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Who’s The Insider? Who’s The Outsider?
by Thomas MacMillan | Aug 23, 2013 8:00 am
Posted to: Wooster Square, Campaign 2013
In a topsy-turvy Wooster Square aldermanic debate, a newcomer to the neighborhood pitched himself as the candidate with the connections to be a good lawmaker—while two longtime neighbors boasted of their outsider status.
Those competing campaign messages emerged during a nearly two-hour Ward 8 aldermanic debate Thursday evening at the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James at the corner of Olive and Chapel streets.
Three candidates took part in the event, each vying to be the next alderman to represent a ward that includes Wooster Square as well as parts of Grand Avenue, including the Farnam Court housing project.
Competing visions of political power were on display at the debate, differing notions of what it means to be an insider or an outsider in government and in a neighborhood, and how effective people in those roles can be.
Sometimes, it seems, it’s good to be an outsider. At other times, it seems, it’s good to be an insider.
The debate also featured three different views on the ideal make-up of the Board of Education, and two views on the idea of a teen curfew.
Two candidates, Democrat Peter Webster and Republican Andy Ross, presented themselves at the debate as men who have made strong connections with neighbors while living for years in the Wooster Square neighborhood. They both said they can serve the neighborhood and the city as a minority voice on the Board of Aldermen, Ross because he’d be possibly the only Republican, and Webster because he wouldn’t belong to the labor-backed super majority on the board.
The third candidate, Democrat Aaron Greenberg, offered the opposite position. He faced skepticism about his limited time as a resident of the neighborhood, having moved to Wooster Square only a year ago. And he said he would not be a minority voice on the Board of Aldermen, but part of the union-affiliated majority, and be more effective as a result.
Greenberg and Webster will face off in a Sept. 10 Democratic primary. One or both candidates will face Ross in the Nov. 5 general election, since Greenberg has filed to run in both the primary and the general election.
Measure For Measure
The candidates found broad agreement for much of Thursday’s debate. One point of contrast emerged halfway through the debate, when moderator Father Alex Dyer asked the candidates about the funding of their campaigns, and what they think of the influence of unions in New Haven politics.
Greenberg said he’s supported by family and friends and neighbors. He said he hopes to receive money from workers, through the Yale-affiailted UNITE/HERE union locals that endorse him.
“I’m an organizer for grad students at Yale,” he said. “I’m proud of that. In a city where Yale is such a dominant player, we need more voices at the table.”
“I’m proud of the work that folks elected in 2011 have done,” Greenberg said, referring to the slate of union-backed candidates who swept into power in the 2011 elections. “I’m excited to be a part of that. It’s rare to have such a united group of folks working together.”
“I’m a union member too,” said Webster. “I’m a proud member of Actors Equity. Yes, unions are great. My father was a union organizer in the 1930s, when unions were really needed.”
Webster, a theater director, commented on union power in New Haven politics by quoting Shakespeare, from Measure For Measure: “It is excellent to have a giant’s strength and tyrannous to use it like a giant.”
“I am pro-labor, make no mistake about that,” Republican Ross offered. He said his father was a factory worker but unable to join the union in his shop. After 30 years on the job, he was blinded. His employer gave him a week’s pay and “very, very poor health plan,” Ross said. “I grew up angry” at the way his dad was treated.
His father, who later killed himself in a state of depression, would have been better cared for had he been part of the union, Ross said. “I know how important unions are.”
“What are some of the downfalls of unions?” Dyer asked.
“Don’t get me started,” Ross said. “The obvious downfall, when you have numbers of people that belong to a certain group and they have money, they have a great influence on politics.”
“Unions are great, but having too much union is like eating cake all the time,” Webster said. “I respect unions. I do. But I think they need to be more responsive to the people they represent.”
“I find the way my colleagues and other folks talk about unions kind of curious,” said Greenberg. “The folks who were elected two years ago came with a very big vision.” They want to address crime and youth and create jobs. “Those are things people actually want and things that matter. I don’t know what else people think unions are after. The power that there is has been harnessed for good ends.” (Click here, here, and here for a three-part mid-term look at the union-backed aldermanic majority’s agenda and performance.)
Near the end of the debate, Elsie Chapman (pictured), one of about 40 people watching the debate from the church’s pews, asked the candidates to say how long they’ve lived in the ward and to name two ways they’ve made Ward 8 a better community.
Webster said he’s lived in the ward since 2005, first as a renter on St. John Street and now as a condo owner on Chapel. He said he’s been a part of the Wooster Square Association, which makes sure the square is clean and secure. He said he’s a member of the block watch, and helps out his neighbors every day, from shoveling snow to delivering produce.
Ross said he has lived in Wooster Square for 11 years. “I’m passionate about litter,” he said. He said he puts out garbage cans and picks up trash. He has served on the board of the Historic Wooster Square Association and last year chaired the Columbus Day Festival organizing committee.
“I’ve lived in Wooster Square as long as I’ve lived in New Haven,” said Greenberg. “I moved to New Haven last August. I’ll be here for the better part of 10 years.” He said he has “demonstrated engagement,” “been everywhere in this ward” and had hundreds of conversations with neighbors.
“What have you done?” Chapman interrupted. “Two things.”
Greenberg said that Wooster Street has seen a lot of break-ins in the last couple of weeks. He said he approached neighbors and connected people so they can set up a block watch. He called his second neighborhood-improvement accomplishment his campaign itself, “getting people involved across the ward.”
“I think Aaron answered it to the best of his ability,” Chapman said later. “He hasn’t been here long enough to accomplish anything. He came into the neighborhood as a neophyte. I question his qualifications.”
Greenberg said his short time as a resident of the ward has not come up as an issue while he’s been out campaigning. “Once people get to know me, they know how much I care,” he said.
During closing statements, Ross (pictured) and Webster talked about the outsider roles they would serve on the Board of Aldermen.
“This city is a moving freight train headed on a collision course to financial disaster, unless you elect a minority voice to keep the majority honest,” Ross said. “I will fight the establishment at every turn.”
Ross said he would make sure legislative decisions are not made in the “back room” of the Democratic caucus. “I will force them to have discussions in the public.”
“I want to place a wedge in that inflexible Board of Aldermen group that moves forward at the speed of cement,” Webster said. “I want to take care of business instead of business as usual.
Webster is part of a slate of aldermanic candidates called “Take Back New Haven,” formed as an alternative to the union-backed slate that now controls the board.
Greenberg later called his alignment with that labor-affiliated majority an advantage: “The Board of Aldermen, when it’s moving in different directions, makes the city more mayor-centered. There’s a real advantage to coming in with shared priorities. You can’t do as much when you’re not part of that.”
Teachers On The School Board?
One of the few specific proposals to emerge from the debate was Ross’ suggestion that the city have a curfew for juveniles between sundown and sunrise. “They should not be out riding bikes in packs.”
Greenberg later called that idea “a pretty extreme measure” that would “end up affecting a lot of people who are not committing crimes.”
“I think curfews are hard to enforce and a draconian way of doing it,” Webster said. “It’s something to be considered.” New Haven lawmakers last considered, and rejected, a youth curfew in 2007.
Another point of disagreement centered on whether the Board of Education should be an elected or mayorally-appointed body.
Greenberg hailed the move to revise the charter so that the school board would include two elected members, creating a “hybrid” Board of Ed. He said it would be more accountable, more democratic, and more transparent.
“I am in total disagreement,” Ross said. Electing board members means politics, which means money, which means “undue influence,” he said. Elected boards just get too political, he said. The board should comprise only mayoral appointees vetted by the Board of Aldermen, he said.
“I’m a little confused in what way the current board is not political if the members are all appointed by the mayor, who is a politician,” Greenberg replied. The mayor would still sit on a hybrid board under the charter proposal, but people in New Haven would have a chance for more input, he said.
Asked later about elected versus appointed school boards, Webster pitched a different idea: The Board of Ed should be made mostly of teachers, elected by other teachers. “Don’t they know about education?”
He said the teacher members should serve no more than a year on the board: “Move them in and move them out, so no one gets entrenched. You get one year to do something.”
Tags: Peter Webster, Andy Ross, Aaron Greenberg, Ward 8
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Both Webster and Ross seem to be stand-up guys who have worked hard to improve the neighborhood. Andy Ross clearly understands the very serious budget issues facing the City. This is an issue hat Greenberg and the other Union candidates have ignored time and time again.
I’ve had canvassers for Greenberg come to my door a number of times and have met Greenberg. Neither he nor any of his canvassers were able to give me a coherent answer when I asked how they planned to put the city on a sustainable financial path.
Greenberg seems like a nice enough guy and he’s obviously a strong debater. However, he comes off as very naive. My fear is that if elected, Mr. Greenberg won’t be able to be a strong independent voice for the neighborhood.
We’ve already got a lot of people on the board representing the interests of the Unions. What we need is someone representing the interests of Ward 8. Andy Ross and Peter Webster would both be excellent aldermen for the neighborhood.
“They want to address crime and youth and create jobs.”
Since they got into office, crime has remained the same - much higher than it was 5-10 years ago. The only thing the BOA has accomplished is twisting the numbers.
Job creation since 2011 has dramatically lagged behind the suburban growth. Prior to 2012, when the “new” BOA came into office, New Haven had been a boomtown and had beat out the suburbs on job growth every single year for almost 10 years. The BOA talks about a “pipeline” which because of its scale and “pipe to the suburbs” approach, would have no impact on unemployment.
Maybe youth are doing better, due to a lot of grassroots programs that have nothing to do with the Board (FERP, FOEP, stuff Yale does etc), maybe not. The BOA is still doing some sort of study just like the other ” studies” done over the past 20 years.
1. Unions first and foremost, represent themselves. If they happen to do a good job for you, bully.
2. Too much union is too much union. Absolute control is a bad thing and will lead to no good outcome
3. Greenberg can be outraged all he wants - but the union label on vague concepts like education, youth programs, jobs and crime - are baby pablum. They mean nothing and something all at the same time and there is zero accountability for any of it.
4. Budget - The current budget has been out of balance for the entire year. It was unbalanced from day one. The city is now running a deficit and the last drop of it reserve fund is now projected to run negative. Put the union label on that and tell us the solution. This is real serious and it’s easy to define the problem and the solution.
This NHI article admits the fact that Andy Ross is also running for Mayor.
That’s right. You Ward 8 voters will have the chance to vote for him not just once, but twice!
When quizzed about his stealth run as the Republican for mayor, Ross will dishonestly pretend that having turned in his signatures already for the mayoralty, he somehow can’t take his name off the ballot, when of course he easily can. (He would just need to send a note to the Town Clerk’s office, asking them to do so.)
Why is Andy running for two offices at once? Greater self-promotion of his real estate and mortgage business? A genuine sense that he is the best man for both jobs? Ego? Sheer lunacy?
I don’t know, but the fact that he is doing so, (and pretty much lying about it), should certainly be part of the story.
Our city and Wooster Square would be well served by having Andy on the boA.
Andy Ross was the only one with enough guts to talk about how serious our budget problems are. I was there and when he started to state hard facts and statistics it was clear to me that he is both knowledgeable about the budget and passionate about controlling expenses and debt. He is absolutely right when he revealed how the city borrows new money to pay off old debt. It’s like transferring one credit card balance to another. Eventually there will be a day of reckoning and New Haven will not have the money to solve their financial problems. Ross is right when he says that if the violence in the city does not kill you the taxes will drive you away. All in all I think all three candidates did a good job going into detail when answering the questions.
As a city resident and a person who grew up on Wooster Street I have worked with Andy Ross on city issues and find him to be the best candidate for the city as a whole. And as a person who loves the area because of my family roots there (late 1800’s stone masons who lived there)great grandparts, grandparents and my parents (my mother was killed right on wooster street) I can not see any candidate better than Ross to represent the area! This area has and will always be as important to me as Cedar Hill and I reach out to all the lifers who still live there to know that I back this candidate. Becky Angeletti.
I think Aaron Greenberg will be a great alder, and a great representative for Ward 8. He has shown a commitment to making Wooster Square and New Haven a better place. Not enough Yale students are willing to put in the time to help make New Haven a place everyone wants to live, where there are good jobs and safe streets, but Aaron has and continues to do so. And in a time when unemployment and underemployment are so high, and employers continue to abuse their employees (see: Gourmet Heaven), unions are still important.
posted by: Christopher Schaefer on August 23, 2013 11:30am
Ward 8 has an extraordinary opportunity in Andy Ross to have double clout. Not only would Ross represent the 8th Ward but, if he’s the only GOP alder, he automatically would hold a position in numerous committees as the ex officio minority party’s rep. Ross is Wooster Square’s answer to out-of-control property taxes. And before you gag at the thought of voting for a Republican, remember that LOCAL issues have little, if anything, to do with state and national GOP policies. To save readers from redundancy, see my comment below this article: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/republicans_find_four_candidates/
It sounds like Aaron has been the candidate who is engaging the most voters on the doors. Going out and having conversations with voters still strikes me as the most effective way for a local candidate to represent all of the interests in her or his ward.
One thing that has struck me about this debate is that candidates seem to be running on a platform of opposition for the sake of opposition. Worse still, some are running on a platform of opposition because it appears to be a convenient way to win an election.
In this case, one problem with convenience opposition is that it leads candidates to campaign on meaningless anti-union slogans. Consider the quote,
“Unions are great, but having too much union is like eating cake all the time,” Webster said. “I respect unions. I do. But I think they need to be more responsive to the people they represent.”
Are we really living in a time of too much union, when union density is at historically low levels? Webster claims that unions aren’t responsive to the people that they represent, but he doesn’t provide even a single example, supporting this claim. If he thinks Unite Here is not doing a good job of representing its members then make that argument using actual examples. Don’t simply rely on a vague and abstract anti-union rhetoric.
Perhaps more troubling is that this opposition leads candidates to take positions that are clearly against the interests articulated by the public. The proposed change to the Board of Education probably received the most public testimony of any proposed change in the public charter. Overwhelmingly citizens called for more elected seats. The primary proponents of a fully appointed Board of Education were people associated with the mayor and the current Board of Education. Yet in an effort to burnish his outsider status Ross places himself squarely inside DeStefano’s camp, effectively ignoring the vast public testimony that filled the public charter revision hearings. Webster makes an even more bizarre proposal. Certainly, it makes a good deal of sense to have some teachers on the Board of Education. Yet this board is also an institution that holds the school system accountable to the public. It is just bad policy to forbid parents and other community leaders from serving on the board. It is bad policy to disenfranchise parents and community members from electing board members or electing an official who appoints board members. Again I ask, take back New Haven for what end? To conserve DeStefano’s power concentrating policies? To disenfranchise parents and community members from participating in the governance of their schools?
Eddie, is it “anti union” to point out that:
“New Haven spends $15,000,000 dollars a year to non-residents for fire service. That’s about $100,000 a year on average given to over 150 individuals who don’t live here. Some of the ones who live in Guilford made close to $250,000 per year. Meanwhile, half of New Haven households are living on $29,000 or less per year.”
This point has nothing to do with being anti-union, it has to do with reality. If unions want to stay strong, they need to prioritize one thing: making local institutions and cities strong.
Look at what happened in Michigan. The unions grabbed exclusive power early on in the cities, and since, that’s the state where unions have seen the greatest decline.
If unions in Michigan had prioritized support for the city and the public, rather than making sure that low income city workers exported as much of their money as possible to their own middle-aged members in the suburbs, the Michigan unions wouldn’t be dying today. The same thing is happening in New Haven.
Your continuous stream of claims that certain people who live here are “anti union” - even though many of them come from union families or are union members themselves - is a scare tactic that you (and the DTC) are using for short term gain. It is completely antithetical to what an honest, thoughtful, advocate for labor unions would be doing.
I don’t think it is anti-union to be concerned with municipal salaries. Find one example, in which I characterized these concerns as anti-union. Earlier you asked if I thought criticizing Obama was anti-union. The only time I have written Obama’s name in the NHI is in this comment.
I have criticized your empathy for Gourmet Heaven as being anti-labor. I have criticized you for blaming their anti-labor policies on Harp and Unite Here as being anti-union. And this is the point. A business doesn’t pay its employees minimum wage or overtime, you blame the unions. The board of alderman doesn’t stop plans that have been well-advanced by the mayor and plans that no other BOA would have stopped and you blame the unions. Planners do not make a convincing case that a trolley would serve under-served neighborhoods and you blame the unions. You state without qualification that virtually all union members live in the suburbs without any empirical evidence to support this extreme assertion. Peter Webster makes some vague and abstract anti-union comment without discussing any particular union and you see this as legitimate. You defend it by discussing Michigan, rather than New Haven. Please, if Unite Here is not doing a good job of representing its members, then cite examples.
The reason that the progressive social movement continues to win elections and power is that they have been the most successful in engaging community leaders across the city. While others are hosting canvasses out of a select few neighborhoods, leaders in this progressive social movement are working in every neighborhood to figure out how to give voice to and engage citizens across New Haven. This is a local phenomenon that isn’t occurring in any other city in the United States. If you aren’t proud, then have the have the decency to criticize what is going on in New Haven. “Unions ruined Detroit” is the vague scare tactic that is taught in MBA classrooms across the country.
You’re absolutely correct. Unions didn’t ruin Detroit.
Greed ruined Detroit. Greed on the part of the automobile corporations, greed on the part of the politicians, and yes, greed on the part of the auto unions.
Back to the original article though. We have three candidates for Alderman in Ward 8. Peter Webster and Andy Ross have worked hard to make the neighborhood better. Both would provide a much needed independent voice on the BOA. The third candidate, Aaron Greenberg would be one more seat for the Union super-majority. I really don’t see his candidacy providing any value to Ward 8.
1. See the memo at http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/most_city_union_workers_live_out_of_town/. Regarding other unions, the leader of every single one I can recall has said on the record, that the majority of their members and their leadership lives out of town (case in point, Bob Proto, who said publicly that he now “controls” the entire Board of Aldermen).
2. It is not anti-union to point out that we are exporting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of salary each year out of the city, with many hundreds of employees taking in well over $100,000 per year, even though the typical household makes around $30,000 (and declining, due in part to budget cuts of entry-level city staff that unions agreed to so that they could pay suburban workers more).
3. It is not anti-union to question whether, perhaps the reason why the Union-backed Alders voted against 97%-funded Federal & State bus & transit improvements for New Haven (even though public testimony was overwhelmingly in favor of it) is because approximately 90% of Union members drive everywhere. It is not anti-union to point out that this is unfair, given that in many city neighborhoods, half of city residents rely on other forms of transportation.
As you admit with the municipal salary concern, it is not anti-union to point out any of these things. Even a resident without an MBA can be very pro-union, and recognize the facts about what has happened to unions in Michigan relative to other historically union-friendly states, but still question the way that union-backed officials are running this city.
Your “anti union” accusations, and the the decisions of Perez and CCNE, might come with short-term gains for a handpicked group of insiders who mostly live in the suburbs or Outer Westville. But these decisions ultimately will destroy the influence of labor at a regional and state level. That is what is of concern to the true progressive social movement here in New Haven.
If you want to write that a certain percentage of union members of a union live in the suburbs, then do so and provide a citation.
But this is not what you have done. Instead you wrote the ”CCNE/DTC/Yale Union coalition” has an “almost-entirely suburban membership.” You also stated, “While virtually all union members live in suburbs…”
These are anti-union statements. First the ”CCNE/DTC/Yale Union coalition” is not well defined. Second, even if you could meaningfully define it, you have no idea where all of the members of this coalition live. Third, writing an “almost-entirely suburban membership” is an extreme claim that has absolutely no empirical support. One cannot claim to be supportive of unions while intentionally spreading misinformation with the goal of delegitimizing them.
Next it is a fantastic leap to somehow then infer that nearly every decision the BOA makes is the product of a suburban conspiracy against New Haven. There are many reasons that the streetcar study did not get approved. I think Anstress Farwell’s description of situation in the comment section is fair. She attributed the lack of approval to “inadequate information, miscommunication, political brinkmanship, and preoccupation with other issues at the beginning of this year’s legislative calendar” (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/labor_agenda_took_time_to_craft/). Insisting without evidence but with utter certainty that the decision was due to a suburban conspiracy is anti-union and creates needless antagonism that impedes progress on transportation policy.
My guess is that you would more successfully advance your policy goals if you treated the members of the BOA as individuals who care deeply about their wards, rather than union automatons who represent interests alien to New Haven. Perhaps I’m wrong and using extreme unsupported statements to paint these individuals in least favorable light is more effective.
To be fair, there are two policies that speak directly to your concern about municipal employees and union employees living in the suburbs. These policies also are the ones that most clearly pit suburban interests against New Haven interests. The policies are: New Haven Works and the residential bonus on the Civil Service Exam. In both cases the BOA voted for policies that would benefit New Haven residents over those in the suburbs. These decisions are completely at odds with your analysis. They are not surprising if one accepts the more reasonable theory that the BOA is working in good faith to benefit its residents.
Thanks for bringing attention back to the article. Personally, I’m much more interested in what an alder intends to do with her or his voice, rather than trying to characterize it as independent.
From this article, we have seen that in an effort to appear independent, Ross jumped into the DeStefano camp on the Board of Education issue. He also placed himself at odds with most citizens who testified about this issue at the public charter revision hearings. Webster suggested a policy that would disenfranchise parents and community members from governing their schools. For me, these positions show that opposition for the sake of opposition could actually make less effective alders who do not improve policy.
I wish that candidates who claim independence is their main quality, would focus on articulating their vision for New Haven and how they credibly plan on delivering this vision. Statements such as, “I want to place a wedge in that inflexible Board of Aldermen group that moves forward at the speed of cement…” do not strike me as compelling visions of progress for the city. I don’t see how such a viewpoint solves any problem on the fronts of jobs, education, or safety.
Eddie, if those are the only two policies you can point to, then the current policy agenda is a complete failure and portends utter disaster for our city. The 30%+ unemployment in parts of New Haven is so much more about structural issues than whether or not we have a job pipeline or civil exam points for a few dozen people, most of whom may very well move to the suburbs if they are able to retain their job for more than a year. The BOA’s initiatives are about feel good press conferences for a tiny few, not solving real world problems for the majority of residents.
These are the two policies that most clearly contradict your suburban conspiracy theory. Of course the BOA has had many other policy victories that are extensively documented in the NHI. Even you have lauded some of them. For example, you consistently praise the alders’ work on illegal dirt-biking as a major victory for quality of life in New Haven.
But your comment again supports my broader point. You continue to make statements such as “most of whom may very well move to the suburbs if they are able to retain their job for more than a year.” You have never been able to support this assertion with any empirical information. If your case is so strong and with so much data at your fingertips, I cannot understand why you continue to make unsupported conjectures to diminish the effort of so many community members.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I don’t see what you are achieving by making these extreme unsupported assertions. Without empirical support, they aren’t persuasive or informative. Their unfair conclusions and implications alienate many people who are tirelessly working to improve their community. Finally, the assertions are so extreme, they unfairly attack even the proposed employment program of your favored mayoral candidate. In contrast to you, he has described the New Haven Works as an “ambitious effort” and notes that “it has the potential to provide our diverse community with a significant increase in access to opportunity.” Given that any policy requires cooperation among a fairly broad set of individuals, assertions that needlessly alienate so many will not likely advance your policy goals or solve problems in New Haven.
Eddie, first, facts: There is not a single candidate for which New Haven Works is their “employment program.” Every candidate realizes that an issue like this is more complex than marching along “job pipelines, safety and youth.”
For example, Fernandez talks about the well known problem of crime, Keno and slumlords on deterring local employment growth, and Elicker has dozens of excellent pages on affordable housing and other infrastructure.
Although some Mayor candidates may know better, the Board leaders and “UNITE” students running for office say that a pipeline is their chief accomplishment and is the solution. But we have about 8,000 unemployed residents (# is exactly the same now as it was 4 years ago) and another 4000+ who are marginally employed, usually at employers located in suburbs. Another 10thou or so people who have dropped out of looking for work altogether. What proportion of these individuals (especially the 1000s in Dixwell) will have job placements through New Haven Works? How many will remain in Dwight/Dixwell, considering frequency of moves in an area where 90% rent, and city history on worker location a few years after civil service exam points are awarded? Of the few dozen people placed, how many will still be employed full time a year later? If past history is any guide, a program like this won’t look great in terms of having any long term impact on a city where 20,000 or so need better jobs. Residents can see through the fancy PR pitches.
Meanwhile there are other things that would have a real impact, but unfortunately we have electeds like Harp and Looney who have been sending the city backwards, for example by doing nothing to stop transportation cuts and highway widening, and DTC leaders who vote against Federal and Statewide public transportation priorities.
When the pipeline started, it didn’t even have the stipulation that the director be required to live here - DeStefano had to push for that. Not exactly an auspicious start.
You have never provided a comparable program to New Haven Works, so I don’t understand how you are using history as a guide to evaluating this program. The truth is that I don’t know what proportion of the under and unemployed will ultimately gain employment through New Haven Works. I don’t know how many will stay in their current neighborhood or will move. I don’t know how many who are placed in the pilot phase will hold their jobs in the coming year. The truth is also that you have not produced any empirically supported answers to these questions either. Yet you continue to diminish this program as PR stunt without an empirical basis for doing so.
We do know that the proposed policy of your favorite mayoral candidate that is designed to provide employment opportunities for those who need them has New Haven Works as a centerpiece. We also know that over 1000 people have applied to the program, and that this number will increase after the election. This is extraordinary demand in such a short time. We also know that the major bottleneck right now is not transportation but is getting more employer participation. There clearly is a need for such a program. The program already has the support of the region’s largest employer. It is attracting more. High demand and strong initial employer support seems like a auspicious start to me. With strong mayoral support the program could scale easily.
The program is in a pilot phase and its ultimate success will be tested. But creating a program with such popularity, winning the support of the region’s largest employer, gaining large amounts of outside funding, striking two mayoral candidates as such a good idea that they make it a centerpiece in their proposed program to address unemployment in New Haven are all testaments to a policy victory for the BOA. You simply haven’t produced an empirical analysis that discredits this victory.