Barber, Plumber Rule Out Mayoral Runs

Darryl Minchenko will not run for mayor this year. Period. He’s too busy raising money for a higher purpose—indoor mini-golf.

Minchenko, a Henry Street resident who runs D Barber Shop on Whalley Avenue, was definitive in his announcement.

So were at least four other males and one female interviewed by the Independent. Click on the play arrow to watch some of them undeclare their candidacies.

An estimated 60,000 males and at least one female are are at least “considering” considering running for mayor this year now that incumbent Mayor John DeStefano is stepping down after 20 years in office. Elected officials. Unelected officials. Government workers. Former government workers. A plumber. A fireman. You name it—their friends, their spouses, their coworkers, heck, people out on the street have given them no choice. “You should run for mayor!” the people are telling them. Who has the right to dismiss the voice of the people? So they’re weighing the pros and cons.

But not Minchenko. “I can’t run for mayor,” he explained Wednesday inside his busy shop. “It would take up too much of my time.” Minchenko, who’s 46, invented the world’s first indoor miniature golf game, he said. He went to China to get the manufacturing process started. Now he’s trying to rustle up some financial backing to take his “Soft-Toss Universal Golf” invention into the retail big leagues. Click on the play arrow to watch the back story; call him at 203-996-0452 if you know someone interested in teeing up some bucks. But don’t call that number if you’re lucking for a successor to Mayor DeStefano.

Paul Bass PhotoDon’t bothering calling Pete Gass, either. He did seriously consider a run, he revealed. “When all that shooting was going on, I lost a lot of friends,” said Gass, a 27-year-old plumber who until recently lived in Church Street South. “It made me feel like there was nothing being done.” He ultimately decided a campaign would involve “too much work” for now. He moved to Hamden a few months ago, He plans to move back to New Haven in the future and perhaps seek the mayor’s job then. “If you’re going to run for an area,” he reasoned, “live there.”

Lifelong Democrat John Britt, a 60-year-old retired mechanic, was on Sylvan Avenue Thursday morning waiting for a bus, not pressing the flesh. He ruled out a run categorically. He didn’t cite “family obligations” as an excuse. He cited the responsibilities that go with the job. “Not worth the headaches,” he explained.

Yale custodian Rick Pendergrass, 51, sure sounded like a candidate as he made a Walgreen’s stop. He said New Haven needs a new mayor who will focus more on creating jobs. And candidates should tell the truth about our rotten tax system, Pendergrass declared: “We have this corporate greed thing going on. We have a bunch of rich people that are keeping all the money, hiding it in the Cayman Islands, not creating jobs like they promised ... We live in a country where only the elite get paid. We have been told by the Republican Party that if we raise taxes on the job creators, they can’t create job. And yet taxes have been historically low for the years. My question is: Where are the jobs?” Despite his concern, he has never considered running for mayor, Pendergrass revealed. Never has. And he has no plans to start now. No matter who asks him. (No one has.) “I won’t run,” he declared, leaving no wiggle room.

Allen Reynolds admitted he dreamed as a kid of running for mayor. He’s 43 now, living on social security. And he has long given up on that dream. “I would settle for any position that pays decent income” except the one on the second floor of 165 Church St. Reynolds said he has found a way to do his part to try to make New Haven better: He regularly pulls weeds out of the grass in public spaces in Newhallville and Fair Haven.

It never occurred to 58-year-old certified nurse assistant Ana Dones to run for mayor. She heard a woman is considering a run this year, as well as a man with a Spanish-sounding surname. She wants to learn more—and keep out of the race herself. To do the job, she said, “you need to know what you’re going to deal with.” And some people recognize that they don’t.

Ian Applegate animated the ID-tag outro to the video at the top of the story.

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posted by: Curious on March 7, 2013  5:36pm

I am 100% supportive of…indoor mini-golf.


posted by: darnell on March 7, 2013  6:00pm

LMAO….Like half of New Haven, I haven’t ruled it out yet!!!

posted by: robn on March 7, 2013  7:12pm

If I announce my candidacy for mayor…please kill me…please.

posted by: P Christopher Ozyck on March 7, 2013  8:19pm

Has anyone asked Paul Bass to run ?  He seems to be the most interested non candidate in town.  Thanks for the detailed reporting , fewer people feel outside “the know”.

posted by: Brian McGrath on March 7, 2013  9:12pm

Darnell—you bum! I was NOT running for Mayor long before you were not running! My platform for NOT running is better than yours. Of that there
is no doubt.

posted by: HhE on March 7, 2013  9:37pm

Okay robn, but I’m going to vote for you too.

posted by: Wildwest on March 8, 2013  8:57am

Out of the 60,000 or so considering the run for mayor I wonder how many lean to the right even slightly

posted by: streever on March 8, 2013  9:24am

too few to have a functional republican party ;-)

This is a great series. Thanks Paul!

posted by: robn on March 8, 2013  9:39am


Do you mean right of Che Guevara?

posted by: alluneedtoknow on March 8, 2013  9:57am

I have to say people don’t make any sense.  The man talking about being lied to about taxes and the rich needs to pay more. First I am not anywhere close to rich.  But they pay most of the tax in America.  The problem in this country is we have become dependent on Government.  Everybody wants a handout.  People need to work get off their butts stop collecting ssi when they are in their 20’s and get a job.  If i were to run for mayor you would love me or hate my guts.  We are struggling but crime would go down.  I would bring back the ball and chain and make people work to pay off their crime.  We need to stop babying people and man up.  I will let the police do their jobs.  We need to get back to work and stop sticking our hands out. love me or hate me but thats the truth.

posted by: HhE on March 8, 2013  10:05am

Wildwest, streever, and robn, maybe if we had not criminalized the GOP.  Thanks for bring me a smile.

posted by: robn on March 8, 2013  10:17am


If I were mayor (which I won’t be because I’m not running) I would give everybody a pony…except for bad people who would be put in stocks on the Green and have horse manure thrown at them by filthy peasants..uhhm, I mean by their fellow upstanding citizens.

posted by: Wildwest on March 8, 2013  10:25am

OMG alluneedtoknow, you must not realize that the super rich you speak of take way more money from the govt/citizens in the form of subsidies than the poor take. please tell me you know this!

we need a mayor who has not one corrupt bone in their body. a mayor that can be fiscally responsible would be a start.

posted by: Wildwest on March 8, 2013  10:55am

Streever- sometimes you have too many to be functional as well. New ideas are needed in this region.

posted by: streever on March 8, 2013  3:21pm

If wishes were fishes, the sea would be full!

posted by: Anstress Farwell on March 8, 2013  3:29pm

Hi Robn -

I misread your comment the first time and thought you were specifying “filthy pessimists” to do the dirty deed, as is their wont. They are the experts in this kind of endeavor, after all.

posted by: Stephen Harris on March 8, 2013  5:47pm

Stocks on the Green. I bet Dick Cheney likes that ide.

posted by: robn on March 9, 2013  9:09am


Dick Cheney would probably freshen up the idea a bit and add electrical shocks, or maybe a hinge that would flip the stocks over and dunk them under water.
I’m kindof a traditionalist. Hey maybe ill run for Supreme Court justice!

posted by: parejkoj on March 9, 2013  3:15pm

If nominated I won’t run.

If elected I won’t serve.

And if I serve, I won’t enjoy it.

(apologies to Walt Kelly)

posted by: The Miz on March 11, 2013  2:45pm

I’m sorry but what is the point of this article?