What Really Happened On The Green

Paul Bass Photos“Bridgeport K2” — a particularly potent variety from a formula hatched in a Pfizer pharmaceutical lab — had returned to town. Zombie-like, smokers were collapsing, vomiting, going to the hospital, then stumbling back downtown ...  to repeat the routine.

For a day or two, the New Haven Green became a scene out of the Night of the Living Dead.

It was clear something unusual, something new at least in its scope, was happening. Firefighters, cops, medics worked feverishly to save lives as people throughout the nation and beyond watched.

But it wasn’t clear what exactly had happened, why exactly crews ferried victims to the hospital from the New Haven Green more than 100 times last Wednesday and Thursday.

A clearer picture now emerges, drawn from interviews with medical workers, cops, users, and others involved in the frantic events of the past week. They want New Haven to know what really happened. Not to point fingers at those who with limited information at the time scrambled to save lives. But to help the city figure out how to prevent or to handle future episodes. Because the challenge has only begun.

Oblivion For $2

The first three bodies dropped on the Green shortly before the polls closed Tuesday night for a statewide primary election. Those three overdoses weren’t news: The fire department and AMR ambulance service will handle as many as 20 drug overdoses stretched out across any given day in New Haven.

The calls came more frequently Wednesday morning, all but a few from the Green. People were losing consciousness, falling on benches or the ground, vomiting. Eyes were rolling in the back of their heads. They were often incoherent. By a little after noon, the number had reached 22.

As word spread, the governor offered to help. The state sent extra supplies of Narcan, which is sprayed into the nostrils of opiate overdose victims to revive them.

But Narcan wasn’t reviving the victims. As cops and firefighters worked with AMR medics to transport the smokers, they gleaned that the victims had been smoking K2. Known somewhat misleadingly as “synthetic marijuana,” K2 sells for as little as $2 to $5 for a small bag.

I don’t need to go the hospital, numerous victims insisted — some, it would turn out correctly, others not. At that point, first responders had no way to know.

“We had overdoses where people died” in the past (such as this 2016 episode), noted Lt. Karl Jacobsen, who heads the police department’s narcotics and intelligence unit. “I think that creates a situation where they feel they have to transport.”

Also known as “potpourri” and “spice,” K2 has been around in various forms for years in cities like New Haven. It used to sell in convenience stores as packaged flora (grass clippings, for instance) mixed with the psychoactive chemicals. It takes many forms, as its manufacturers alter chemical ingredients to stay ahead of federal bans. Usually it contains chemicals that produce reactions to the same parts of the brain marijuana does, but at 75 to 100 times the impact.

The drug has become popular for several reasons, according to Phil Costello, a Hill Health Center nurse practitioner. As a street outreach worker to the homeless, he checks up on the users on the Green days times a week, offers medical help, hears them out, tries to steer them toward treatment if they’re amenable. The drug is cheap, Costello noted. The $2-$5 single mini-pouch with a batch like last week’s can last for repeated highs, because it takes only one hit to zonk out. Also, K2 rarely shows up in drug tests, he said. “People on parole feel it’s a drug they can get away with taking.” Because the chemical make-up varies, in effect creating a “new” drug with regularity, it’s more expensive for a company to test for it, and it often takes longer to receive results.

The police had responded in recent months to a couple of episodes of concentrated collapses like this from K2, but on a much smaller scale, according to Assistant Chief Herb Johnson.

The word on the street, according to others, was that those batches came from Bridgeport or Philadelphia.

But K2 doesn’t usually cause dozens of people within hours to drop in a public place. So officials struggled to figure out why Wednesday was different.

At least one victim did respond to a higher dose of Narcan administered intravenously at Yale-New Haven Hospital. So they theorized that maybe someone had laced the K2 with fentanyl; within hours a state Republican legislative leader was calling for stiffer criminal policies against fentanyl use as a response.

At the hospital, according to Sandy Bogucki, Yale-New Haven’s emergency services director, a couple of victims “were intubated, admitted to ICU for respiratory depression.” Some of them were treated for tachycardia and hypertension, some for vomiting. “Most were observed for variable lengths of time to confirm they remained clinically stable once resuscitated, and then discharged from the” emergency department, she said.

Patients were reviving within 15 to 90 minutes. Many simply walked out, back to the Green, lit up again — and collapsed again.

“Like A PCP High”

Roger Weeks said he was one of those return patients.

“That’s just what I do. That’s my drug of choice,” he said while sitting on a bench on the upper Green, where K2 users tend to congregate (as opposed to clusters of alcoholics and opioid users, who tend to occupy areas of the lower Green nearer to bus stops).

Weeks, who’s 55, said he started smoking pot regularly at 13. In recent years he found he liked K2 better. It’s cheaper than marijuana. And while it attacks similar parts of the brain, it produces a different kind of high.

“It’s like a PCP high,” Weeks said. “And LSD a little bit, because you have hallucinations. It’s an acquired thing; the more you do it, the more you like it.”

“Sometimes you get a freak batch, a couple of times a year,” Weeks noted. “I OD’d. It’s like Russian Roulette.”

Why did he return to the Green for more after his release from the hospital? “I didn’t feel it was that serious,” he said. “The addiction draws you back.”

M*A*S*H* Up

While first responders hustled victims to the hospital, cops gleaned from some of them the names of the distributors of what was clearly a bad batch of K2, whatever was in it. The cops recognized the alleged distributors’ names. They’d arrested these guys before for dealing K2.

By late afternoon, with the help of the probation department, they arrested one of the men near the Green. A second arrest followed.

Cops swarmed the Green, joined by late afternoon by regional and national TV news crews filing live reports. And yet ... somehow people were still obtaining and smoking K2 without being noticed, and collapsing.

The cops had forwarded a sample of recovered K2 to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA reported back by late afternoon that it contained no traces of fentanyl.

Now people were as confused than ever.

Outreach workers form Hill Health Center came on the scene to help. By evening they realized that not all of these people needed to go to the hospital, said Phil Costello.

K2, especially this kind of batch, can indeed potentially kill people, especially if they have heart problems or high blood pressure, Costello said. Also, some of them use other drugs as well, which in combination with a particularly potent dose of K2 can potentially lead to death. So those people do need to go to the hospital.

But others simply need to lie still for the half hour or hour and a half until it wears off, he said.

So when the collapses continued on the Green Thursday, albeit at a slower pace, Hill Health set up a M*A*S*H*-style triage center on the Green. Costello and others checked victims to make sure that they were breathing, that their blood pressure wasn’t dangerously high, and led some of them to cots where doctors could monitor them through recovery. But the scene on the Green was still chaotic enough that the Hill Health crew couldn’t make it to each collapse before the victims ended up on a stretcher in an ambulance.

At a City Hall press conference, Police Chief Anthony Campbell announced that it appeared that one of the two arrested alleged dealers of the bad-batch K2 was giving out samples free — in order, Campbell said, to hook new customers.

By Friday afternoon, the overdoses linked to this “Bridgeport” batch of K2 had apparently ended. Police annoucned a third arrest of a man suspected of being involved in the distribution.

Officials also finally learned from the DEA what ingredient made this K2 batch so devastating: AMB-FUBINACA. It has been found in K2 that produced similar mass collapses in other cities, as well.

Pfizer researchers developed the drug in 2009, one of several hatched in labs in the search for synthetic pain relieving drugs that could mimic the effect cannabis has on the brain. Like other similar drugs, it was never taken to market by its manufacturers. (After someone died from a trial of another synthetic cannabinoid, manufacturers may have grown skittish.) Because Pfizer trademarked AMB-FUBINACA, anyone could access its formula. An illicit chemist in, say, Mexico or China, may be able to produce K2 to distribute to a middleman in, say, Bridgeport.

In any case, once AMB-FUBINACA found its way to K2, K2 became at least 50 times more potent. As New Haven learned last week.

Health professionals debated whether “overdose” was in fact the right word for what happened to the K2 smokers, or whether “poisonings” would more accurately describe it.

Whatever the correct term, by the weekend, New Haven officials had a tally: first responders transported victims of the K2 batch to the hospital about 120 times over three days.

Here’s the kicker: Because so many had repeat visits, the total number of victims who made those trips was 47, Lt. Jacobson reported on Sunday. “When we interviewed the victims, most stated they were transported more than once, one even six times.”

According to Mayor Toni Harp, the first responders managed to reach all the victims within two minutes of their collapses.

Return To “Normal”

On Monday, officials returned to the Green, ushering around Donald Trump’s visiting drug czar, who had come to town to consult about last week’s incident. Mayor Harp spoke of a plan to have Hill Health Center open a drop-in center near the Green where overdose victims not needing hospitalization could rest and recover amid some medical supervision as well as access to drug treatment and recovery programs.

Phil Costello, meanwhile, was on his regular rounds checking up on homeless people and drug users on the Green. He was accompanied by Dr. Emily Pinto-Taylor, a Yale medical resident shadowing Costello for a two-week homeless medicine elective.

“You doing OK?” Costello asked people by name, who responded affectionately in return. “Anything I can help you with?”

Costello, who’s 55, used to work as an engineer for the Barnes Group. He made a mid-career switch in order to help people more directly. Now he’s on a mission to convince society to treat drug abuse as a disease rather than a crime. To convince users to enter treatment. And to convince everyone that K2 is serious business.

K2 is called “synthetic marijuana.” But it’s nothing like pot, he said. It has far more devastating effects on people. It’s addictive. “I’m not saying to use either drug,” he said. “But I don’t want people to use K2: It’s far more dangeorus.” And legalizing marijuana won’t help, he argued, because that’ll just jack up the price. K2 will remain cheaper.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said of last week’s zombie mini-pocalypse on the Green. “We need more info on it. How many people are doing K2 in their houses and we don’t see them collapse? We see the people down here because it’s visible.”

At the far eastern edge of the Green, across from Yale’s Phelps Gate, a man familiar to Costello from his rounds lay slumped over the edge of a bench. Costello roused him enough to get a response to “You OK?” The man said he was OK, and drooped back off to oblivion.

Costello checked his breathing. He decided the man didn’t need to go to the hospital.

“If that was the Bridgeport [batch], he probably would have fallen right off the bench,” Costello observed. “It would be hard to rouse him. He probably would have had convulsions.”

“You guys watch him?” he asked two others on the bench.

Donald Trump’s drug czar had driven off. Costello walked off, too, to check on other users.

The Green was back to normal.


Coverage of this week’s drug poisonings on the Green:

OD Toll Hits 77; Cops Arrest Suspect
Overdoses Put 911, Engine 4 To The Test
Recovery Coaches. More Cops. Moved Bus Stops?
Synthetic Cannabinoid Key Ingredient In Bad K2 Batch
Fair Haven Doctors See Lesson In K2 Poisonings
Stopping Suicide, Jesus Redeems Himself
Dozens More Overdose; What’s In That K2?
Bad K2 Went For Free
Green Proprietors On Overdoses, Drug Scene: “We Cannot Wait”
NORML: Legalization Would Have Prevented Overdoses
“Place Of Despair”?
Angel, Royce Find Refuge From Green ODs
Trump’s Drug Czar: Solutions Begin At Home

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posted by: AverageTaxpayer on August 20, 2018  8:18pm

Yes, the Green is quickly back to normal.

Active drug dealing, addicts doing drugs, litter galore, people passed out on benches or lying in the grass, and most people doing their best to avoid our embarrassment of a central park…

posted by: zampano777 on August 20, 2018  9:10pm

Thank you, Paul, for getting to more of the facts. You went very easy on the Firefighters-AMR aspect of the story, however. With 120 trips, a lot of which did not in fact, sound necessary, there is an elephant in the room, or several: firefighter overtime, and AMR greed.

I think AMR makes about $750 per trip from the New Haven Green to the YNH hospital, which is 7 or 8 blocks away? They were putting the same people back on stretchers an hour after they had walked out of the hospital on their own, from a high that lasts 30 minutes ? A high, a potent high, a high that makes you fall off of a park bench, is still a high, not an overdose.

We, the working taxpayers of New Haven and CT, pay for the AMR profits and the union overtime budgets that are killing the city and ruining it. A city run 100% by Democrats, (some of whom state before they even start their campaign, that they will respect all union collective-bargaining agreements, no debate, no problem).

We all want the firefighters and the Police to come running when we are in danger and in trouble - agreed. However - tell me this: when was the last time you saw a house on fire? Building codes and inspections have worked, and fires are quite rare. Firefighters make medical calls 79% of the time, often with the entire fire truck, which is absurd. If they did actually save some lives, that’s a good thing. But it’s a very high price to pay, to have about 80 firefighters on duty at all times, in a very small city.
AND, it’s a very strange contract with AMR to have the trained EMT’s not be able to “treat and release” but only to either not treat, or to put on a stretcher and take to the hospital. How convenient for the coffers of AMR, and how stupid, or complicit (union, BOA?), of whoever made the contract between AMR and the city.
Here’s another hard question: why can’t the firefighter SUV’s just respond and take the victims to the hospital themselves? Union rules, maybe? Please… Dig a little deeper.

posted by: Atwater on August 21, 2018  6:53am

Compassionateconservative:
EMTs have a legal requirement to transport any person to a hospital where they can receive medical treatment. That is unless the patient refuses and signs an AMA consent. As far as I know the people who were suffering from the K2 doses did not have the capacity or ability to consent to anything, so they had to be taken to a hospital. Their contract has nothing to do with how they treat patients, treatment is guided by current State and Federal law.

As for the firefighters, structure and car fires do occur. As do car accidents, shootings, and other miscellaneous injuries and calamities. The current staffing levels seem fine to me. Firefighter SUVs are not equipped for medical emergencies. If a patient codes or requires extra care, en route, the SUV cannot help. And certain laws mandate proper restraint and care of patients, en route, which make it impossible to transport injured patients in the SUVs.

Not everything is a conspiracy between Unions and the Democrats. And, don’t bash labor Unions, they’re necessary to protect workers. Unions are not the problem, they never were. Find another scapegoat.

posted by: southwest on August 21, 2018  6:53am

Probably solved on the Green. Take all the benches up and they will loiter some place else. That’s one way to help the problem of druggie hanging on the green.The man said that was his choice of drugs and he will continue to use it..So why are we using taxpayers money to save someone who don’t want to be saved and choose to continue doing drugs..

posted by: ShadowBoxer on August 21, 2018  7:40am

This is an informative article.

I would like to share two illustrative points.:

I moved to downtown New Haven in 2005, and lived there for five years before moving overseas from 2010 - 2014.  When I moved back to downtown in 2014, I was aghast at all the AMR vehicles, all over the city, engines idling, sirens blaring.  Unreal!!!!! As someone who has lived all the world, including Asia and the middle east, I had never seen such a thing.  I even contacted the Mayor and alderman, and was only successful in having the ambulances stop their polluting idling.  And from what I have read in other articles, there is no other city in the country that has higher vehicle levels for first responders.  The firetrucks are examples this largesse.  Sending all those trucks, all the time, all that equipment and personnel is literally destroying the fabric of the city.  At the Ned LaMont victory party in College Street Music Hall Tuesday night (prior to these ODS) all anyone could talk about was how they stay out of New Haven NOT because of panhandlers, or crime, but because of CONSTANT emergency response vehicles, blaring horns and sirens downtown, in sound caverns created by tall buildings.  Many times you will see patrons eating outside at Basta literally wincing and ducking, covering their ears.  Obviously we want a compassionate society, and responsive EMTcare. but the city feels like a literal war zone, 24/7.

Second, one day I returned from a business trip, was jetlagged and didn’t report to work.  Someone called in “welfare check” on me, and AMR barged down my door in my apartment and demanded to take me to the hospital.  I was fine, my vitals were fine, and I am a pretty eloquent middle aged guy versed in the law.  It was only after I called my lawyer did the technicians agree to leave my apartment.  I would really love to know what the AMR “welfare check” policy is because it felt Kafkaeque to barge into someone’s home, for no reason, and threaten to cart them away.

posted by: zampano777 on August 21, 2018  8:11am

Dear Atwater,

- So EMT’s can’t distinguish between a toe infection and a life-threatening heart condition? The law requires them to take everyone who doesn’t refuse to the hospital on a stretcher, at an exorbitant cost to the taxpayer? That’s hogwash, even if it is the law.
- As we know, the “law” is often worked out behind closed doors, after the ambulance industry lobbyists have made their campaign contributions, and unions have “bargained.”
I have a homeless friend who had a toe infection. He called 911. Firetrucks, Police, and ambulances came screaming to the Green in the middle of the night like there had been a bomb explosion. Total over-reaction. He just wanted some help with an infection.

- The dispatchers are part of the problem, obviously. First responder over-response is also a big part of the problem. I work on the Green - I have seen HUNDREDS of cases where there are 5-6 firefighters standing there, while two AMR workers load someone onto a stretcher. Plus a few cops, and usually a second AMR van, just in case: 10-12 1st responders for what? Rarely, if ever, a true emergency. Most of the time, a chronically homeless person or addict, or substance abuse disorder issue.

- Answer this - why can’t the Fire company SUV’s be equipped to transport, or to treat on the spot, and release? We need about 1/4 of the trips to the hospital - how convenient for AMR.
- Answer this: why can’t trained firefighter EMT’s administer narcan, when any passerby is allowed to, including me - (I have narcan in my office, and anyone can administer it)?
- Answer this: why isn’t there a medical clinic within a block of the Green, where parolees, patients from the hospital, addicts out of rehab, etc., are released?
You might want to look into union “bargaining” and rules. Like why you can’t get a policeman to help out at your event for an hour - you have to pay for 4 hours, which is $240. Union rules.

- I am against unions, I am against union GREED. Big difference.

posted by: WakeUPNewHayHay on August 21, 2018  8:45am

Enough is enough.

Yes the New Haven Green is for everyone but it is not for everything.

Doing synthetic drugs that make you a zombie is NOT an acceptable activity for a public space.

We need to stop having people walking round asking if people are OK and instead have police officers patrolling this area with intentions to follow through with the law.

We are enabling a population. Why will individuals change if they know no repercussions will come their way?

This is the city center. This is the symbol of the town. WAKE UP and clean up our streets.

If we don’t do something, we are accepting this for the community. I do not want this for my community.

What we need to do is move the public transportation hub to the train station. The central green should not be a drug dealing mecca.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  9:26am

posted by: compassionateconservative on August 21, 2018 9:11am

I am against unions, I am against union GREED. Big difference.

Let me ask you this.Do you use any of these Benefits?

36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union
Weekends
All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
Paid Vacation
FMLA
Sick Leave
Social Security
Minimum Wage
Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
8-Hour Work Day
Overtime Pay
Child Labor Laws
Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
40 Hour Work Week
Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp)
Unemployment Insurance
Pensions
Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
Employer Health Care Insurance
Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
Wrongful Termination Laws
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Whistleblower Protection Laws
Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
Sexual Harassment Laws
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Holiday Pay
Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
Privacy Rights
Pregnancy and Parental Leave
Military Leave
The Right to Strike
Public Education for Children
Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States

Also about union wages, benefits and contracts, every labor contract that has ever gone into effect in the United States of America has TWO signatures at the bottom, attesting that they agree to and accept all of the terms contained within: one from the union, and one from the company.No union in the US has ever gotten anything, at any time, that management did not agree to give them.

I hate the crooked Bankers And Hedge Funders who put this country into the Financial Mess we Have today.I hate Trumps Tax cuts that will benefit the rich and will kill off more of the work class.

Part One.

posted by: observer1 on August 21, 2018  9:33am

I think that everyone can agree that we need firefighters and we need cops. The disagreement is on how many and what they should do. Where I used to live, we had all the cops and all the firefighters you could ask for. All of the firefighters were paramedics and they transported patients. The city never sent a bill to anyone except the insurance company. Our taxes were very low, equipment was first rate, and the city was well managed.

Education was handled at the county level, and the fire department covered our city and the one next to us. Two cities shared the cost. The cops were just from our city. New Haven has zero creative thinking when it comes to combining services regionally, nor does it seem they have an interest. The New Haven budget is a joke and the tax rate is oppressive. In effect, big city politics, corruption by design or accident, lack of management education and/or experience, and an uninformed and uncaring electorate, are all factors which combine to produce the product which is current day New Haven.

The culture of the New Haven electorate has to change. Culture is defined as ”  a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a group of people.” Until that change takes place, every year will be a repeat of the mistakes made during the previous year. In conclusion, we need a new mayor and BOA to move us forward. They need new ideas which are both creative and based on sound economic principles. The status quo is no longer acceptable.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  9:44am

Part Two.

I hate Greedy CEOs who keep workers’ wages low.In fact CEO Pay has Skyrockets To 361 Times That Of The Average Worker.Look at wjhat this Greedy CEO makes.

The CEO of Mondelēz International, which makes Nabisco products, including Chips Ahoy, Oreos, and Ritz Crackers, makes 403 times its median employees’ pay: CEO Irene Rosenfeld received $17.3 in 2017, according to an SEC disclosure.

Top CEOs Earn More Than 300 Times What Average Workers Do, Study Finds

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/22/ceo-pay-average-workers_n_7638370.html

And this is why you need a union.

As far as AMERICAN MEDICAL RESPONSE They are across this country.and there are into Politics big time.In fact look at where there PAC money goes to.

2018 PAC Contribution Data
Contributions from this PAC to federal candidates (list recipients)
(24% to Democrats, 76% to Republicans)

https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00389585

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on August 21, 2018  10:23am

In full view from the mayor’s office at City Hall, on land surrounding three ancient historic houses of worship, on an old cemetery with monuments removed containing the bodies of up to 3,000 dead, in the shadow of Yale’s Old campus is the 380 year old Green which has been allowed to degenerate into a new haven for drug addicts and alcoholics who pose a threat to the peace, safety and security of New Haven residents and visitors to the Green.
This is a sad state of affairs for a city that appears to tolerate this degeneracy.
Surely these people need medical, psychological and moral assistance, but they should not be allowed to daily use the Green to buy and sell and use drugs and panhandle, pass out and vomit on park benches, and publicly defecate, urinate and fornicate on the grounds of this public square.
This should never be accepted as “normal,” acceptable, and tolerable behavior and conduct on the New Haven Green!
The Green should be the showcase of New Haven. It is often the place of first impressions for visitors New Haven. People from around the world come to the Green area every week. There are three churches on the Green. We hold concerts and other public events on the Green. Hundreds of businesses surround the Green. There is a public school near the Green. Yale borders the Green. The Public Library and City Hall are across from the Green. It is a hub of public transportation for young and old.
Is a New Haven Drug Haven Green the image we want the world and its residents to have of this city?

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on August 21, 2018  10:29am

Was the “Bridgeport” leitmotif in this article an attempt to sing a song that throws shade at the City of Bridgeport, while denying that New Haven has responsibility for any of this? 

The primary cords and verses played here gave New Haven the heroic sound, but that secondary motif made Bridgeport the villain. 

I guess when the publication is so committed to the city and its politics - I mean what would we do with Mayor’s Monday - it’s put under some severe restraint of being objective.  The problem with a lack of objectivity is that we fail to learn the truth about ourselves and have little to no reason to change our behavior for the better. 

Samuel T. Ross-Lee, Pastor
The Immanuel Baptist Church
New Haven, CT

posted by: Patricia Kane on August 21, 2018  10:32am

The human dramas being played out on the Green demonstrate a lack of planning and coordination of services directly attributable to the Mayor.
    Many residents were part of the initial planning stages for the establishment of a LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program that would have addressed all the issues being discussed.
    The NHI has not reported much, if anything, about Dr. Martha Okafor’s leaving, but she was key to planning for public health issues. She left and her 2nd in command did as well. Here is the link to the article in the NH Register. https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Okafor-fans-thank-her-for-work-as-head-of-New-12499805.php
    The lack of support is hinted at, but not detailed.
    It’s one thing to ignore a mandate to establish a Civilian Review Board for 4 years, but the failure to implement LEAD free of City Hall politics will literally cost lives. It has already cost people whatever faith in government remains after being lied to about the City’s finances while administrators got raises along with the Mayor. Others have detailed the many benefits she’s also realized as part of her perks.
    LEAD works, but the Mayor has not demonstrated a commitment to doing it the right way.
    I can only hope the next candidates for Mayor will convey a vision and determination that will dig New Haven out of this morass.

posted by: Atwater on August 21, 2018  10:39am

Compassionconservative:

EMTs and Paramedics are not doctors and therefore cannot diagnose any medical condition. They can treat symptoms and that’s it. I’m sure they can distinguish between a heart condition and a toe infection, but if the patient requests to be taken to a hospital they are legally obligated to take them. Also, most people with toe infections do not call 911 for treatment.

When an emergency is dispatched the first responders are not aware of the scope of the problem until they arrive on the scene. Unfortunately most EMTs, Paramedics, cops, etc. cannot see into the future. It’s that old adage, its better to have something (or someone) and not need it then need it and not have it. Believe if something happened and there was a dearth of response, the city would probably be facing lawsuits, investigations, etc.

I’m sure you could equip a SUV for patient transport and accommodate for needed staffing. But, why wouldn’t you just use an ambulance? Also, treat and release is usually not an option for a lot of patients. Drug overdoses, auto accidents, slip and falls, gunshot wounds, stabbings, high risk pregnancies, suicide attempts, heart conditions, etc. (I’m sure you can think of a lot more) all should be treated by a medical doctor, not by an EMT or paramedic.

There isn’t a medical clinic within a block of the Green because Yale wouldn’t allow it. It has nothing to do with Unions.

None of your grievances have anything to do with Unions. They have to do with laws, which are meant to protect us, the citizen, from medical negligence and malpractice. Also, to help us out of burning buildings, or to survive a heart attack or car accident.

Stories of Union greed are largely over-reported and hyped. Whereas stories of corporate greed are under reported or ignored completely. Without labor unions there would be no middle-class, no eight hour work day, etc. Threefifths already posted a very comprehensive list.

posted by: JCFremont on August 21, 2018  11:03am

I have been a member of a Union and definitely see the need for them. There is a big difference between public sector unions and the public unions that are center of these discussions. Talk to someone in the Television,  Radio or Newspaper industries. Industries change, technology intervenes, global competition etc. etc. Yes there is greed but since so many companies are wealthy on their stock price rather than their profit margins its the “stock holders” many of which are public pensions, as well as where the money from those executive compensation packages come from have become more important than the how many widgets. I often wonder while car and transportation companies are racing to implement “driver-less” vehicles. The MTA operators of Metro-North a highly subsidized private/public company can not even install safety stopping mechanisms on their trains? It’s 2018 these things should have been running themselves already.

posted by: zampano777 on August 21, 2018  11:29am

Dear Threefifths,
What I meant to write was: I am NOT against unions, but I am against union greed. I know that unions had their place, and still do in some circumstances. But the movement against union greed will not abate until unions become reasonable again.

posted by: zampano777 on August 21, 2018  11:46am

Atwater and threefifths,

I guess you conveniently forgot all the negatives that have come with unions - like teachers who are incompetent, even convicted of abuse, but still get full pay to sit in empty classrooms (New York State).
I could go on with a list of negatives and abuses as long as your list of “union accomplishments” , some of which are genuine, many of which have nothing to do with unions.
I was in a union, and I was also forced to join a union. I was appalled by the greed, by the politics, by the power grabs, by the assumption of privilege. Unions have a LONG way to go to regain credibility everywhere. Look right here in New Haven.
The overtime budget is already pegged at about $40-80,000 a week and the money is not there. Please don’t trot out the crap about being understaffed as the cause.

posted by: 1644 on August 21, 2018  12:16pm

JCFREMONT: It’s not as if the private sector has done a great job running mass transit.  I recall the Connecticut Company strike, when wages a wage dispute between Gengras and the workers pushed the Connecticut Company out of business, and CT Transit was born.  Metro-North took over for ConRail. which was subsidized, which took over for PennCentral, which had gone bankrupt, in part due to labor inflexibility.

posted by: 1644 on August 21, 2018  12:41pm

3/5’s Public education predates unions by centuries.  We have public education because our founders were radical Protestants who believed that one must read the Bible to understand the will of God.  School Societies grew out of Churches and Ecclesiastical Societies, and into Boards of Education.  In general, Calvinist areas, such as Presbyterian Scotland and New Jersey, and Congregationalist New England, have long had solid public schools.

posted by: 1644 on August 21, 2018  12:54pm

3/5’s: On publicly funded schools: http://archive.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/11/27/schools_vie_for_honor_of_being_the_oldest/

BTW, military leave is statutory, and a duty the government imposes on employers for the national defense.  Getting paid one’s civilian wage while on military duty, however, is pretty much limited to union jobs, and there almost only to government union jobs.  NYS has an extremely generous military leave policy, where state employees can collect collect their civilian wage while serving on military duty (in addition to their military wage).

posted by: Atwater on August 21, 2018  1:35pm

1644: All those companies went out of business because of labor inflexibility? Sure, it couldn’t have been due to poor management and bad business decisions, or due to changing trends in transportation. Blame labor, they’re always a convenient scapegoat.

I’m not sure how this turned into labor debate. But, it is absolutely absurd to take what happened last week on the Green and use it to disavow and demean labor unions, or Firefighters, EMTs, etc. Stop looking to blame other working people for the problems created by the people in power. Drug addiction, unemployment, tax hikes, municipal mismanagement, they’re all symptoms of a diseased socio-economic system (micro and macro), they’re all caused by the people that run the system and who profit from it.

posted by: SparkJames on August 21, 2018  2:17pm

You and Dick Blumenthal are underestimating chemists right here in the good ol’ USA. Sure, China. Plenty of good chemicals there… but no Mexico BS, please.

I

posted by: SparkJames on August 21, 2018  2:21pm

Hey why not address POVERTY.

posted by: 1644 on August 21, 2018  3:03pm

Atwater:  Obviously, you missed the “in part” part of my comment.  Of course their were other causes, but the rail industry was, and, on the government run passenger side, is, famous for featherbedding.  Labor contracts insetting on retaining positions like brakeman long after technology had made them redundant.
  As for the drug use on the Green, I believe everyone has free will.  No one “in power” forced those people to smoke that K2, or to do the other drugs they do.  Yes, some are addicts, and now lack free will,  but that addiction is itself a result of free choices they made to use drugs which are well known to be addictive. Note, many addicts are famously wealthy, and many of those on the Green come from privileged backgrounds.  So, poverty cannot be the reason they are addicts.  They are addicts because they chose to use addictive drugs.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  3:59pm

posted by: compassionateconservative on August 21, 2018 12:29pm

Dear Threefifths,
What I meant to write was: I am NOT against unions, but I am against union greed.

You keep saying union greed.Show me.

posted by: compassionateconservative on August 21, 2018 12:46pm

Atwater and threefifths,

I guess you conveniently forgot all the negatives that have come with unions - like teachers who are incompetent, even convicted of abuse, but still get full pay to sit in empty classrooms (New York State).

If they were convicted of abuse.They wold not have a job.In fact one of the reason why they stay on the payroll in abuse cases is that Students lie like this one did.

Student admits making up abuse allegations to get teacher fired.

The educator, whose identity was not released, said what he went through has been a “terrible ordeal.”
“After 40 years as a teacher, and 27 years at this school, I was dismissed within a few days of the allegations being made — allegations which have now been shown to be false, and deliberately made to get me fired,” the man said, the site reported.The Auckland, New Zealand, teacher had been on trial for seven charges of indecent assault for inappropriately touching three 11-year-old girls in his class, But during cross-examination in court, one of the students admitted she lied about what she told cops.She stated that the teacher had touched her, but revealed that she lied about seeing the teacher assault any other student, the report said.

https://nypost.com/2018/04/06/student-admits-making-up-abuse-allegations-to-get-teacher-fired/

In fact this happens all the time.

posted by: compassionateconservative on August 21, 2018 12:29pm

But the movement against union greed will not abate until unions become reasonable again.

How about the staggering pay gap between CEOs and their workers.

https://nypost.com/2018/05/18/fortune-500-ceos-are-paid-up-to-5000-times-more-than-their-employees/

Part One.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  4:13pm

Part two.

look at this Greedy.
Jeff Bezos made 1.2 million times the median Amazon employee in 2017. Last year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s net worth ballooned by $35.1 billion.

Do you know how much a Amazon employee makes?

The average salary for software engineers at Amazon is north of $100,000, according to data from Pay Scale, a salary comparison service. By comparison, a full-time warehouse associate at one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in New Jersey could make as much as $13.85 per hour, according to a current job posting.Apr 19, 2018

The typical Amazon employee makes less than you think - CNN Money

https://money.cnn.com/2018/04/19/technology/amazon-employee-salary/index.html

The Blame needs to go to management who must must bargain in good faith at the table.Not lie like they do at the table.

posted by: 1644 on August 21, 2018  5:37pm

3/5’s. Sounds to me that the moral of the story, including for those on the Green, is pay attention in school, and study something marketable.

posted by: zampano777 on August 21, 2018  5:58pm

Threefifths,

If you can’t see that union collective bargaining agreements have sunk CT’s budget and New haven’s budget (the overtime for firefighters BEFORE the Green debacle was approaching $40,000 a week, or was it $80,000?) No-one cares, because the unions will get their overtime pay, even if the money does not exist. And by the way, there are HUNDREDS of union teachers who are incompetent, judged objectively by the results they cannot produce, who are sitting around getting paid full wages for no work - and there are MANY documented cases of abuse, as you well know, but no-one gets fired, EVER! Union contract!

If you can’t see, or hear, and if you can only defend everything union, then this “debate” is over. You go on and on about the yes - obscene - gap between CEO pay at private corp’s, but you have nothing to say about the equally obscene difference in pay, benefits, pensions, cost-of-living increases, etc., that are ALWAYS about double what the average non-union american worker makes.

Plus in the case of city, state and federal unions, it’s the taxpayer who foots the bill… YOU, I suppose, and me.
Why do you think the CT unions were able to “give back” $1.5 billion when Malloy was on his knees? Because the unions are powerful, rich, and corrupt. Try to touch a union benefit or contract, just try.
Like I said, I am not against unions in principle, I am against union GREED, and so are many, many millions of clear-eyed Americans, apparently.
Democrats and liberals just can’t see it, just like Republicans and arch-conservatives can’t see the stupidity of not having gun controls.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  10:14pm

posted by: compassionateconservative on August 21, 2018 6:58pm

Threefifths,

If you can’t see that union collective bargaining agreements have sunk CT’s budget and New haven’s budget
Let us take a look at what collective bargaining agreements mean.

Collective bargaining is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more.

Notice the word negotiate.Professional sports use Collective bargaining.Do not those greedy CEO’S negotiate contracts?In 1935, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), legislation that first established the basic rights of private sector employers and employees to fairly and peaceably resolve labor disputes. The NLRA sets the ground rules for collective bargaining.Again all Collective bargaining is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers


If you can’t see, or hear, and if you can only defend everything union, then this “debate” is over. You go on and on about the yes - obscene - gap between CEO pay at private corp’s, but you have nothing to say about the equally obscene difference in pay, benefits, pensions, cost-of-living increases, etc., that are ALWAYS about double what the average non-union american worker makes.

But does not the non-union american worker to form a union to fight fro the same Benefits as union workers?Last I look they can.in fact any one can form a union by Law.

Plus in the case of city, state and federal unions, it’s the taxpayer who foots the bill…

Last I looked union workers are taxpayers to.In fact I get a 1099 and a W2 form at the end of the year.

Part One.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  10:33pm

Part two

You keep saying about the overtime.Did you know that they have found when it comes to over time.It is cheaper to pay the overtime.Then to hire more workers.In fact studies back this up.You talk about the pension.But as I always say Follow the New York City and State Pension Model and you will not have any problem.

Again.My question to all who think like you.How come you do not fight for the same benefits on your jobs?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2018  10:41pm

posted by: 1644 on August 21, 2018 6:37pm

3/5’s. Sounds to me that the moral of the story, including for those on the Green, is pay attention in school, and study something marketable.

Some of the some of the biggest drug user are Collage Educated wall street workers.

Addiction on Wall Street

While popular culture teems with images of the coke-snorting Wall Street hot shot, the reality these days is as grim as a Florida pill mill. Like millions in society’s addicted class, hedgies are hooked on prescription pain killers.

https://www.thefix.com/content/wall-street-addiction-finance-cocaine-meltdown7456


They get to go places like here.

Betty Ford Center Drug Rehab in Rancho Mirage, California

https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/locations/betty-ford-center-rancho-mirage


And when they get out a job if waiting for them.

posted by: TheMadcap on August 21, 2018  11:06pm

“nd there are MANY documented cases of abuse,”

Well, we’re waiting. Go n and list these these documented teachers

posted by: opin1 on August 21, 2018  11:13pm

I think unions are overall good and necessary. But I feel they are much more necessary in the private sector. There, they are negotiating their wages/benefits with corporations who’s goal is to maximize profits. And very often there is corporate greed where executives are paid excessively. The combination of these things makes unions absolutely necessary to stand up for the rights of the average worker.

However, in the public sector unions are less necessary and in fact may cause more problems than they’re worth. Who are unions in the public sector negotiating against? ... taxpayers.

In the private sector, unions are trying to squeeze a better living from companies like Amazon, Walmart, Disney, etc. That makes a lot of sense as these companies are powerful, highly profitable, and motivated by improving profits. Corporate greed exists and executives are taking massive paychecks.

In the public sector (here in CT and in New Haven), unions negotiate for benefits that aren’t even attainable at those highly profitable corporations. Full salary for life after 25 years of working?!  go to try and find that in the private sector. Then the unions use their power in numbers to get public officials into office (look at our BOA). That creates a huge conflict of interest because elected officials are supposed to represent the best interest of their consituents, not unions.

posted by: NHPLEB on August 22, 2018  4:25am

@ compassionate conservative:  your friend who called 911 for a toe infection should be arrested for calling in a false emergency call.  911 is for emergency situations;  not a sore toe.  Your compassion is misplaced .  I also knew people on welfare,  who know ALL THEIR RIGHTS,  who used to call 911 for a sore throat.  They would be transported to the HOSPITAL on the taxpayer’s dime,  rather than find a way to get to a health clinic or walkin medical place.

Plenty of money is wasted on everything and everyone knows it.  All taxpayers want is to cut the waste , abuse, and fraud.  But we can’t get that.  Everything will have to collapse first.

posted by: 1644 on August 22, 2018  7:31am

Madcap:  NYC’s rubber rooms have been well-publicized:
https://nypost.com/2016/01/17/city-pays-exiled-teachers-to-snooze-as-rubber-rooms-return/
You may, also, search “Denise Farina” for a Branford Eagle story of the lengthy process involved in firing an obviously incompetent teacher.  The entire process likely cost the BoE $300K, including paying her pay even though she was not in the classroom.  Part of the blame lies with the union contracts “just cause” requirements, parts with statutory protections (supported and defended by the union). 
  Bad teachers, of course, just lead to uneducated kids.  Bad cops can be more dangerous, yet union and statutory protections keep dangerous cops on the job, too.  You can, of course, read about the state arbitrators who over-ruled the firing of a Danbury cop who threatened to beat an illegal alien just for being here illegally.

posted by: 1644 on August 22, 2018  7:45am

Some rubber nom background:
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/08/31/the-rubber-room

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 22, 2018  8:44am

posted by: opin1 on August 22, 2018 12:13am

I think unions are overall good and necessary. But I feel they are much more necessary in the private sector. There, they are negotiating their wages/benefits with corporations who’s goal is to maximize profits. And very often there is corporate greed where executives are paid excessively. The combination of these things makes unions absolutely necessary to stand up for the rights of the average worker.

However, in the public sector unions are less necessary and in fact may cause more problems than they’re worth. Who are unions in the public sector negotiating against? ... taxpayers.

Not true that public sector unions are not need it.One of the reason why public sector unions came about was The Spoils System called the Patronage System,Which was an arrangement that employed and promoted civil servants who were friends and supporters of the political group in power. the good thing about the public sector is everyone must take a written tests to move up.which by the way the union made that happen.The private sector to move up is most of the time use the Spoils System .

Again public sector workers pay taxes to.I get every year a 1099 and a W2.last all Public employee unions do is focus primarily on strengthening workers’ rights and working conditions, securing fair wages, buying domestically produced goods, guaranteeing workers’ safety and eliminating corporations’ abuse of their employees.

However, in the public sector unions are less necessary and in fact may cause more problems than they’re worth. Who are unions in the public sector negotiating against? ... taxpayers.

How is that?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 22, 2018  9:16am

@ 1644

I know about the Rubber Room.I had family who were put there.The teachers in the rubber room were accused of misconduct.Notice the word accused of misconduct.They were put while awaiting resolution of their cases. the problem became when by law Arbitrators have 30 days to file their rulings after completing termination trials simply abandoned the cases.So not the clock starts over.That is why you had teachers who again was accused of misconduct.waiting some times up to seven years for a hearing.Also you had Principals use the rubber room as to get rid of teachers they did not like or even some teachers who would not as we say hop in the sack with them.In fact one Principal cost the city $500,000 in settlements by doing just that.

Bad teachers, of course, just lead to uneducated kids.  Bad cops can be more dangerous, yet union and statutory protections keep dangerous cops on the job, too.  You can, of course, read about the state arbitrators who over-ruled the firing of a Danbury cop who threatened to beat an illegal alien just for being here illegally.

Me and you always speak on this.All the union does when it comes to so call bad cops is supply lawyers for Due Process.The blame should not go to the union.The blame must go to the jury and the arbitrators who hear the cases and make there decision.In fact the major of people are pro police.

Part of the blame lies with the union contracts “just cause” requirements, parts with statutory protections (supported and defended by the union). 

Last I look.“just cause” requirements mean this.

Labor union contracts. The standard of just cause provides important protections against arbitrary or unfair termination and other forms of inappropriate workplace discipline. ... In the workplace, just cause is a burden of proof or standard that an employer must meet to justify discipline or discharge.

And what is work with this?

posted by: TheMadcap on August 22, 2018  9:18am

“Who are unions in the public sector negotiating against? ... taxpayers”

I feel like if anything this makes them more necessary.

“yet union and statutory protections keep dangerous cops on the job, too.”

No argument here, from my own job I can see how hard it is to let go of unionized employees. But it’s not because of union love of terrible employees, I know my own shop steward would like to get rid of many if possible. The union however basically has to act as a public defender, everyone is defended regardless of what they did(or didn’t do)

posted by: opin1 on August 22, 2018  11:36am

@madcap - you think its more necessary to squeeze money out of taxpayers than out of profitable corporations like Amazon?  City governments aren’t in business to maximize profits. And don’t have CEO’s making billions (even though Harp would like that lol).  I disagree.

@3/5 “last all Public employee unions do is focus primarily on strengthening workers’ rights and working conditions, securing fair wages, buying domestically produced goods, guaranteeing workers’ safety and eliminating corporations’ abuse of their employees.”  - how do *public* employee unions eliminate *corporations* abuse of their employees?  public unions represent state and local goverment employees not corporations. I agree unions are great in the private sector. 

You asked “How is that?” that public unions are negotiating against taxpayers?  - Because taxpayers are paying for the salaries and benefits of public union employees. The unions negotiate contracts with goverment officials. The revenue to pay for services comes from taxpayers.  So if a public union negotiates a benefit such as full salary in retirement, its taxpayers that pay for that.

posted by: JCFremont on August 22, 2018  2:04pm

@1644. I chose Railroads just because at one time they where a top industry in America. I was using the advance in technology highways parralel tracks, early aviators followed them threatened and changed there bottom line. The money continue to be made in freight. Mass Transit has always been a dog for investors, as I noted ask the newspaper guilds and the Television technical unions how they are fareing.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 22, 2018  4:55pm

posted by: opin1 on August 22, 2018 12:36pm

@3/5 “last all Public employee unions do is focus primarily on strengthening workers’ rights and working conditions, securing fair wages, buying domestically produced goods, guaranteeing workers’ safety and eliminating corporations’ abuse of their employees.”  - how do *public* employee unions eliminate *corporations* abuse of their employees?

What do you mean by corporations* abuse of their employees?

You asked “How is that?” that public unions are negotiating against taxpayers?  - Because taxpayers are paying for the salaries and benefits of public union employees. The unions negotiate contracts with goverment officials. The revenue to pay for services comes from taxpayers.  So if a public union negotiates a benefit such as full salary in retirement, its taxpayers that pay for that.

Last I read.Public Sector workers.are city and state employees and Taxpayers pay for a service.As far as So if a public union negotiates a benefit such as full salary in retirement, its taxpayers that pay for that.True.So your point?

posted by: Five Fifths on August 22, 2018  7:33pm

Someone should print up some “New Haven Green K2 Fun Run” T-shirts and make a mint.