Some Favorite Sites
Government/ Community Links
New Poll Swipes At Both Sides
by Thomas MacMillan | Oct 9, 2013 4:10 pm
Posted to: Campaign 2013
A new telephone poll asks New Haven voters how they feel about Toni Harp being a slumlord and Justin Elicker working for George W. Bush.
Who would say such mean things about both candidates?
Why ... the Harp campaign.
The Harp campaign paid for the telephone poll, which has been reaching New Haven voters this week. The poll is testing “negatives” on both candidates, seeing how voters react to different accusations about Harp and Elicker.
It makes statements about the candidates, then asks voters if they’re more or less likely to vote for the candidate as a result.
Harp, a Democrat, and Elicker, the independent candidate, face each other in the Nov. 5 mayoral election.
Jason Bartlett, Harp’s campaign manager, called the phone survey, which has been conducted this week, a “benchmark poll,” not a “push” poll that tries to convince voters to believe negative stories about a candidate’s opponents.
A “benchmark poll” like this one asks questions about positives and negatives” to gauge candidate support, Bartlett said. Such polls traditionally help campaigns determine what issues to stress as well as what attacks need defending against.
Bartlett wouldn’t say which company he hired to conduct the poll or how many people it’s calling.
Among other questions, the poll asks people about allegations that Harp is a slumlord because her family’s property management business owns buildings where a variety of problems were found. (Click here for a story detailing the company’s record.)
The poll also asks people what they think about Elicker working for the second Bush administration as a foreign service officer—an unpopular association in a deep blue city like New Haven.
Asked about the poll, Harp said she doesn’t think it’s fair to connect Elicker to Bush, just as it’s not fair to call her a slumlord. Click the play arrow above to hear her comments.
“It’s on both candidates to measure what kinds of things people worry the most about that are negative in both ... candidates’ background. I wouldn’t say it’s technically ‘push’ poll,” Harp said when asked Wednesday about the poll.
“I don’t think it’s fair to connect me to my family’s business or to call me a slum landlord when I don’t own property. In both cases [the poll is] asking whether people are going to believe those things and impact their voting. Would I say that he is a supporter of Bush because worked for the foreign service? Absolutely not.”
Harp said she didn’t know details about the poll, other than that it asks negative questions about both candidates.
Elicker claimed that connecting Harp to her family’s business, Renaissance Management, is fair, but connecting him to the Bush administration is not.
Harp is profiting from her family’s business, Elicker argued. According to a New Haven Register report, Harp’s late husband’s personal estate pays Harp a monthly statement of $9,491.41, which covers the expenses on her home in Westville. Toni Harp has repeatedly stated that she has had no connection to her late husband’s (and now son’s) real-estate company.
“Harp signs are on Renaissance Management properties around the city,” and Renaissance Management contributed $4,000 to the Harp campaign through its employees, Elicker said. It’s therefore “important to highlight” the connections between the business and Harp, Elicker maintained.
As for any connection between Bush and him, Elicker said, “I joined the State Department after 9/11. I was thinking about ways to serve my country and 9/11 made me realize we need a lot of help with international relations. There are 50,000 people working for the State Department. I didn’t agree with many of the policies of the Bush administration. The idea that a foreign services officer would just quit or come out publicly against the policies of the president is something that’s equivalent to expecting municipal employes to quit when they don’t agree with the mayor.”
Elicker said he worked as an economic officer in the foreign service in China for five years, writing reports about the Hong Kong economy.
Elicker said his campaign plans to conduct a poll of likely voters. “It’ll be, ‘Who are you supporting for mayor?’” he said.
Update: Click here for a story on Elicker’s poll, and its “city corruption” question.
Tags: Toni Harp, Justin Elicker, polls
Post a Comment
Poll about the poll,
D)all of the above
As for Elickers poll, again showing that he is all about the issues and not baby games. BRAVO ELICKER!
Harp says it’s unfair to call her a slumlord or to connect Elicker to the George W Bush administration. Fair points…......
........and yet her campaign hired a poll to do it anyways?
Her family business is Renaissance Management:
I believe she wasn’t involved with the day to day operations of her family business so I’m willing to accept she’s not directly responsible for the slum conditions. However, if the Register’s statement is true that her late husband’s estate pays Harp $9,491.41 per month then there is no denying she benefits from the family business.
How can anyone receive payments from an estate that owes the state over $1 million in back taxes? Can a reporter simply ask her to clarify the statement by the Register?
The question about Elicker is bogus.. Harp herself said, “absolutely not” when asked if she thinks Justin supported Bush policies.
Even I’m scratching my head about this self-inflicted wound.
Does anyone know if the poll is being conducted by “National Research?” I ask because I got a call from them tonight, after my boys had gone to bed. I hung us as soon as I had advised the women that was a most inopertune time, and to please never call me again.”
“Harp said she didn’t know details about the poll, other than that it asks negative questions about both candidates.”
Toni Harp never knows anything about anything, when it comes to questionable acts by either herself or those around her.
In July, she was quoted in the Register, on the subject of her own—not her husband’s, but her own—delinquent income taxes from the early 2000s: “It was when my kids were in college and I just got behind. I can’t say exactly why, but I fell behind. ... Honestly, I can’t tell you exactly what [the problem] was, but ultimately I paid it.”
And then of course there is her husband’s business, about which she knows nothing, although she was married to him for something like 35 years.
A real question is, would a Mayor Harp know anything about her own city administration? Or maybe more to the point, would she *admit* to knowing about what goes on in her own administration?
As for the current poll, I am befuddled—if Toni disapproves of it (while knowing nothing), and if it admittedly comes from her own campaign, can’t she simply put a stop to it??
Would her administration do things she does not approve of? Would she put a stop to them?
I want to hear more of an explanation coming from Barlett if he commissioned a poll in which questions were asked of random voters, that placed his candidate in a bad light and unnecessarily placed on the defensive.
I would like to know the full text of all the questions.
Even in the video above, Harp is fuzzy about even knowing before hand of this question. That is incomprehensible to me.
If Barlett intended to smooth over the false allegation by presenting a negative, that’s a fool hearty move.
On the other hand, the question related to Elicker’s former job at the state department is absurd, there are between 30 to 45K employees at the state department now and in the past.
How stupid is that, Bartlett?
Fact check on Elicker. There are not 50,000 foreign service officers. There are about 8,000. His exaggeration is an impressive six-fold. And foreign service officers “formulate and implement the foreign policy of the United States.”
To compare that to a city employee who might work for the Parks Department, well, that’s one stupid analogy. It was Elicker’s job to promote the foreign policy of the Halliburton administration.
I might add, Elicker has never in his life given a dime to a Democratic candidate for anything, according to the FEC. There is a lot of reason to ask about his past.
How frequently would mayoral policy have that administration killing, torturing and maiming innocent people? If Elicker can equate profiteering on war and death, like Cheney did, to a city political squabble, he is more frightening than I thought.
I agree with Harp that one should not conclude Elicker is a Bush supporter because he worked for the Bush/Cheney administration. I appreciate that she isn’t getting into the mud on this one, despite the relentless and vile attacks that she has faced during the election.
Although I don’t indict Elicker as a Bush/Cheney supporter, his statement on this matter is not compelling. For example, I still don’t understand why did he believed that advancing the Bush/Cheney foreign policy was the best way to help with our country’s foreign relations after 9/11.
Second, he is still not describing his work in any useful detail. What were these economic reports, and how did they serve the US foreign policy goals? These policies make-up the bulk of his public policy experience, so voters should know their content and how they compare to Harp’s long legislative record of advancing progressive polices.
Third, his comparison with municipalities is problematic. If a mayor was implementing as egregious of policies as the Bush/Cheney foreign policies, then it strikes me that municipal employees would be very justified in quitting or speaking out against such policies. If we take this argument seriously, are we to believe that Justin would defend all of the municipal employees who implement DeStefano’s “pay for play” policies? Would he object to a municipal employee speaking out against these policies? Why hasn’t he criticized Kermit Carolina for speaking out against DeStefano, while he is a municipal employee?
Finally, supporters on this site, such as Amityboy, report that Justin finally did quit because he got sick of defending Bush/Cheney policies that he didn’t agree with. This directly contradicts his comparison regarding municipal employees. If true, he ultimately quit because he did not agree with with policies that he was advocating. But then, why did it take him five years to make this decision? This is a longer time than he has served as alder.
@ Citizen X:
My father was a Foreign Service Officer and I assure you they are career professionals and only a small percentage are “implementing” specific administrations’ foreign policies, as opposed to the ongoing broad-based work of foreign relations. The vast majority of FSOs carry out crucial but routine work managing our relationships with other nations, and reporting to the State Department about on-the-ground conditions in the society and government of the places where they are posted.
Even fewer are “making” policy.
And I’ll tell you this, you can bet your sweet bippie that Toni Harp was a lot closer to the decisions her husband was making about Renaissance Management than Justin Elicker ever was to the Bush White House, or Condoleezza Rice’s big office in Foggy Bottom.
Also, he quit, several years ago. But Toni’s still bringing in an income from Renaissance Management, and Wendell Harp’s estate STILL owes back taxes.
@NHI—getting quite frustrated by your double standard and censorship of my comments. (this when folks like Citizen X gets published.) What gives, and why are you protecting Toni Harp from fair criticisms? Will that continue if she is elected mayor?
For the record I stated:
1. That Toni Harp is shameless.
2. That Elicker ought to take off the gloves and go after her hard. (since Team Harp is clearly out to portray and tarnish him as a stealth Republican with ulterior motives.)
3. Particularly in regard to her and her late husband’s failure to downsize out of that ridiculous mansion,—in the face of their million dollar tax debt to the State of CT. Fwiw, the Harps pay $38,000/year in property taxes alone, and if you add in insurance, utilities and mortage interest it comes to about $100,000 annually to live in a house that the tax assessor’s field card lists as twenty rooms, 9,716sf, six bedrooms, seven-and-a-half baths. (with a private elevator?)
To spend like that, while failing to pay your taxes? Is that responsible?
posted by: William Kurtz on October 10, 2013 6:14am
Please, Citizen X, your inept attempt to link Mr. Elicker to the Bush administration would be laughable if it wasn’t so appalling.
The criticism of Senator Harp as hands-off to the point of inexplicable ignorance, however, is well-documented by her own repeated statements and expressions of befuddlement about even the simplest day-to-day matters of her campaign.
I feel that completely baseless attacks on candidates should not go unanswered, even if there is only a very slim chance that anyone else will read them, and an even slimmer chance that anyone else will care.
@ Citizen X:
Justin worked on environmental and economic policy in Hong Kong and Washington. How you equate that to the war in Iraq is beyond me. If you feel strongly about this—and you seem to, having posted the same comment on many articles by now—you should complain to him that his website is untrue.
I guarantee you that NOBODY in this forum loathes Bush/Cheney more than I. But The ridiculous suggestion that a young person who joined ANY foreign service after 911 to serve their country did it because they were a Bush/Cheney ally is , well, ridiculous. You might as well slander everyone who signed up for the armed forces also.
I have no doubt bus loads of suburban union canvassers are right now spreading this slanderous suggestion just as they manipulated uninformed voter with other ridiculous things; such as supporting the mistaken assumption of uninformed voters that “Senator” Harp actually spent time in DC, when she was only a part time state senator.
Poll Dancing Notes:
1. @CitizenX - Now we know from where the stupid, irrelevant question about Elicker’s service to the country came. Congratulations. You made it to the big time. What will you do once your paycheck from Toni Harp runs out?
2. It is amazing that Toni Harp commissions a poll with questions she calls “silly” and claims once again, she doesn’t know about them. Whaat does that say about Toni Harp?
3. Harp says this is not “technically” a push poll. Not true.
4. On the other hand, Harp negatives on the unpaid tax debt, the mortgages, even as the company makes contributions to her campaign, and being a slumlord are true. Voters should consider those facts. They are not allegations.
And who is Harp’s Republican opponent? Oh I forgot, New Haven has no Republican Party.
Claiming Elicker worked for the Bush Administration is like pointing out Harp worked for John Rowland.
“Swipe at both sides”... Fabricate faults about others while pointing out your own faults to give an air of credibility. Yet more proof Harps handlers are banking on a giant pile of slate towing uninformed voters.
By definition, this cannot be a push poll because it contains negatives against both candidates and tests their strengths and weaknesses. It does not “push” voters in either direction. Mr. MacMillan’s insinuation that the poll was a “push poll” lack some integrity as the term “push poll” is a defined term and his own description of it clearly takes it out of that realm. For definitions, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_poll; and http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/push+poll.
As for the comments on the blog, a candidate can and should test his favorables and negatives. Also, it is fair to link Mr. Elicker to the Bush administration because there are many people who did leave the administration because they disagreed with his policies. Now, a job is a job and Bush wasn’t horrible, but he did work for his administration. And it was convenient for many Elicker supporters to link Mr. Fernandez to DeStefano even though he stopped working for the administration 8 years ago.
There is indeed a double standard when it comes to Justin Elicker and it works in his favor. We can all see that and he has been treated with kid gloves to this point. And yes, he is indeed a right of center “Democrat” but that’s okay too. It’s just time people start admitting these things and having an honest debate about issues.
As a former Carolina supporter and now Elicker supporter, I do want to make one distinction I think worth mentioning. The Harp businesses owe the $1m dollar back tax, not the family personally as I understand it.
Mr Harp was indeed a smart and shrewd business man, and like many others, established LLCs to protect his family from business liabilities and debts.
There have been many others whose companies have gone down the tubes (recall David Beckerman at Starter) but were able to live rather well. My point is only that the business debt of companies is almost never passed on to families (absent fraud, etc).
That said, I do think it matters on moral & ethical grounds.
I resisted the war, but there’s no way I’m going to attack the character of volunteers. Next time you run into Jason Bartlett or any Harp canvasser, be sure to ask them if they question the character of Iraq and Afghanistan vets shipping back with their legs shot off.
It would be a mistake to conflate a closely held family business with a corporation that was listed on the NYSE.
Renaissance is 100% owned by the immediate Harp family, there seem to be no outside investors, there is no board of directors calling the shots, and all of the profits flow to the Harps. Renaissance is the Harp family, and their are no shareholders or co-owners.
Also please realize that unpaid taxes are in a different league than “bad debt”. Don’t you think it’s glaring that in the whole State of CT, the Harps’ family empire is #1 on the list of tax delinquents?
Anderson, Good points, however I’ve seen many closely held businesses utilize LLCs, Subchapter S, etc to shield the family from the risks and exposures of running a company. My point is that it’s legal and done all the time.
But I did make clear how I feel about it though…
There’s a larger part of Citizen X’s post that isn’t being corrected. There are in fact around 8-9,000 FSO, there are however over 50,000 employees for the state department, and that is what he said. FSOs are just one branch of the state department. I mean how do you feel about soldiers? Going by your logic they’re extremely guilty by vague association, especially since they execute actual war making foreign policy and not just negotiating environmental and economic issues in friendly countries. Or what about Sean Smith, the FSO who died at Benghazi. Republicans love to hold him up as a failure of the Obama administration, but I’ve read enough of his posts as moderator of the political forum at SomethingAwful to know he has no love of Republicans, nor did he magically turn for a Republican to a Democrat when Obama was elected.(and for that matter, yes, even if he worked for the Obama administration, his support for Obama was tepid at best for Obama being kind of milquetoast)
And for the record yes, Elicker has never given a donation to a Democrat….......he’s also never given a donation to anyone period going by the public FEC search. In fact Toni Harp only has two listed herself. If we’re going by who gives out the most donations, we all need to go back and vote for Henry Fernandez.(although I don’t think the FEC lists small donations, they all seem to start at at least $200)
To Anderson Snooper,
Owing the state and federal government one million in back taxes does not matter. She’s a DEMOCRAT. Ask Jessie Jackson about owing taxes.
It doesn’t matter to him so why should it make a difference to Senator Harp. If Harp were a Republican it would be a different story. Hitler, Castro, Madoff, or Manson could get elected in New Haven as long as they are Democrats. It doesn’t matter Harp is a Democrat so she gets a free ride.
What about Harp’s time working in state government during the Rowland and Rell administrations? Sounds almost as fishy as working anywhere in the federal government during the Bush presidency. She must be a secret Republican just like Elicker.
During Rowland’s tenure, Harp as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee spent money like a “Drunken Sailor”. Rowland vetoed much of her spending only to be overridden by a veto proof Majority in the House & Senate. Harp will turn New Haven into the second Detroit in no time. The only two words in her vocabulary are “Tax” and “Spend”. A true Socialist to the core.
Little update: Toni Harp does not owe $1 million in back taxes. To say that in this public forum is slander.
The NHI really knows how to get your blood pressure boiling, just the repeated mentioning of the Harp family company and their tax exposure send the elicker-ites into a renewed frenzy, expounding the same rhetoric over and over again.
Get over it already.. that horse will not pull water. You are not changing any voter minds, in fact people may be turned off by the repeated borage of trying to connect Harp to a business run by her deceased husband for thirty years and over this time his debt ebbed and flowed. Heck, how could we forget that in 1993 under Destefano, where he(the mayor) bought a Harp property on Dixwell ave for over $450K with BOE and LCI funds, that started the LCI investigation by HUD and the inspector general. Later Henry came to the rescue of LCI and cleaned out the place.
After that debacle, T.Harp has successfully run every two years without a word from anyone, even though there was extensive NHR coverage into Wendells business.
The point here is that the NHI is goating you all into repeated feeding frenzy over an issue with no political traction.
CITZENX and WEBLOG1,
We’ve had enough of corruption.
Toni Harp continues to reap the benefits of her husbands estate which is tax delinquent to the tune of $1M. If you’re an adult and you’re the knowledgeable beneficiary of a tax scofflaw, then you’re a tax scofflaw.
By your logic, are Harp supporters then condemning military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Justin set the tone and the commentariat is following the cue. Impugning Toni’s character by attacking her neighborhood of residence, her house, her son, and her deceased husband are fair game. But asking about Justin’s work in DC and Hong Kong under Bush/Cheney, work that makes up the bulk of his public policy experience, somehow denigrates the memory of 9/11 and the service of wounded veterans. This double standard is not fair. It is not transparent. It is not honest. Still, I admire Toni’s generosity for not jumping into this vile mess.
Toni Harp’s Neighborhood, her duel residences, family, and deceased husbands real estate venues are all fair game. What’s more important however is her record as Chairman of the Finance Committee in Hartford and how she crippled this state financially over her 20 year tenure. What’s also important is how the press is giving her a free ride to the mayors office next year. It’s also pathetic that she faces no formidable opposition by the Republican Party which is non existent in the City of New Haven. The only opposition to her candidacy is from a weakly funded independent. The citizens of New Haven deserve MUCH better.
Eddie, Justin Elicker has not set a negative tone, quiet the opposite. At the Ward 9/10/19 meeting, Justin Elicker was candidate that stood up, and said one ought not blame a candidate who could not attend, or could not stay the entire time. That all the candidates had very busy schedules. He was the only candidate to arrive on time, stay the entire time, and remain polite throughout.
Ask away Eddie, but really. Serving one’s country makes one a Bush/Cheney apologist and operative? Looking for weapons of mass destruction in Hong Kong? It is just plan silly.
People have questioned her choice of neighborhood residence, and I consider that a non-issue. I also consider living in East Rock a non-issue. I don’t care about her house, any more than I would care about who lived here…
…before the Mies van der Rohe inspired appendage.
She does profit – to the tune of $9500 per month – from her late Husband and her son’s questionable business practices.
What I really take issue with is her win-at-any-cost-to-retain-power-for-the-DTC.
I also take great issue with her apparent inability to be really aware of anything or give a strait answer. It is as if you asked her what her favorite flavor of ice cream is, and instead of hearing vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or butter cream (my favorite), or even, “Actually, I prefer sherbet.” One can expect an, “Ice cream is really good, isn’t it.” She could have easy said when asked about the poll, “Yes were are conducting it.” Or “I prefer not to discuss political tactics and operations in an open forum. Perhaps you could ask me a question about my vision for New Haven?”
This is not a double standard: Justin actually answers questions. It is entirely honest for people to challenge a public figures record and character in an open forum. A free press and speech are corner stones of transparency.
Neither Elicker’s past State Dept service nor Harp’s current benefits from her family’s tax evasion are off limits. They are both facts.
As one commenter put it, connecting the dots between an obscure environmental overseas desk and GWB is a great stretch of the imagination; connecting the dots between Sen Harp and her deceased husbands estate, well, it’s not only common sense but a matter of public record.
Does anyone know if there will be another debate between the two candidates before election day ? We’re a month out and I’d like to see them debate each other now that it’s just the two of them.
And NHI, if you host it, please coach your moderators in public speaking. Thank you.
[Editor: We have a debate scheduled for Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. It’s at Gateway Community College. It’s free adn open to the public. Doors will open an hour early so folks can get through Gateway security; you’ll need a picture ID.]
Justin’s “boss” was always the Secretary of State, either Colin Powell or Condolezza Rice.
There are no dots to connect. Justin spent five years advancing the foreign policy of Bush/Cheney foreign. Unless Amityboy is lying about Justin, then we also know that Justin quit his job because he grew tired of defending Bush-era policies that he didn’t agree with. It would certainly be odd for Amityboy to lie about this point since he is an avid supporter of Justin. While Toni was advancing progressive public policies and building a track record that is available to the public and a track record that she continues to stand behind, Justin was busy defending policies that he allegedly didn’t agree with and hasn’t discussed in any detail. He defended these policies for five years which is longer than he has served as alder. These aren’t dots they are just observations.
I will concede one point. You are right that his time at the State Department is obscure. Given his current descriptions of his work there it is very obscure to voters. Of course, this is problematic because it is the bulk of his public policy experience. For all the talk of transparency, Justin’s public policy experience remains hidden. In sharp contrast, no matter if you agree or disagree with Toni’s (largely progressive) career, at least you know where she stands.
Justin is not being generous when he stands up and says you can’t blame candidates for not attending a meeting or leaving early. This is what is called a backhanded compliment. The goal is to call attention to the fact that others are absent or leave early without having to be accountable to the negativity of this attack. Clearly it worked. You interpreted his comment as being generous, but still remembered that he was the only one to arrive on time and stay the entire time. So Justin gets credit for being generous, while attacking his opponents. Sure, its clever but it is also disingenuous.
What the heck does anybodies affiliation with the Bush Administration have to do with running the city of New Haven?
Toni Harp as Chairman of the Finance Committee had total control over the states purse strings during the Rowland,Rell & Malloy administrations. She is responsible for putting the state in the fiscal mess that it is in now. To elect her as Mayor of New Haven is an invitation to fiscal disaster much like Detroit is experiencing now. Wake up people or New Haven and stop drinking the Kool-Aid.
So strange…..this poll work was hired through Harp’s campaign manager. I don’t think she even knows who is doing what in her campaign and on her behalf. I can see not micro-managing everything in your campaign but certainly for something like this she should be aware and decide whether it should happen. Doesn’t sound like she was too happy but what does this really say for her…..someone else once again is making decisions. What type of leader would she really be if mayor? A bit scary to say the very least.
Working for the Foreign Service is like any other position with the federal government, right? Everybody who served in the armed forces, the centers for disease control, or the U.S. Park Service has done the same. And all implement federal policies. How closely they toe the line set out by a President is, I think, more variable. But to those strange people who have been trying to argue that Foreign Service employment (even in Hong Kong, working on economic development!) means you supported torture (in Iraq): please remember that the State Department’s (under Colin Powell) was the ONLY intelligence service in the U.S. Government that correctly concluded that Iraq had no significant weapons of mass destruction. I still wish General Powell had stuck to his guns on that one and refused to endorse the invasion, but it’s far too late now…
Ravenclaw, my Godmother is Company, and she is quiet clear, The CIA gave the entire picture, but State picked out the bits they wanted.
Still, you point is well made in that tried to tie a former Foreign Service Officer to war crimes or morally bankrupt policies is rather a bit much.
For anyone trying to establish her political leanings based upon who the President is or was, she entered the CIA as a far right, and was far left by the time Ragan was President.