda McMahon—twice over.
I never heard a Yale Officer or Trustee ever say, “If only Mayor Destefano did not have all that money, then we would really be able to run this town.”
I find your reasoning problematic and troubling. I do not wish to have a “winner” as our mayor, rather I long for a mayor with principles.
posted by: Curious on April 18, 2013 8:33am
Xavier, so if I win $200,000,000 in Powerball and decide to sink a huge portion of it into getting elected Mayor of New Haven, then that means I am the best man for the job? Because I can dump in a ton of money and win the election?
That’s exactly what’s wrong with politics in America. It shouldn’t be about who can raise the most money to spend on ads.
posted by: robn on April 18, 2013 8:45am
Unfortunately there’s a strong correlation between $$ expenditure and winning elections. To make it more complicated, the Citizens United decision empowered special interests (big business and unions) to hide their contributions (whether that be dollars or free labor). Fortunately the Democracy Fund somewhat levels the playing field. I suspect that neither Mr Nemerson nor Mr Fernandez has the political juice to raise $700K like Mayor DeStefano (for another occasion, what WILL he do with that war chest? hmmm?) The idea that Mr Nemerson and Mr Fernandez are the only ones with the skills for the job is laughable. The most legislative experience in this race lies with Mr Holder Winfiled and Mr Elicker (both of whom I formerly considered to be carpetbaggers, but who hae in ensuing years, put in serious public service time for New Haven.)