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Westville Gets A Last-Minute Race

by Paul Bass | Oct 23, 2013 4:31 pm

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

Posted to: Westville, Campaign 2013

Michael Pinto has already achieved two milestones in his sudden run for office: becoming the last candidate to enter a race for alderman this year, and the hardest one to vote for.

Pinto sent out an email Sunday night to neighbors in Westville’s high-voting Ward 25 to announce he is running for alderman.

As a write-in candidate.

In the Nov. 5 general election.

As in: two Tuesdays from now.

Pinto, a 43-year-old attorney and former city development staffer, has been knocking on doors and rounding up voters for almost a year now—not for himself, but for petitioning mayoral candidate Justin Elicker. Elicker is running against Democrat Toni Harp. Pinto has helped oversee Elicker’s campaign efforts in neighborhoods on the west side of town.

During those rounds he has heard often from voters in his home ward, in the Westville flats, that they wish they had an alternative in the aldermanic race. First-term Democrat Adam Marchand has been running unopposed.

“So, with just over two weeks to go, Pinto decided to plunge in and offer that alternative. He said he does hope to win, while he conceded he faces an uphill battle.

“I’ve given Adam as big a head start as I possibly could,” Pinto said in an interview Tuesday. And his voters need to write his name at the ballot box rather than just fill in a bubble. (Pinto is also asking voters to write his address as well, 449 Central Ave., to avoid any potential confusion.)

Marchand is a strong supporter of the Harp mayoral campaign. In the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, Elicker collected 349 votes in Ward 25 compared to 294 for Harp. Another 319 ward voters chose Henry Fernandez, who has since dropped out of the race; many of his Ward 25 supporters have gravitated to Elicker.

Asked about Pinto’s candidacy, Elicker responded: “Mike is a hard worker and incredibly dedicated to the community. I don’t plan on getting involved in his race and he hasn’t asked for my endorsement, but I have a lot of respect for Mike and think he would be a great representative.”

Toni Harp endorsed Marchand’s candidacy back at his June reelection announcement event at Manjares coffee shop. Scroll down in this story to read about that. She still supports Marchand’s candidacy, according to her campaign manager, Jason Bartlett.

Constituent Service

Pinto grew up in New Haven, left for California, then returned in 1997. He and his wife moved to East Rock, then bought a home on Westville’s Central Avenue five years ago. As a city development staffer, Pinto worked on projects like the sale of the old Lovell School on Nash Street to a developer who converted it to housing. He now works as an attorney in the New Haven firm of Mulvey, Oliver, Gould and Crotta.

Asked the reason for his run, Pinto cited constituent service. He said neighbors don’t reach Marchand as easily about ward issues or hear from him as much as they did from his predecessors, Greg Dildine and Ina Silverman.

Pinto credited Marchand for pressing for “traffic-calming” at Yale Avenue and West Elm Street, but said more needs to be done, especially on Central Avenue. He said that when the Friends of Edgewood Park held a recent major event, it was the first time he’d ever seen Adam at one of the group’s functions.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Marchand responded that he has continually knocked on doors and kept constituents informed. He said he has heard as much from constituents during this campaign season. He did say, though, that he takes a different approach from Dildine’s: He tries to “balance” ward issues with citywide concerns like jobs and youth services and community-policing—issues that end up tying in to quality of life at the Ward 25 level as well. During last winter’s massive snowfall, of course, he concentrated on ward-level concerns, he said; “visiting people buried under snow.” He said he has pressed hard for promised traffic-calming measures on Cleveland Road, which city officials have assured him will occur by year’s end.

Another difference between the two candidates: Their view on the role of labor. Marchand, who is 41,was among a slate of aldermen citywide who swept into office two years ago with the support of Yale’s UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35. Marchand works as a union steward for Local 34 as well as a “health policy wonk” for a joint union-management committee at the university.

Pinto argued that that job presents a conflict.

“I don’t see how you can serve two masters,” Pinto said. “If you are an alderman, you take an oath to the city.” Meanwhile, Marchand bets paid by “a group that works at odds with the city.”

Marchand responded that most aldermen have day jobs. They work for other institutions. That’s not an inherent conflict, he argued.

“People understand when you have a career, you’re responsible to the organization that employs you. He’s an attorney. So he has to represent clients. I wouldn’t say that that disqualifies him from” serving as an alderman, Marchand said of Pinto.

Furthermore, he argued, he and other union supporters spent years knocking on doors citywide to craft an agenda based on community policing, job-creation and youth services. That agenda doesn’t conflict with the Board of Aldermen’s agenda, he said; in fact all 30 aldermen voted to support that agenda. If New Haven felt the agenda conflicted, he said, “we would see different people getting elected.”

Streets & Trolleys

Pinto and Marchand agree on some citywide issues. They both support the proposed sale of the Shubert to the not-for-profit that currently manages the theater, for instance. They both frowned on the aborted “monetization” proposal floated two years ago to sell 25 years worth of parking-meters revenues to a private firm in return for an up-front cash infusion to plug budget holes.

They split on at least two citywide issues. One: The proposal to accept federal money to conduct a study to build a downtown trolley in New Haven.

Marchand voted against he idea. He said the city would ultimately be on the hook to spend money on a trolley that served the wrong route and represented the wrong priorities for the city He said he and others on the board sought to have the plan altered to have track laid down in polluted areas and other “economically devastated” districts. “It became clear that that wasn’t going to happen,” he said.

Pinto argued that the proposal would have brought “free money” to New Haven to develop a transit system that ultimately would more than pay for itself in the new development it would spark along its route.

Pinto also criticized Marchand for voting in favor of permanently selling portions of Wall and High streets to Yale.

“He voted to sell them without assurances by Yale that there would always be a right of public access,” Pinto said. Otherwise, “I would have left the status quo.”

Marchand argued that the deal should be viewed in a broader context: a continuing improvement in town-gown relations. He said he’s confident that the public will retain access to the privatized streets. Furthermore, he said, the deal codified an improvement way of calculating Yale’s annual voluntary payments to New Haven, based not just on fire service, but also on student census. In addition, he said, Yale showed “leadership” by agreeing to give more preference to New Haveners when hiring university workers; and in supporting New Haven Works, the new not-for-profit agency that aims to steer unemployed and underemployed New Haveners to local jobs. That’s not just a citywide issue, Marchand said. “Ward 25 residents have gotten jobs through New Haven Works.”

 

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posted by: New Haven Nuisance on October 23, 2013  4:42pm

Mike Pinto is the best! I’m not only going to write his name in, I’m going to write his name over the other candidate’s name just to be sure. Pinto! Pinto! Pinto!

posted by: Tikki Tikki Tembo on October 23, 2013  4:49pm

Shall we believe that Pinto decided two weeks before the election that Marchand is doing such a questionable job that it’s his civic duty to run against him? Or could this be a cunning attempt to reduce Marchand’s time/ability to beat the bushes for Harp? If Marchand scrambles to fight off Pinto then that would certainly redirect his efforts away from the mayoral race to his aldermanic bid in a ward with such a high turnout.

Well played Pinto and company. Well played.

posted by: Bill Saunders on October 23, 2013  5:13pm

I’ve had many dealings with Mike Pinto over my year’s pestering City Hall.  I alway found him to be helpful, honest, and smart.  He knows the stuff that’s right in our City Government, as well as the things that are wrong.

Heck, he is also THE ONLY city official to ever visit IDEAT VILLAGE without an invitation, to enjoy the afternoon with his son.

A real guy, and someone worthy of the extra effort it takes to engage this seemingly untenable process.

NOT GUILTY!

posted by: Little Miss Mess-Up on October 23, 2013  5:16pm

Funny running into you last night at the Debate, Mike.

When I said on the sidewalk, “Pick Your Pony,” I didn’t know I was talking about a Pinto!

Good Luck.  I will spare you the big red lipstick kiss.

posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2013  7:53pm

Marchand’s explanation makes no sense whatsoever.

1. The only previous concern about accepting the free transportation money had been the need for a small city match, a concern that the city addressed by getting the State to cover the cost going into the second vote.

2. After overwhelming citizen testimony (and 7 years of staff planning) in favor of the study, Marchand voted for it in committee and then voted against it at the last minute after secret, behind-closed door meetings between Perez and the Mayor. The study was ended in order to hold it as a negotiating card with the downtown business community. CCNE and Local 34 are now secretly using it to buy support for Harp, in behind closed door bullying tactics. In retrospect, I think Marchand deeply regrets that he gave in to the bullying.

3. Furthermore, as the city clearly pointed out, the study was much more about improving the city’s bus system than it was about a trolley.  Transit lines do not exist in isolation.

Marchand, and other CCNE-controlled Alders who voted against this made the single most harmful, anti-poor-person, and anti-jobs vote in the history of New Haven, going back centuries.

Until they are replaced by politicians with integrity, they will continue to hold transit investmemt as a “negotiating card” to try to funnel more money to their corrupt machine and to suburban-based unions, because they know that the constituency that is impacted by continued transit disinvestment (children, poor transit riders, frail and disabled) do not come out to vote in large numbers.

posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on October 23, 2013  7:58pm

It may be too late for this election, but let’s hope it’s the first of many that come forward to oppose the union-backed machine.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on October 23, 2013  8:21pm

Every single person I have spoke with in the past day from Cedar Hill and beyond are so excited that you are running. A truly honest man with a heart of gold and a love for this city! We all would be very lucky to have you in the alder chambers! Good luck!!

posted by: WestvilleAdvocate on October 23, 2013  9:07pm

You will have my vote and others!

posted by: westvilleresident on October 23, 2013  9:29pm

What a surprise! Adam just emailed the ward to let everyone know he is “re-establishing regular office hours.” Thanks to Mike Pinto for entering this race. We need an alderman that responds to our concerns consistently, not just when under the threat of a challenger’s write-in campaign!

posted by: Jim Berger on October 23, 2013  11:32pm

We can have disagreements about policy.  But there is no one who puts more time into his job or is more committed both to the welfare of people in his ward and to social justice in New Haven than Adam Marchand.  I first met Adam when I worked on his campaign two years ago, and since then I’ve gotten to know him pretty well.  I’m quite familiar with what he does for a living and what he’s done as Alder.  I have not met many people in my life with the integrity that Adam has…or the competence. 
  Adam’s efforts for us during the hurricanes and blizzards were amazing. He has worked conscientiously on traffic-calming.  Adam was also one of the people most central to getting the voter turnout necessary to elect Chris Murphy to the senate—which was certainly a victory for all of us.  Adam is a dynamo, and a dynamo with a conscience and a keen political mind.  And one of Adam’s signal accomplishments, I think, was in working to reunite a ward that was divided by the contentious aldermanic race of 2011.  It’s not by accident that Mike Slattery, his opponent in that race, is now Ward Co-Chair with Janis Underwood, one of Adam’s supporters. 
  More broadly, Adam understands that Westville is part of New Haven—that as long as large portions of the city are poor, Westville cannot fully prosper.  There is no wall or moat that we can build.  New Haven’s problems are local Westville problems too.
  I think the contentiousness of the mayoral race—and Adam’s strong support of Toni Harp—has affected some people’s thinking and made them forget the really strong work Adam has done here.  We’re lucky to have someone with his abilities and his heart as Alder.

posted by: N5833 on October 24, 2013  7:19am

BRAVO. A very welcome entry and just what Westville needs if we are going to have real representation in New Haven. My fellow ward 25 residents— let’s work to get Pinto in and say no to the union machine doing nothing for Westville.  Write in Pinto!!!

posted by: JMS on October 24, 2013  7:27am

This could not be better news. Mike is a great guy and has my full support against an incumbent who has been quite underwhelming in his representation of our ward. Marchand has completely validated any and all concerns prior to his election that he was only running to fulfill his duties as a Yale union pawn and has done absolutely nothing to demonstrate that he has the slightest interest in serving his constituents.

posted by: accountability on October 24, 2013  7:39am

Tikki Tikki: your analysis is dead on except for this: “well-played”.

A desperate, cynical ploy by a floundering, desperate mayoral campaign. Justin’s taxpayer financed image as honest and committed to good government regardless of party or faction takes another blow. Pinto’s criticisms of Adam, who is as hardworking as they come, are laughable.

Pinto is running now because Elicker couldn’t find anyone to run against Adam when it might have been a race. Justin knew then:

1. That Adam is a terrific leader, well respected by voters supporting all mayoral candidates and that therefor:
2. Whoever challenged him would get demolished.

The dozen echo chamber voices on this site mean nothing. They don’t lead anyone and don’t understand actual leadership.

It’s not really a race. just a desperate ploy to scrape together another handful of votes for a losing mayoral candidate.

It’s worth pointing out that for months, the commenters on this site had a policy of Marchand Exceptionalism—the BoA is a bunch of stupid puppets except for that really nice, smart Adam guy. Now, as their favored mayoral candidate slides into oblivion, Adam is a stupid, controlled puppet, who is all of a sudden lazy and unresponsive.

And btw, anonymous, we are all still waiting to hear your hymns of praise for Justin’s honest, hardworking, independent running mate.

posted by: accountability on October 24, 2013  7:45am

By the way, is Pinto going to release his client list so we can see his conflicts of interest? Is he going to swear off clients who have any business or disputes with the city?

Yeah. I didn’t think so.

posted by: robn on October 24, 2013  8:41am

ACCOUNTABILITY,

Do you mean like the conflict of interest forms filed by union associated Alderpersons? ...one of which mention a potential conflict of interest? ...soon followed by a vote to sell city streets to Yale for a pittance?

Are those the conflict of interest forms you’re talking about?

posted by: accountability on October 24, 2013  8:42am

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of this lame, last minute gambit is that we have to endure another rehash of anonymous’s trolley fantasy.

It was a trolley study, not a study of regional transportation needs. In a long conversation with my wife and I at a meet and greet, Justin didn’t call it “a regional transportation study” or “a citywide bus route study” or any other damned thing. He called it, and I quote “my trolley study,” over and over again.

All the other stuff was shoehorned in at the last minute when it became clear that there was political resistance. Nobody believed that Justin and was serious about anything except your pet trolley for shoreline commuters, East Rock and downtown. Because he wasn’t.

But let’s give Jeanette Morrison the last word. In a remarkable article in the Yale Herald on the race called The Leadership Factor, Alderwoman Morrison was asked about Justin, the trolley and the need for disciplined focus on the citywide agenda [that Justin voted for btw]. Here’s what she said:

“A lot of things that maybe constituents in his ward see as…priority, it’s not always in line with what the rest of the city is saying is a priority,” she said. “So I think he might at times feel as though, ‘Boy, every time I want something, you guys say no.’ It’s not every time, but we have to stay focused. Because there’s only one pile of money… and if you’ve got two dollars, you can’t take two dollars and spend it over there on an ice cream if you can spend it over here and feed a whole community.”

posted by: JMS on October 24, 2013  8:44am

accountability,

You are dead wrong if you think there is not significant grass roots level disappointment within Wrad 25 over Adam Marchand’s representation. He has proven to be frustratingly unresponsive to numerous communications from numerous families and in what has proven to be a politically biased manner as a result of allegiances in the upcoming mayoral election. I would remind him that regardless of personal allegiances that IT IS HIS JOB to (at the very least) give ear service to ward concerns regardless of which mayoral candidate he is stumping for. And again in the respect he has failed us. Mike’s candidacy has everything to do with being inspired by and attentively listening to similar complaints, comments, stories and opinions in this vein. Ward 25 needs a more attentive alderman. And if it happens to wake up Adam Marchand to the fact that he needs to step away from his precious Harp campaign duties and bother to pay closer attention to his own ward constituents then Mike’s campaign will prove to be a win/win regardless of it’s last minute timing and/or ultimate success or failure. So thank you Mike again for stepping up.

posted by: robn on October 24, 2013  8:51am

Union Coalition message

Democracy is great; unless you run against our candidate.

posted by: JMS on October 24, 2013  9:01am

robn,

Exactly.

posted by: Noteworthy on October 24, 2013  9:28am

Democracy in New Haven Notes:

1. Why is it that those in power are most responsive when challenged for their seat of priviledge? New office hours indeed but it’s rather transparent why now when they had been suspended before.

2. Accountability - You protest too much. The hyperbolic response to freedom of choice offered by Pinto is over the top. If I could vote in the 25th, I’d pull for Pinto just because of your posts.

3. As for conflicts of interest - an $85 million ESUMS school will employ union workers and union alders will say predictably say yes, damn the cost. All the money flowing into Harp’s campaign from unions and city contractors in pay for play moves - no conflicts there.

posted by: Westvillian222 on October 24, 2013  1:32pm

Not sure the complaint factory running here is forthright in their mission or whether this is an Elicker support team effort to distract from an effective Harp support team in this ward which could be threatening Justin’s supporters…hmmmmmmmm.

In any event, as Ward 25 Co-chair, I’ve worked closely with Adam on many projects.  The admirable qualities describing him above are spot-on.  We would be hard pressed to find someone whose vision for this city doesn’t stop at ward lines.  It is important for residents of Ward 25 to keep in mind that the problems of New Haven at large are also the problems of Westville.  Until the ills of less advantaged wards are addressed we all will continue to be affected.  When important issues are addressed with the BOA, Adam’s seat won’t be empty. When our monthly Westville-West Hills Community Management Team meets, it’s a rare occasion when Adam is absent…usually due to a conflicting meeting, which may be of a higher priority to the care of this city.   

I’m concerned that many folks in our ward have forgotten that our last 2 alders served during a time in their lives when they were not employed full-time, therefore, providing them more than ample time to dedicate to the details of maintaining a ward.  As fortunate as that was, I think we’ve become accustomed to having our needs met with unrealistic promptness.
 
I’ve never met anyone with more energy, passion, and love for this ward and city, which was recognized in the unanimous endorsement to continue serving our ward put forth by our ward committee prior to elections. Then, once again, when alders were required to collect signatures to re-establish their endorsement city-wide, Adam had several times the required signatures in a mere 2 days.  That says a great deal for his support in this ward.

posted by: robn on October 24, 2013  1:50pm

WV22,

The “unrealistic promptness” of a fully engaged alderman is exactly what I called for with a reduced, professionalized BOA. That call drew the deep disdain and rejection of the union coalition Harp supporters who erroneously claim that 30 part time alders would be more effective.

posted by: anonymous on October 24, 2013  2:05pm

Westville22 wrote:

“which was recognized in the unanimous endorsement to continue serving our ward put forth by our ward committee prior to elections.”

Fact check: This DTC endorsement was only “unanimous” if you do not count the many members who abstained from voting.  To be fair, Adam was the only Democrat running at the time, but nevertheless one would think that a Co-Chair would 1) be in better touch with his/her own party members in the Ward and 2) not speak erroneously on their behalf.

posted by: win win on October 24, 2013  2:10pm

Seriously with the Trolley Study! Talk about beating a dead horse. Sure it would’ve been hip and made us more Portland-esque but Adam and his colleagues are committed to a real transit overhaul that benefits the entire city, not just East Rock.

It’s a shame to see this sudden, opportunistic Adam-bashing. He’s been a great alder -one who recognizes that constituent services and crafting policies that benefit the city as a whole are not mutually exclusive. He is attentive to both. And he’s worked hard to bring different constituencies together to solve problems. But this election is bringing out nasty divisions in New Haven. Sadly, many NHI commentators and affluent Westvillians and East Rockers are more interested in self-serving, isolationist, pro-genrtification approaches than in investments in the city overall. Adam, on the other hand sees the big picture: that we rise and fall together. Thankfully, there are many more “Adams” out there than there are “ANONYMOUSs” - more voters who understand that lifting up the conditions of residents in Newhallville, for ex, (through initiatives such as those Adam and his colleagues have been working on, i.e. jobs pipelines, community policing, community centers and youth programs) will improve safety and community wellbeing in Westville. 

This whole union conspiracy thing is getting pretty old, too. Yes Adam is a leader in his union. Unions exist to increase democracy and accountability in the workplace, and they lift workers into the middle class. Union members and stewards are well-suited to public service: they have experience with democratic decision-making; they know how to negotiate and find common ground between diverse stakeholders; they are accustomed to building teams, educating their co-workers on often complex issues and fighting to improve conditions in their workplaces -skills that are highly transferable to fighting to improve conditions in their communities. That’s the big conspiracy folks.

posted by: westville man on October 24, 2013  3:09pm

Many of us here in 25 have felt disappointed in Adam - even those of us who voted for him.  There’s no uniform answer as to why.  But it’s always good to have a choice, at least in my opinion. It’s not “bashing” Adam to feel he either hasn’t been responsive or has made some poor decisions as an alderman. Whether it’s enough to vote for Mike Pinto-well, each voter will have to make that choice, obviously.  But I welcome his running.

posted by: Razzie on October 24, 2013  3:43pm

I don’t live in Ward 25, and don’t rightfully know Alderman Marchand. But I do take issue with those of the above commenters who live across town from Ward 25 and hurl bombs his way. This tactic is now the hallmark of the Elicker campaign, whose supporters hatred and disdain for Sen Harp knows no limit or bounds. My guess is that several of the commenters above don’t know Adam either, and has no knowledge or interest in Ward 25 activities. Be that as it may, I’ll leave it to the Ward 25 voters to resolve their representation issues without my interference.

posted by: Jim Berger on October 24, 2013  3:43pm

My dear anon, I suppose the problem is definitional.  Insofar as you abstained from voting, you did not, in fact, vote.  Thus, the vote was unanimous.  Thanks, of course, for drawing attention to your longstanding disdain for Alderman Marchand.  The objects of your dislike are well-known to this audience.

Thanks to WeR1 for bringing some reality into this discussion.

posted by: anonymous on October 24, 2013  3:48pm

WeR1nhv:

1) I love Unions too, but there is no evidence to back your suggestion that paid employees of the Yale Union are the only candidates for elected office who believe that “we all rise and fall together.”

2) Regarding “isolationism,” choosing to not accept free Federal and State money for improving regional transportation on a massive scale, on the grounds that it might benefit one neighborhood more than another one, is the definition of “isolationism.”  Of course, in reality, neighborhoods like Newhallville that rely the most on public transit would benefit the most from any improvements to the system. Everyone wins when you invest in public transit, but neighborhoods like East Rock and Westville would see the least benefit because they have lower transit use and fewer elderly and poor residents. Newhallville would also benefit from the creation of hundreds of mid-level Union jobs that would accompany an expanded transit system. Of course, “isolationism” was never the real reason for the last-minute, behind-closed-doors change of vote. See explanation above.

3) You are correct to suggest that better transportation may bring gentrification to some areas. Investments in the Yale shuttle, for example, should have been balanced by investments in affordable housing development so that Goatville did not become the State’s most rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood over the past decade. But the alternative to investment is a crumbling transit system, which creates slums, job sprawl, no jobs for youth, and shrinking funding for public safety - i.e., what we see now, thanks to the State Government’s and Board of Aldermen’s failure to prioritize this issue.

4) When New Haven is forced to lay off half of its police force in a few years, they will be wishing that Adam and the others hadn’t made the single most anti-economic development, anti-Union decision in our city’s 375-year history.

posted by: Jessica Feinleib on October 24, 2013  3:49pm

I am so thrilled to have just voted for Mike Pinto on my AB ballot!!!!

Over the last year I have spoken directly with Adam about his inability to listen to the wishes of his ward on the BoA votes that have been discussed here.  He has consistently and aggressively brushed off my concerns.  Additionally, Adam has a dictatorial style that is an offense to this thoughtful and very active citizen.  Adam tells rather than consults.  A true top down manager, never grass root, the hypocrisy is thick.  All that from a flat denial of any conflict of interest.  Well he is likely “Baffled” by this too. 

THE GREAT ALTERNATIVE IS HERE!!!!!!
Mike Pinto has worked tirelessly for Friends of Edgewood Park.  He fully supported and found funding for our our Summer Youth at Work program.  It is this kind of thoughtful, inclusive, tireless, consensus building that I have come to expect from Mike Pinto, our next Ward 25 Alderman. GOTV

posted by: accountability on October 24, 2013  3:54pm

actually, robn, I’m talking about the fact that Pinto has publicly accused Adam of conflict of interest, a claim that Paul repeats without balance, and then fails to ask Pinto whether he has clients that do business with or legal claims against the city.

Adam’s day job is no secret. Pinto talks about it and Paul reports it. The question is journalistic balance. If you’re going to publish these kinds of accusations, you have a responsibility to ask the same question of the other candidate.

That’s all. Or should all journalism consist only of robn-approved one-sided anti-union rants?

[Bass: I did ask Adam about Michael’s accusation, and I printed Adam’s response, in the form of these three paragraphs:

Marchand responded that most aldermen have day jobs. They work for other institutions. That’s not an inherent conflict, he argued.

“People understand when you have a career, you’re responsible to the organization that employs you. He’s an attorney. So he has to represent clients. I wouldn’t say that that disqualifies him from” serving as an alderman, Marchand said of Pinto.

Furthermore, he argued, he and other union supporters spent years knocking on doors citywide to craft an agenda based on community policing, job-creation and youth services. That agenda doesn’t conflict with the Board of Aldermen’s agenda, he said; in fact all 30 aldermen voted to support that agenda. If New Haven felt the agenda conflicted, he said, “we would see different people getting elected.”]

posted by: westville man on October 24, 2013  4:15pm

I must admit, Jessica’s experience w Adam mirrors mine.  Ergo, my disappointment.

posted by: Mike Slattery on October 24, 2013  4:25pm

Mike Pinto is an honest, hardworking, and organized person with great values.  He has the talent, acumen, and empathy required to be a great alder.  Mike is putting himself out there and giving people a place on the ballot to register dissatisfaction.  I can respect that.  Talking to Mike, this comes from genuine feeling for the ward and does not spring from self-service or cunning mayoral strategy.

Having said that about Mike, Adam Marchand should be granted another term.

I say this as a critic.  I am wary of monolithic power.  I think Ward 25 deserves improvement and attention on its own merits.  I am opposed to the two big votes mentioned here.  If there has been a large failure to respond to constituents then that must be addressed to see what the scale is.

But I am more comfortable when people have the opportunity to stand a full election cycle.  I have to note zero “Nay” votes within our Ward Committee regarding endorsement, which NHI readers know we took seriously.  I note the relative ease in collecting signatures for Adam after the DTC FAIL.  Adam has worked very hard, and he was quite good during the many storms that befell us.  Though we disagree often, I have come to respect Adam, having worked with him.

Our alder and the ward need to have more and better opportunities to get in front of big votes and issues.  Adam will meet with the public for the Charter vote.  I encourage folks to attend, and agree or disagree as needed.  This should be a fine template for communicating about his BOA votes in the future.

It is good that Ward 25 has a deep bench, and all parties will be working more on developing better channels for communication and accountability on our way to the next election cycle.  This will be an interesting term on many levels.  I hope we will be able to communicate freely and often.

posted by: robn on October 24, 2013  5:37pm

Mr Berger,

A scholar such as yourself must know that the definition of unanimity isn’t universally agreed upon. Roberts Rules considers a vote with abstentions unanimous but the UN Security Council does not. The point here is that a unanimous vote is not unanimous consent.

posted by: robn on October 24, 2013  5:46pm

ACCOUNTABILITY,

The difference is this…

Adam Marchand’s conflict of interest is unavoidable as long as he remains a Union Steward for Local 34. (this goes for others)

Michael Pinto can avoid a conflict of interest by turning down potential clients who have business with the city.

posted by: anonymous on October 24, 2013  7:44pm

Robn-exactly. When Adam was elected the stated expectation was that he would represent the Ward well and abstain from conflicts in voting. Instead, he appointed himself to City Plan, where he votes on Yale-related buildings, and has not purposefully avoided any of many conflicts in the Chamber. Meanwhile, Ward representation is mediocre. He should consider resigning and focusing his efforts on his extremely valuable advocacy work on behalf of the Union.

posted by: JMS on October 24, 2013  8:31pm

It is not unreasonable in the slightest to expect at least some kind of response from one’s alderman especially when multiple attempts are made and ignored from multiple families. And for the record the same inquiries were answered promptly and politely by BOA President Jorge Perez and other city alders who are not even associated with our ward. Adam flatly ignored our communications. And it is not this current complaint about Adam that some how ties together the Elicker campaign and Mike Pinto’s declaration to run in Ward 25 (although I am proud to support both campaigns). It is Adam’s deliberate choice to ignore us as a direct result of his association with the Harp campaign that has politicized a seemingly simple series of Q&A email inquires and driven many ward 25 families to lose faith in his ability to serve with a clear purpose. I’ll say it again it’s HIS JOB to listen and respond to constituents regardless of any affiliations and if he’s too busy with his union duties then he is not professionally fit to serve and should step aside. And if his association with the Harp campaign prevents him from DOING HIS JOB and communicating in even the most polite superficial manner with constituents then he is not ethically fit to serve and should step aside.

posted by: win win on October 24, 2013  9:29pm

Might also be worth mentioning that Pinto, though I’m sure he’s a nice guy, works for a firm whose clients are primarily from the Big Insurance industry. As we’ve seen in private health insurance, in particular, denying service to maximize profit is the name of the game. Not exactly the kind of background or experience that would naturally lend itself to being a representative of “the people.”

posted by: Westville voter on October 24, 2013  9:51pm

Two things need to be made clear about the race in ward 25. First, members of the ward committee: you are out of touch and do not speak for ward 25 democrats. 2/3 of democrats voted AGAINST your anointed mayoral candidate. Many are angry and disappointed with your aldermanic candidate. Come out of the echo chamber and listen to your constituents for a change. You will get an earful.
Second, this is not about the mayoral race, Marchand’s day job, or the fact that he has a job. This is about an alderman who has systematically and consistently refused to listen to or respect his constituents. Many of us have had experiences similar to those Jessica, JMS and others have described. Our concerns are ignored or dismissed and we are not being represented. Regardless of disagreements about the mayoral race, or the proper role of the Yale unions in politics, Marchand’s conduct as alderman has been unacceptable.

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