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Now There Are 5

by Paul Bass | Jun 26, 2013 1:33 pm

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

Posted to: Campaign 2013

Allan Appel Photo Declaring “I can do math,” Gary Holder-Winfield has pulled out of the mayor’s race.

That leaves five Democrats running to succeed Mayor John DeStefano, who’s stepping down after 20 years in office.

Holder-Winfield (pictured fixing a flag at the Long Wharf veterans memorial) endorsed one of those five remaining candidates, state Sen. Toni Harp—whose own decision to run, after initially backing Holder-Winfield, left his campaign struggling to gain traction. Holder-Winfield, a state representative, serves with Harp in the General Assembly.

Holder-Winfield was asked why he endorsed someone who initially endorsed him, then ran against him.

“There’s no deal cut between us. If you want to lead, and that’s what I was trying to do by running for mayor, you divorce yourself from your own personal emotions and make the best decision. Toni Harp has experience at the city and state levels, knows what needs to get done. She’s the best candidate left,” he said.

He said that if Harp wins the mayoral election, he will “probably ” run for her state senator slot, unless another state representative, Toni Walker, seeks the position. Holder-Winfield may face a candidate for that position who, like Harp, has strong backing from Yale’s unions: Alderwoman Jackie James.

“We lose a lot by losing Toni [in the legislature]. You want the best person in the position,” Holder-Winfield said.

“I’m not sure yet” about running for state senator, said Jackie James, the Board of Aldermen’s president pro tem. “For anyone to come out publicly and have that conversation” is premature.

“I’m not talking about it until after the mayoral election,” said Toni Walker.

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posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 26, 2013  7:11am

So the only structural question left is whether Henry will run again in the fall, once beaten by Harp in the primary…

posted by: shadesofzero on June 26, 2013  7:46am

Very disappointing.  Been a huge fan of Holder-Winfield since he led the charge against the death penalty in the state legislature.  Not sure how I feel about supporting Harp, who essentially mislead Holder-Winfield about her support and forced him into this awkward position.

Either way I think he’s a great politician and has a bright future in Connecticut.  Good luck to him in the future.

posted by: robn on June 26, 2013  7:49am

endorses Harp?....whahuhh?

posted by: Curious on June 26, 2013  8:08am

Lame.  This is some weak sauce.  For him to drop out is one thing, for him to oppose Harp, who he was so opposed to, is another. 

What a sad politically-motivated act.  This is what happens when people can be politicians for their whole lives, because of a lack of term limits.  Good candidates compromise themselves to stay politically viable within the context of their party.

posted by: Razzie on June 26, 2013  8:19am

I applaud Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield and his decision to step out and endorse Sen. Harp. He moved beyond the personal slight he felt by the timing of her entry and recognized that her experience and ability to forge consensus and compromise is what is best for New Haven.
The only remaining question is how long it will take Kermit to make a deal that satisfies himself and his adviser. I think Garth Harries had better be looking over his shoulder.

posted by: westville man on June 26, 2013  8:34am

Hi Razzie. I predicted this very scenario yesterday in NHI- endorsement and all.
My other prediction- Carolina is in it to win it.  He’s not cutting any deals. Many of the “commentariat” here don’t take him seriously but he’s not speaking to us- his support is deep in the various communities and will surprise many when the votes are tallied.
Don’t worry- I’ll remind you that I said this, too.

posted by: Threefifths on June 26, 2013  8:51am

In politics, there are no permanent enemies or friends.But there is the Back Room.

posted by: Threefifths on June 26, 2013  9:02am

posted by: robn on June 26, 2013 8:49am
endorses Harp?....whahuhh?

There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water.

Alan Clark quotes
.

posted by: HhE on June 26, 2013  9:08am

Dropping out is probably the right thing to do.  Endorsing Sen. Harp is just political to my mind.  Well, there is $740 I’ll never see.If Gary can forgiver her, I can certainly forgive him.

posted by: Hieronymous on June 26, 2013  9:08am

Gary was in an impossible situation. I’ve just lost a lot of respect for him vis a vis his political courage, but I also know I’m being completely unfair; he really had no choice. I do hope he has a bright future.

For Elicker backers, though, there’s a bright side, even if Justin didn’t get the endorsement. If it’s a four-way race, it seems to me that Henry and Toni could split the establishment vote, and possibly the Hispanic vote, and Toni and Kerm may split the Black vote. Justin and Gary were already splitting the reform vote, but now Justin can take up that mantle alone. Kerm may be a reformer but he’s really more of a populist, so I don’t see him as a threat to split the vote with Justin, even if they both assume “outsider” status.

Still, the chances of anyone defeating Harp in the primary once that vote pulling machine really gets up and running is close to zero.

posted by: cunningham on June 26, 2013  9:27am

@Razzie - Do you think this is a case of Holder-Winfield moving beyond a personal slight, or trying to move beyond the House of Reps with an eye on Harp’s Senate seat?

posted by: Curious on June 26, 2013  9:52am

Robn, it’s called politics.  Like Josh says above, Gary has a great future in Connecticut…as a career politician, if he keeps this up.

Anyone need their back scratched?

posted by: robn on June 26, 2013  9:55am

HIERONYMOUS,

Since the motivations and alliances are so bountiful, I’d love to see somebody Venn diagram the four-way you describe.

posted by: Curious on June 26, 2013  10:00am

This is Gary Holder-Winfield a few short weeks ago….

“I pledge to compete for the primary and abide by its result, because the voters of this city deserve an honest race of ideas and a candidate with the integrity to abide by their decision.”

I guess that should have read…

“I pledge to compete for the primary until it looks like I might lose, at which time I will scurry behind Toni Harp’s skirts and hope I can curry enough favor with her between now and the election so that she helps me get ahead in my political career elsewhere.”

posted by: Threefifths on June 26, 2013  10:03am

posted by: HhE on June 26, 2013 10:08am

Dropping out is probably the right thing to do. Endorsing Sen. Harp is just political to my mind. Well, there is $740 I’ll never see.If Gary can forgiver her, I can certainly forgive him.

Let me ask you this.If John Gotti was here today.would he endorse SAMMY the BULL.I rest my case.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 26, 2013  10:19am

I’m with robn whaaaat????

Gary just lost his grassroots appeal and became an offical member of the machine. (the new one)

:(

posted by: momnprof on June 26, 2013  10:38am

I don’t understand the Harp endorsement. Oh wait—it’s about politics, not principles.  Right!

posted by: HhE on June 26, 2013  11:21am

Well said, Hieronymous.

cunningham, or Congress.  I’ll support him either way.

westville man, I certainly would take Mr. Carolina over Sen. Harp.  I understand his backers are very committed to him.  Still, I do not think he will win the primary.

I know of no polls, and depending who I talk to, candidate X is either a sure thing, or has no chance. 

My best guess is that Sen. Harp will win the primary, but not by a landslide, and that the real election will actually be in November for a change.

posted by: accountability on June 26, 2013  11:26am

Wow. The real sharks here are commenters who are trashing Gary’s character because he disagrees with them.

Gary’s a terrific leader who did a marvelous job on capital punishment. He’s also right that Toni is by far the most experienced and qualified candidate in the race. Between the two it’s not close. For example, the city’s budget problems are as much about health care—the largest single line item in the city budget—as about anything else. Toni has two decades of fighting for access to health care and dealing with health care costs in the legislature.

It seems like she treated him poorly in how she got into the race. Okay, shame on her. But how does that make Gary’s decision to endorse her lacking in political “courage?” Curious is wrong. Gary’s never been “so opposed” to Toni. They’re close political allies, which is why the personal aspect of her decision seemed particularly hurtful.

The assumption here seems to be that Toni’s a terrible candidate, ergo Gary should naturally endorse someone who the NHI commenters like. Maybe he disagrees with you. Maybe he’s worked with Toni for years and knows her skills and respects her abilities more than he does Henry, Justin and Kermit.

If so, I certainly agree with him.

posted by: Brutus2011 on June 26, 2013  11:30am

I wish Gary all the best.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 26, 2013  11:45am

@accountability

I don’t think anyone is trashing Gary…I think people are shocked. And yes many may disagree with him and what he has done here. But at least now he has the yale machine backing him. Trade off I guess. But to voice that we are confused by his choice does not mean we are trashing him.  Questioning him and if his political ethics have changed….maybe.

posted by: Curious on June 26, 2013  11:55am

Accountability, if he was all that principled and really thought he should be mayor, he would stay in the race.

If HW doesn’t end up advancing due to his ducking out and working for Harp, I will eat my hat.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 26, 2013  1:04pm

Rep. Holder-Winfield did the right thing.  Rather than continue to divert money and attention from the City knowing he could not win the primary, he unceremonious bowed out via facebook and twitter.  His endorsement was truly anything but ringing - in comparison to Matt Nemerson’s.  In that vain, I respect Nemerson more but I understand that Rep. Holder-Winfield is likely still hurt.

Rep. Holder-Winfield won’t win Senator Harp’s seat if she wins the election.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Elicker or someone else ran for the spot to position himself/herself for mayor whenever Senator Harp or Mr. Fernandez leaves office.  As for Toni Walker, she’s chairwoman of appropriations in the House.  She’d make the same amount to join the Senate and be able to do less - it doesn’t add up. 

With respect to career politicians, no politician is actually making a good living at their job.  Their take home pay, before benefits, is $28,000 for the house or the senate.  To make that paltry sum, they are forced to campaign every two years, drive to Hartford during session, and give up significant earning potential during the legislative session.  For most in government, they lose money by representing the people.  This is truly a career of love and community service.

posted by: David S Baker on June 26, 2013  2:25pm

He endorses the woman who pulled the rug out from beneath him?  Poor exit strategy.  A real man would have torched the woman and changed careers.  Yet more proof she is the safest person to endorse in local political history. If she loses you STILL have a big hand in Hartford! 

Back room deals and horse trading got us into this mess, and will keep us in this mess.  Remember that when you watch Georgies P’s custom fabricated ward commitee assignments make the nominations this year.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on June 26, 2013  2:26pm

Atticus Shrugged says “With respect to career politicians, no politician is actually making a good living at their job.” Note that “Atticus” is referring to careerists at the STATE level. The current salary of members of our FEDERAL House and Senate is $174,000 per year—with innumerable perks as well. The mayor of New Haven does nearly as well, with an annual salary of $127,070. With respect to career politicians, plenty of them are making a good living—and yet often are not actually doing their job.

posted by: Razzie on June 26, 2013  2:54pm

@ Westville Man
I did pick up on your earlier prediction. (Good call). But I know Carolina knows math as well as GHW. On a citywide basis, Carolina’s numbers simply don’t hold up. A “Black only” candidate cannot win in New Haven anymore. AS GHW painfully found out, Elicker seems to be locking up the East Rock white vote. And Carolina’s lack of success at Hillhouse will continue to be an albatross throughout the campaign. Seems like we will have much to share when this is over. Good luck.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 26, 2013  3:19pm

Atticus,

I love your fairy tale take on Harp’s public service.

By my math, the amount she has been paid as an elected representative still doesn’t add up to her families back tax bill.  Harp needs two year’s on a Mayor’s salary to break even on that investment…...

Like the Career High School which her late-husband designed, her roof is full of leaks.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 26, 2013  3:27pm

@Schaefer, I was only referring to the State level because we had not moved the conversation on to the former Liebermans of the world.  I’m just amazed at how people talk about “career politicians” (Senator Harp, Rep. Holder-Winfield, Senator Looney, Rep. Walker) at the state level as though they could not and would not make more money taking their talents elsewhere.  I don’t doubt that each one of them could have left their current job long ago and received either a cushy city job making over $100k per year or a private sector job doing much the same. 

With respect to Mr. Carolina, he needs to stay in the race.  Not because I think he will win or bring any good dialogue.  Indeed, he will take votes from Senator Harp and Mr. Fernandez.  However, if he cuts a deal with anyone, it will likely enable him to remain mayor of Hillhouse.  This is just an untenable position for the City.  He should have been forced to resign or transfers schools after the grade tampering scandal and his most recent “report card” by his co-workers show that he cannot earn their respect.  I fear he won’t be kicked out of town if he doesn’t stick in the race.  His remaining in a position of power would be a step back for the city.

posted by: Threefifths on June 26, 2013  3:56pm

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 26, 2013 2:04pm

With respect to career politicians, no politician is actually making a good living at their job.  Their take home pay, before benefits, is $28,000 for the house or the senate.  To make that paltry sum, they are forced to campaign every two years, drive to Hartford during session, and give up significant earning potential during the legislative session.  For most in government, they lose money by representing the people.  This is truly a career of love and community service.

Not True.Explain these goodies.

His gubernatorial campaign over, Amann returns to Capitol as a lobbyist

By Mark Pazniokas

http://www.ctmirror.org/story/his-gubernatorial-campaign-over-amann-returns-capitol-lobbyist

A one-year, revolving-door ban on his lobbying the legislature expired in January. From Feb. 22 to March 29, he registered four clients, who will pay him $50,900, according to Amann’s ethics disclosure forms.A lobbying partnership involving another former speaker, Richard J. Balducci, made $408,000 last year. A firm led by a third, Thomas D. Ritter, makes more than $1 million annually.Overall, lobbying in Connecticut is a $38.6 million annual business.With a credit card, he paid a $75 fee at the Office of State Ethics, filled out a form that disclosed his expected fee as $26,400 and got a laminated blue badge that says,Lobbyist.Two days later, he added a second client, DMG Studio Holdings, a partnership that wants to establish a film studio in an old factory in Stratford. His expected fee: $12,000.


My bad. I forgot about him.
Mar 01, 2011

Chris Dodd becomes Hollywood’s top lobbyist.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/03/chris-dodd-lobbying-motion-picture-association/1#.UctVDFrD-1s

posted by: Threefifths on June 26, 2013  3:58pm

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 26, 2013 11:19am
I’m with robn whaaaat????

Gary just lost his grassroots appeal and became an offical member of the machine. (the new one)

:(

I keep telling you and others this is what happens when you do not have Proportional Represetation.

posted by: Curious on June 26, 2013  4:04pm

@ Bill,

Come on, man.  These humble public servants have to endure life in houses like this!

https://www.google.com/maps?q=&layer=c&z=17&iwloc=A&sll=41.320786,-72.979214&cbp=13,137.5,0,0,0&cbll=41.320993,-72.979467&sa=X&ei=ak_LUbOJCLOB0AG85YG4Cw&ved=0CDAQxB0wAA

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 26, 2013  5:05pm

Curious,

We are pretty synched up.  Ironically, just before I saw your post, I was on Google Street maps myself, embarking on the same project.

Too funny.

posted by: beyonddiscussion on June 26, 2013  5:29pm

I was surprised by what a weak campaign Gary ran. I knew he would endorse Harp. But he stayed in long enough to do her a favor by blasting Carolina’s record at Hillhouse.

posted by: HewNaven on June 26, 2013  7:06pm

Come on, man.  These humble public servants have to endure life in houses like this!

https://www.google.com/maps?q=&layer=c&z=17&iwloc=A&sll=41.320786,-72.979214&cbp=13,137.5,0,0,0&cbll=41.320993,-72.979467&sa=X&ei=ak_LUbOJCLOB0AG85YG4Cw&ved=0CDAQxB0wAA

Anyone who lives in that neighborhood (i.e. DeStefano and Harp) should have no business telling the rest of us what it means to be a New Haven resident. Come live in my neighborhood if you want to be mayor. Maybe, then, poverty would be the top issue at City Hall. But you can’t see poverty when you live out in the woods near the Yale Golf Course. Hypocritical lifestyle for these so-called “liberals”.

posted by: HhE on June 26, 2013  8:44pm

I would have a hard time enduring that house; it is really ugly.

posted by: Eddie on June 26, 2013  8:59pm

I’m beginning to wonder if Elicker’s supporters who comment most frequently on the NHI are doing a disservice to his candidacy.

Recently his supporters recoiled against suggestions that small business owners on Dixwell receive public support similar to the support that was provided to small business owners in Westville.  One major supporter argued, “The focus should be on growing downtown, which is an economic powerhouse that provides almost all of the city’s tax base and jobs…”  Instead of investing in small businesses, he argued that any public resources invested in Dixwell should only be used for a library and community gardens.  Another major supporter, disregarded the idea as, “turning the Dixwell murder and mayhem alley into Broadway Shopping District.”  Why is it a joke to suggest that small business owners on Dixwell receive support similar to the support that has been provided to Westville?

Consistently, his supporters have characterized anyone who prefers a different candidate as either being stupid, corrupt, or manipulated.  Writing of Harp’s supporters and endorsers, an Elicker contributor wrote, “People just aren’t using reason, not evaluating any of these statements, just believing what they want.”  Writing about voters, another major supporter claims voters are like children and easily manipulated, “malleable to canvassers using feel good pseudo participatory push pollin…”  Speaking of the many voters who believe Harp or Fernandez would be the best candidate, an Elicker supporter writes, “Other than the machine politicians who are being paid to do what they do, no progressive voter in their right mind would vote for Harp or Fernandez.”

posted by: Eddie on June 26, 2013  9:00pm

Now Gary has endorsed Harp.  Many of these same commenters previously praised Gary as being one of the honest candidates with character and integrity.  Yet once he throws his support behind a candidate other than Elicker somehow his character has changed.  An Elicker supporter now characterized Gary as corrupt and his endorsement as, “a sad politically-motivated act.”  Another states, “Gary just lost his grassroots appeal and became an offical member of the machine.”  Another questions goes so far as to question his masculinity, “Poor exit strategy.  A real man would have torched the woman and changed careers.”

I admire Justin’s ambition and all of his supporters that I know personally are engaged in a constructive dialogue about New Haven. Yet many of the individuals quoted above are explicitly and implicitly playing major roles in his campaign.  I wonder if Justin supports and approves of their statements.  Does Justin agree that providing public support to small business owners on Dixwell is a joke?  Does Justin approve of characterizing supporters of the other candidates as being stupid, corrupt, or manipulated?  Does Justin believe that Gary Holder Winfield is simply now a corrupt politician lacking in integrity?  Does he question Gary’s masculinity?  We know that Elicker’s campaign reads these comments on a regular basis and occasionally participates in the dialogue.  I think that publicly Elicker has pledged to not to run negative campaign, and I still believe in this commitment.  So where is his campaign’s calls for moderation and respect in a civil debate?

posted by: anonymous on June 26, 2013  9:19pm

HewNaven- exactly. Explains why Harp and DeStefano did nothing when Whalley Avenue was widened a few years ago, over objections from hundreds of residents. They are the two people who could have done something. Now we’re left with a project that will cripple that part of the city for the next 100 years.

I would like to see someone who has worked “on the ground” day and night in gritty neighborhoods like Cedar Hill and Fair Haven, and who knows what it means to live or do business next to highway overpasses and other DOT abominations, take office. They might for once run the city for the benefit of families who actually live here.

posted by: HhE on June 26, 2013  10:10pm

Eddie, I dare say that many of us who supported Gary financially and otherwise feel let down.  Recall that Gary and Justin represent the desire for reform, while Sen. Harp does not. 

While Anon is on occasion onto something, his extreme absolutism is tiresome, and his arguments are often unsound.  I have often taken him to task for this.

In the recent past, have you not suggested that people who have disagreed with your narrative must be racist?

posted by: beyonddiscussion on June 26, 2013  10:15pm

I agree with those who see many of the Elicker supporters’ comments as mean, arrogant and elitist. I get the feeling they think that if you don’t line up behind him you are misguided and/or corrupt. They see foul play and corruption behind everything that doesn’t go Elicker’s way. I find it bizarre.  I also reject the notion that every group of folks who come together as a coalition to get things done is a “machine”.  Just sour grapes .

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 27, 2013  8:03am

anonymous
It is crazy to live over here. I have had to kids I know personally that have been crippled on State street (we call it frogger lane) trying to cross it AT A CROSSWALK AND A RED LIGHT! 25 and most cars do at least 50! But will Justins help we have gotten trees planted along the strip (they help to slow cars down. And he helped the merchants assoc. get the funds to put up a permanent speed sign (just waiting for the state to ok ). It is being repaved right now with NO WIDDENING! and we are hoping to get some more on street parking which will also slow the traffic down. He and Allan brison also help get a turn arrow and lane to help slow traffic and prevent all of accidents at our deadliest corner.  We Yelled and screamed about this for years!! Until we got Elicker who understood and found solutions and is implementing them to make is safer!!

posted by: westville man on June 27, 2013  8:06am

Razzie-  thanks and good luck to you as well. As far as your “black only” candidate claim, I think you’ll be surprised at Kerm’s white and Latino support. I dare say he will get more of that support than Elicker will get outside of his white liberal support. He may or may not lose to Harp in the primary- how close the race is will dictate what follows.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 27, 2013  8:21am

beyonddiscussion??? Nice twist but you have lived in New Haven long enough to know better! If the shoe fits…and I live in Cedar Hill I was a low income single mother who worked 2 3 jobs to feed my kids and pay the bills. I in now way an elitist! There is know way you can not see the the shady back room deals that have happened. Nermson getting economic dev., Gary to get a senate seat??? Really? and what will the people get left with?? Broken promises…remember most of these folks are the same folks that supported JD. Many of justins supporter are low income homeowners that are losing their homes because of the crazy spending that is happening and the bad choices! I sure as hell am going to stand behind the candidate that will fight for us….not increase spending and push us out of the city.

posted by: Curious on June 27, 2013  8:22am

@ beyonddiscussion,

I have a problem with machine-style politics, the influence of too much money in politics (especially in a local setting where the effect is magnified), unions that overstep their boundaries and go beyond their original mandates, lack of transparency in government and political funding, and pay-for-play style politics whereby people support a candidate and then get kickbacks when that person is in office.

Look at how that lines up with the candidates, and you’ll see why I was so glad to see Justin and Gary in the race, and so disappointed to see Toni and Henry start getting all the attention.

If Local 34 had endorsed Justin, I would have been extremely conflicted.  However, as one might expect, that didn’t happen.

I’m also again voting by color of your skin, and staying in office for more than 12 years.  If Justin comes out and says he wants to be mayor as long as he can, or is against term limits, I will have a serious problem with that.

You may like to see our criticisms as “sour grapes” and blindly following a candidate, but that has more to do with you choosing an interpretation that makes sense to you and fits your world view than it does our actual positions and values.

posted by: robn on June 27, 2013  9:03am

EDDIE,

What you may be mistaking as licker supporters may actually be a group of commenters who just haven’t found numerous things to loathe about him (as they have with other candidates). Its sad that this is the current standard for elections in New Haven but that’s just the way it is in a machine politics town.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 27, 2013  9:44am

oh and beyonddiscussion I have a question…

would you consider a a person that owns a 4br house on 2 acres in Bethany…“TO HAVE PARTY"S AT” and elitist?

posted by: Curious on June 27, 2013  11:26am

@ Bill, right?  What the heck.

For those not in the know, this is Toni Harp, er excuse me, I mean MATTHEW Harp’s other house.  Toni just lives in it free of charge.

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/170-Conrad-Dr-New-Haven-CT-06515/57973060_zpid/

So my question is, if Matthew Harp owns one house worth $500,000 and another worth $600,00, why doesn’t the state just seize those assets to pay his back-taxes bill of $1,000,000?

Any of you ever have your tax bills wiped clean?

A better question might be, any of your moms on the state legislature?

posted by: Razzie on June 27, 2013  12:59pm

@ Eddie - @ beyonddiscussion
“Haters will wake up tomorrow with their same problems”

I offered this observation earlier following a string of comments from the Elicker East Rock crowd. Apparently, they now take issue with Sen. Harp’s house and her dead husband’s investments. If you are asking what that has to do with any candidate’s position on governing New Haven, take solace in the fact that many others are asking the same thing. There are an awful lot of nice houses in East Rock - She doesn’t have to go all the way to Bethany for a party.

posted by: anonymous on June 27, 2013  1:23pm

Eddie, if your strategy to attack Elicker is to take lines from anonymous comments completely out of context, and then compile them into a rant, then good luck.

Elicker is one of the few politicians in New Haven who makes sure that his positions go on the record - unlike the rest of the Democratic party, his opinions don’t stay behind closed doors in a CCNE office or Caucus. 

Since Harp and Fernandez have not been engaged in day-to-day New Haven issues over the past six years, voters here have very little to go on, other than their recent press events.  Regarding your point on those, while it is obvious that business owners should have assistance, Harp’s half-baked idea that Dixwell Plaza can be a focus of revitalization, when it is completely disconnected from the rest of the city by 1960s urban renewal projects, shows that she has little to zero understanding of urban economic development.  I am intimately familiar with Dixwell Plaza and know many dozens of residents in that area, and would love to see Dixwell Plaza’s revitalization be an absolute top priority - but for the city to have any hope at all of doing that, it has to begin by improving the “triangle of blight,” a large area located between Broadway, Whalley, Sperry, and Dixwell that is abandoned, littered, and unpleasant to walk around even during the day.  I hate to say it, but until that condition is addressed, Dixwell is going nowhere (and Whalley will continue to suffer as well).  The idea of building apartments along the “waterfront,” next to a ten story high flyover, is also a pipe dream.  Hopefully Harp will hire a real economic development planner before she throws out more half-baked ideas.  Until then, I think that most voters will support candidates who have real solutions.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 27, 2013  2:27pm

oh and Razzie..Really want…you have no issues with a government official owing over a million in taxes?? I realize it is her husband but there is no way she was not aware of it! If you or I owes $1000 we would have a lean on our property!! YES THAT does have alot to do with how they will govern!

posted by: Eddie on June 27, 2013  2:58pm

My strategy is not to attack Elicker.  I actually offered him praise.  To reiterate, his supporters that I know personally are engaged in many constructive efforts throughout New Haven.  My hope is only that Elicker’s supporters in the comments section would stop referring to those who have a different viewpoint as being stupid, corrupt, or manipulated.  Although those who are quoted are tentatively anonymous, everyone of them has expressed support for Elicker and many have acknowledged contributions to his campaign.  If you think the quotes sound bad out of context, I would encourage you to read them in context and see if their meaning is dramatically different.  At some point, I hope the moderate voices in Elicker’s coalition prevail, and put an end to the negative campaign that many of those currently commenting are waging.  If he has the best solutions and most relevant accomplishments of any candidate in the race, I don’t understand the need to occupy most of the space in the comment section criticizing everyone else, including voters who support other candidates.

In any case, I’m glad to hear that you agree that Dixwell should be a priority.  Note that Toni was talking to small business owners on Dixwell.  With all due respect, I trust that many of these small business owners have important insight into how they could use public support to develop their neighborhood.  Perhaps part of that support would entail using the expertise of urban planners such as yourself.  Still,  starting a conversation with small business owners about how the public can support the development in their district shouldn’t be mocked as a half-baked idea.  My guess is that Justin would actually agree with Toni on this point and also be happy to talk to these small business owners about the role of public support.  This makes it all the more puzzling his supporters would deride it.

posted by: anonymous on June 27, 2013  4:07pm

Eddie, there have been plenty of positive news articles over the past few years in which detailed “solutions” have been acted on. In fact, if you add up public school admission fairness, public transit, public spaces and dirt bikes, etc., there are certainly far more news articles about Elicker than about any other candidate remaining in the race. 

Elicker’s accomplishments are the reason why he has such a vast base of support among people who actually live, work, and send their children to school here.  So your criticism of “negative campaigning” is a bit premature.

Anyhow, I think I agree with you on Dixwell, but wish that the candidates would be realistic about its potential.  I certainly hope that Elicker doesn’t go out to Dixwell Plaza or to our highway-laced “Waterfront” and pronounce that it is the cornerstone of the city’s future revival, like Harp and Nemerson have.  The city and business owners at Dixwell Plaza have tried and failed to revitalize their strip mall for decades. Talk to the business owners and residents there at length - they aren’t throwing out terrible ideas or pandering for votes, they are realistic that a completely new development approach is needed if the area is ever going to succeed and contribute more than a few dozen jobs to the city’s economy.

After decades of failure, let’s admit that the plaza simply is not going to succeed until we have a truly progressive City Hall that will address these issues at their root using an evidence-based approach, and also one that is willing to be completely honest and transparent that the real barrier to revitalization is the condition of nearby Whalley and Goffe and other market fundamentals, not Dixwell itself.

Honesty, integrity, and good ideas don’t always win votes, but they are the only way to ensure that all neighborhoods can share in the city’s prosperity - not just suburban elites with millions of dollars in property.

posted by: Razzie on June 27, 2013  4:23pm

@Eddie

I understood exactly the thrust of your earlier comments that Elicker, himself, would likely find much of what is being spewed forth on his behalf objectionable. That is why I took issue with many of the commenters. But in the absence of any public disavowal coming from Elicker, I must assume that he and his campaign find nothing objectionable in the tone and content his supporters use. I think it is a horrific mistake to constantly denigrate those that come from different stations in life, or those that you feel are “too stupid” to understand your point of view. Perhaps it is a sign that your point of view may have some flaws.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 27, 2013  5:24pm

Razzle,

I agree. 

It is crucial to the Harp campaign that the family tax problems get taken off the political dining table.  Maybe you could start a fundraising campaign on the family’s behalf.  If everyone in the city kicked in 6 bucks, that should about cover the liability.

To put things in perspective, this is roughly equivalent to the City granting me 140 years of tax forgiveness for my modest home.

Bedazzle that!

posted by: Eddie on June 28, 2013  7:47am

Anon,

I have provided numerous examples of many Elicker supporters waging a negative campaign on NHI.  See the quotes above.

Alternatively, just consider yesterday.  Justin is currently engaged in a 75 ideas in 75 days campaign.  I’m sure many in his campaign are out selling these ideas and are engaged in conversations about how to improve New Haven.  Are many of his supporters on NHI discussing the ideas he has laid out and arguing how they would improve New Haven?  No, as Razzie, observes many are complaining about Toni’s house.  Curious and David are busy attacking unions that care about politics.  You have chosen to attack an aldermanic candidate that you don’t know and probably haven’t heard speak.  In your other comments you attack CCNE and the Board of Aldermen.  Finally you double down on your attack of Toni for having a conversation with small business owners on Dixwell and allege a suburban conspiracy.  This is just in one day!!!  Seems pretty negative to me!  I had to prime a positive discussion about Justin from you.  So, no, it is not premature to say that many of Elicker’s NHI supporters are waging a negative campaign.  I wonder if this much negativity is doing a disservice to his campaign.

Even now you mischaracterize Toni’s position on Dixwell and mock it.  It seems Toni believes that as mayor she can work with the state to get more public support for Dixwell if it is a priority of the city’s government.  Given Toni’s ability to build coalitions and her existing relationships with the state, she is the candidate who can most credibly promise this type of support.  She referenced Westville, and as you know she was recently instrumental in securing important traffic calming funds there.  Campaigns are about winning votes, but they also begin conversations that can guide future policy.  Something similar might be said of Elicker’s recent conversations at a soup kitchen and his idea to help those with food stamps manage their funds until the end of t

posted by: robn on June 28, 2013  8:19am

EDDIE,

The fact is that there are significant and negative things to say about Sen Harp that pertain to her run for mayor, including CT citizens having the highest per capita debt in the nation by a factor of 2, and also the tax evasion issue (particularly relevant since it affects all socio-economic strata in the city; owners and renters alike).

You can bundle Harp-critics together into a fantasy football team if you like but, they are not like your unions; they are not a large organized self-interested activist group with a track record of evasive campaigning.

posted by: Eddie on June 28, 2013  8:55am

@Razzie,

I think Justin would be well-served if his campaign called for less negativity from his supporters on the NHI.

posted by: Eddie on June 28, 2013  9:06am

I call for less negativity.  Robn’s response: imply that I am a “self-interested activist.”  One can’t even call for a more positive dialogue without being called stupid, corrupt, or manipulated.  This needs to change!  I believe Elicker has enough leadership to set a more positive tone.

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on June 28, 2013  11:42am

Isn’t it a bit redundant to refer to any block of voters in New Haven as ______-liberals?

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