Carolina Steps Up His Game At Youth Debate

Paul Bass Photo(News analysis) Six men who want to lead New Haven tackled “youth” issues Monday night—without uttering the name of a single young person.

Henry Fernandez, Sundiata Keitazulu, Kermit Carolina and Justin Elicker did mention attending funerals. Fernandez and Carolina and Matthew Nemerson talked about having kids.

But all six chose to jettison one of the bedrock rules of modern political debating—talk about ideas that matter by telling stories about real people whose lives are affected, whose experiences voters can relate to.

The six candidates for the Democratic nomination for mayor participated in a youth forum at the Boys & Girls Club sponsored by the New Haven Register. (A seventh candidate, state Sen. Toni Harp, didn’t make it.) The event drew hundreds to the club’s gym. Scroll down in the story for a blow-by-blow live blog by the Independent.

The participants included state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, former Chamber of Commerce President Nemerson, former city development chief Fernandez, Alderman Elicker, plumber Keitazulu, and Hillhouse High School Principal Carolina. Click here to read about their previous debate.

Personal stories aside, the debate did reveal some differing opinions or at least emphases among the candidates.

Carolina, who showed the most passion in the debate (and looked more comfortable than in his previous appearance), called for police to “harass” the small minority of violent troublemakers and kids hanging out with them in rough spots on the street at night. Fernandez shot back by invoking the notorious police “Beat Down Posse” of the 1980s and decrying “stop and frisk” law enforcement.

Nemerson broke from the pack by repeatedly refusing to promise a new citywide string of neighborhood youth centers. He said New Haven has underused beautiful school buildings that should house programs; and he said that rather than replicate youth programs in each neighborhood, a budget-strapped city should concentrate its resources on fewer outlets to which kids from different neighborhoods could travel.

Next debate: Sunday at 4 p.m. at Davis Street School, on economic development issues. The full account of Monday night’s debate follows.

6:34 p.m. Everyone (minus Toni Harp) is here. The gym is filing up—four rows of about 80 chairs, plus the bleachers. Other campaigns have tried to score points for Harp’s absence; she has made a credible case that as co-chair of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, she can’t miss crucial end-of-session meetings where hundreds of millions of dollars may be at stake. The Boys & Girls Club’s Stephanie Barnes is welcoming folks now. “This is an opportunity for youth voices to be heard here in New Haven,” she says.

6:39 p.m. The questions are all coming from young people tonight.

6:41 p.m. Candidate intros. Kermit Carolina says that “like many of you young people,” he has experienced poverty, feeling peer pressure, worrying about violence. “I have spent my entire adult life trying to change conditions for young people.” He quotes a rapper (sorry, missed the reference; I know it wasn’t Bob Dylan) to describe why he’s different from the other candidates: “boots on the ground—I’ve been in the trenches the last 20 years.” Carolina has the most to gain tonight—as a principal and former basketball coach and New Haven native, he has a potentially sympathetic audience to connect to and highlight what he brings to the race. Justin Elicker sets up a straw man: Some unidentified people claimed no one would come to this debate, because young people don’t vote. He knew better! Word.

6:45 p.m. Looks like about 200 people here. Henry Fernandez speaks of how he helped start LEAP; elicits some yelps from LEAPies in the hall. “in this election, we’re going to decide things like whether we have after-school programs” and “have great schools” and summer jobs.

6:48 p.m. Unlike the three before him, Gary Holder-Winfield stays at the table and speaks in the mic instead of walking up to crowd Oprah/Bill Clinton-style. Like the others, he seeks to create a personal connection to the crowd: He speaks of struggling as a kid in the South Bronx, where his mom pretended he lived somewhere else so he could go to a better school. Sundiata Keitazulu (who also grew up here, like Carolina) promises a teen center in every neighborhood. “I had a son that got killed in this city. Nobody can tell me how that feels,” he says.

6:51 p.m. Matthew Nemerson has the final slot for intros. He’s reading from a printout. He “levels” with the kids: “All the youth programs we have are great. Why can’t we hold them in our beautiful” existing school buildings? He’s the only one so far to admit you can’t just promise stuff to people: He mentions that the city won’t have a lot of money to pay for everything we want. I think he’s suggesting that rather than build new teen centers, make use of those expensive new school buildings. The city claimed it was going to do that with a robust after-school teen rec program in all the neighborhoods’ schools. Never took off.

6:55 p.m. Fielding a question about tight budgets, Carolina directly rebuts Nemerson: “Hillhouse is not empty in the afternoons. Hillhouse is filled with after-school activities” like clubs and sports teams. “... I’m walking the walk.” That’s clearly his theme for the night: They talk. I walk. Carolina then proposed a youth council to help advise him as mayor. He talks about a summer basketball camp (including academics) he ran for “20 summers” for kids in poor neighborhoods, busing kids in to West Rock; with 100 jobs for older teens to serve as “mentors.”

6:59 p.m. Fernandez takes a slap at his former boss in City Hall, part of the tightrope he’s walking in this campaign between stressing his government service and distinguishing himself from the 20-year incumbent: “The Q House closed—and the leadership of this city didn’t solve that problem. Trowbridge Youth Center closed, and the leadership of the city didn’t step up. Latino Youth closed ...” Fair point, though there was also some serious responsibility on the part of community people who failed to keep the Q House afloat. It was too easy to blame it all on City Hall.

7:06 p.m. Nemerson is seeking a larger audience here—not just the kids. He’s clearly seeking to establish him as the adult in the room by speaking “honestly” by not just saying yes to every idea. “I believe in kids. I also believe in families,” he says, suggesting that the best results come from stable households with employed parents. “Maybe we can’t have a youth center in every neighborhood,” he states, suggesting that “moving people around” from different neighborhoods could enable people to “get to know each other” and have well-run places to go.

7:12 p.m. Since Nemerson’s comment ending the first round of questioning, each of the candidates is following up with an effort to state that he, too, recognizes we have limited money and have to make choices—but also to say they consider youth programs a top priority, a way to cut crime or create jobs, etc.

“We have beautiful schools. We should be using them more. They’re going unused—not in the case of Hillhouse,” Nemerson repeats.

7:15 p.m. Second question: How will you reduce crime?

Amid vague “hope” comments, Nemerson raises in passing another underused-building point: Why aren’t we using all those police substations more? (A theme—school buildings, substations can be used more.)

All the candidates are relying on vague general themes—jobs, opportunity, hope, more youth activities. The tough questions are what can we pay for, how; how do we strengthen families, how do we create these jobs? What went wrong with the Q House (beyond just blaming one side or another) to prevent it from rising again? What won’t you spend money on? Nemerson’s coming the closest by suggesting (I think) that instead of building new centers, he’d make use of existing buildings, and not try to replicate the same youth program in each neighborhood. This is a big debate now in town: the Board of Aldermen has a special group trying to figure out how to bring back the opportunities that Trowbridge, the Q, Latino Youth used to provide. They’ve raised the right question. The answer won’t be to open 12 new centers, I think—because they also cost money to keep going.

“Police need not be an occupying force in the community” who hit “you upside the head”: Holder-Winfield gets applause of recognition from the crowd for that one. Several others have been making a point of applauding the return of community policing to New Haven over the past year—while of course saying they want to do better.

Tell Me A Story?

7:23 p.m. It’s about 40 minutes into this debate, and a candidate has only now told the first human story. Sort of. Fernandez talks about the first funeral he went to for a LEAP kid. However he doesn’t name the kid. He doesn’t describe the funeral. He doesn’t say how the kid died. He doesn’t draw a lesson from the story except to say that’s why this all matters. Earth to candidates: Public policy arises from the real-life experiences of real people. Real stories are why issues matter. And voters/listeners care more when you can tell a real story about a real person to make your point. That’s talking up, not down, to your audience.

7:27 p.m. Looks like Kermit Carolina already got the memo. He talks about two kids—his 13 and 16-year-old sons—and how he hugs them every morning because he worries about them. Not an amazing story. But it’s a start.

Now Carolina’s getting worked up, with results from the crowd. “Less than 1 percent” of the community are responsible for the violence in New Haven and “hide among us like terrorists,” he says. “We know who they are. They police know who they are.” Instead of “chasing the nickel-and-dime drug dealers,” “go after” the gun dealers. He wants police to “harass” kids hanging out late at night with drug dealers.

7:30 p.m. Question: Have you ever heard gunshots in your backyard? Yes, says Carolina, and “I’ve stood next to people who have been shot.” Then he blasts the cops for shooting at the gun range near his school during the day—calls it disrespect. Carolina has become the most animated speaker in this debate; he’s more relaxed than in the previous debate.

7:34 p.m. Fernandez shoots back at Carolina: “I don’t feel comfortable with the police harassing people.” Before he had grey hair, he used to get “stopped and frisked” by city cops here. “It was humiliating. It was painful. ... I never want to go back to a time when we have the Beat-Down Posse.” That’s a reference to a pre-community policing crew of city cops who in the 1980s would stop randomly at high-crime corners and attack young men. (No joke.)  Fernandez delivers the lines calmly. Carolina’s the only candidate so far showing passion.

How Will You Green New Haven?

7:45 p.m. Elicker calls for more bike lanes to help “green” New Haven. (As a bike rider, I find them useless, or even counterproductive, unless they can be separated from car traffic.) He also promises to fund a full-time city green coordinator again, a position that was defunded. He says the city can pay for itself by finding energy cost savings.

7:47 p.m. Fernandez recalls the time a “bunch of rich people” wanted to restart English Station, a dirty power plant in a neighborhood already with high asthma rates. He did that when he was the city’s economic development chief; he battled his predecessor, Sal Brancati, who was hired by the people trying (unsuccessfully) to restart the plant with dirty power and a “promise” to burn cleaner later on once they made money. Today he wants an “aggressive program” to clean up old junkyards that are “leeching pollutants.”

7:49 p.m. The mayor doesn’t “need to know everything,” Holder-Winfield says. He admits he doesn’t know everything about how to “green a city.” He says he’ll be good at listening to people who know the answers. He has seen cars driving 75 miles per hour outside his house on Winchester Avenue; slowing down the traffic can do as much as bike lanes, he says. (I’m trying to figure out if that’s a shot at Elicker, and if so, why.)

7:53 p.m. “I think the parks department does an OK job. In other cities they do a better job,” Nemerson says. He’s tougher on sanitation workers: They leave too much trash on the streets, he says. He wants more two-, three-, four-story buildings on Whalley Avenue to “build density.” No permission for new Walgreens-style stores without upper stories. Greater density, cleaner environment.

He seems to like bike lanes too. I’ve found they confuse the drivers more than before (thinking if there’s no bike lane on a street, they should honk you onto the sidewalk), while not really clearing the path of parked cars or car-door-openers.

Carolina calls for “holding slumlords accountable” for lead paint.

7:56 p.m. Questions over. Closing remarks now. Elicker repeats his approach from the last debate: Walking back out into the hall right up to the audience. Carolina does that now, too. “Help me, young people, help you and your families escape this vicious cycle of poverty,” he says. This debate had no clear winner, but Carolina succeeded in upping his game.

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posted by: Amityboy on May 13, 2013  7:07pm

Why so little coverage of what Elicker is saying?

[Paul Bass: He’s not saying much.]

posted by: Amityboy on May 13, 2013  7:47pm

Isn’t that something you should leave up to readers?

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on May 13, 2013  7:53pm

Can’t you just post summaries of the candidates’ comments without injecting your views and opinions which tend to reveal a bias on your part?

posted by: Paul Wessel on May 13, 2013  8:01pm

I enjoy reading Paul’s opining about bike lanes, passion and story telling while covering the debate. One City!

posted by: thesixteenwords on May 13, 2013  8:18pm

Jeez, I’m glad I got to watch the Register’s live feed…maybe the Indy should pursue a live feed + live blog strategy.

[Paul: Great idea! We’ve done live feeds when we’ve organized debates with TV stations. They’re tricky and take a lot of work, but I agree they’re worth it. I wish I had had the presence of mind to notice that the Reg was live-streaming so I could have directed readers there, and perhaps embedded their feed on our site.]

posted by: Amityboy on May 13, 2013  8:19pm

Mr. Wessel, I have to disagree. I would love it if Paul posted his editorial thoughts on the debate at the end of the live blog. But as an undecided voter who definitely plans to vote for a Democracy Fund candidate, the fact that they got about a fifth the attention of the big money guys is deeply frustrating to me. I certainly value Paul’s opinions, but not when they come at the expense of information that will allow me to form my own. I hope the Independent does better next time.


[Paul Bass: Thanks for the feedback. I definitely appreciate your point about the dangers of subjectivity every time a journalist makes judgments (including about what to include and what not to include.) We don’t publish a full transcript of the debate, but rather focus on the statements that stand out—because they’re novel, interesting, because they contain new information; because they reveal a strong stand or a difference among candidates. That’s obviously a judgment call. Justin has said many interesting and valuable things in public life, and we quote him all the time in the Independent. We will continue to. Tonight I quoted him when I thought he was worth quoting. If we just ran a full transcript, that would serve a different purpose, a valuable one, but not the same as reporting that cuts through a lot of nothing to give a reader something.]

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 13, 2013  8:27pm

7:53 p.m. “I think the parks department does an OK job. In other cities they do a better job,” Nemerson says. He’s tougher on sanitation workers: They leave too much trash on the streets, he says. He wants more two-, three-, four-story buildings on Whalley Avenue to “build density.” No permission for new Walgreens-style stores without upper stories. Greater density, cleaner environment.

Nemerson sound like Mayor Bloomberg of New York.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 13, 2013  9:03pm

Living in this city all my life I want to jump in on the beat down possie! Ya know what, ya they were wrong.. but They made the bad guys go “by by” and like it or not Henry they saved alot of lives by stopping some from doing drugs, some from dealing drugs and this city and its low income community’s were at its safest! They beat the crap out of my ex husband !! Got him straight for a few years because of it! And told me to get away from him and his loser friend Angelo. PLEASE! I am with Kerm on this one. You tip toe around these kids and young adults we might as well just give them to the drug dealers. Allowing the drug dealers to feel they are untouchable in this city (WHICH THEY ARE!!) Makes them gods to impressionable youth that have little! You need cops that will shake them up. Scare the ones that are savable! REALITY shoved in their faces before they go down the road that is so hard to come back from. Making the dealers look like what they really are (life suckers!)

posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 13, 2013  9:05pm

We have reduced the NHPD into nothing but glorified security guards afraid to do what needs to be done. You want to save kids. Guns ya that is part of the problem. But I am sorry folks when a dealer say to a young kid hold these drugs (COPS WILL NOT TOUCH YOU!) and I will give you money to buy the things you see on TV, it is hard to resist when there are no consequences, NONE!! But if that cops sees a kids and knows he is a corner man and frisks him even cuffs him. If the cops can lock up the dealers for more than a freakn dam day! maybe just maybe we can take our kids and streets back!! I can stand in my community and tell you each and every kid that on one level or another is working for the dealers! And I am sure it is the same in every other community. If cops and community work together with a scared straight on the streets program! We may SAVE SOME!!! but NOOO That is not politically correct! REALLY??
love me or hate me for saying all of this…but these are not suburban kids that respond to kid glove…a good slap of reality is truly what is needed! AND I SAY ALL OF THIS OUT OF LOVE!

posted by: TheMadcap on May 13, 2013  9:25pm

Nemerson does often sound like Bloomberg. In regards to density on Whalley Ave though he’s right. He’s also right about bicycle lanes, although few candidates in New Haven are going to disagree with more.

On a side note, I somewhat agree about bicycle lanes. How much safer a bike lane makes cyclists is questionable(I personally think they do if for anything their traffic calming ability, but whatever), what I do think they do above anything though is at give people a feeling of security, which encourages more people to bike on the roads, which in turn makes everyone safer as motorists become more acclimated to having to look out for cyclists.

posted by: anonymous on May 13, 2013  9:42pm

Bike lanes have been studied extensively by scientists in hundreds of cities, and are wildly effective in many design situations across any conceivable measure of safety, usability, attractiveness, “greenness,” and boosting the number of jobs created (when compared to streets with no bike lanes) by a factor of 1,500%. Also, they are being designed in most cities, including in New Haven finally now, with buffers to increase separation from cars.

More importantly, they make traffic calmer and make it significantly nicer to walk, take a bus, or drive a car.

New Haven’s implementation is sometimes amateurish, but that would be an easy problem to fix- 1) just hire better engineers and 2) get the Mayor & transpo head to actually listen to the consultants.

Adding more infrastructure for biking & walking should be a top priority- it’s one of the main ways that people who are too young to get a driver’s license get around. Compared to anything else the city does, it’s also incredibly cheap, and has a return on investment of at least 40:1.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 13, 2013  9:51pm

The discussion about youth centers in every neighborhood really irks me. It’s a dumb idea. Why did those centers close in the first place and why have they not re-opened? Anybody with a financial clue? We have $1.5 billion worth of new schools in this city all of them with brand new, state of the art gyms that are used very little. Hillhouse is the exception but I would expecte Hillhouse to be used - my god, it has a field house better than most college campuses. It was so overbuilt, taxpayers were assessed a fine for it. The point is, there is space in this city - want yet another youth program? Put it in something we already own, that is already being cleaned and covered by some other budget. There is ZERO reason to build even more.

And if the street gangs are so bad, if the rotten kids are infecting the rest of the kids, why in the world, or more accurately, where in the world is the vaunted “Street Outreach Workers” a/k/a Hug A Thugs? We’re paying a lot of money for it - what are they accomplishing?

posted by: HhE on May 13, 2013  10:21pm

As a driver, I know what a bike lane is for:  a space exclusively for cyclists, reminding us to be especially vigilant for cyclists when getting out of a car.

As a cyclist, I wish we had more bike lanes.  I used the one on Orange, and liked it.  The scariest thing I ever did one a bike was ride on Whitney in Hamden.  Three feet, three inches, what is the difference?  I will never do that again. 

Did any of the candidates say where they were going to get the money for all these wonderful ideas?

posted by: Sarah.Miller on May 13, 2013  11:49pm

Organized community efforts stopped English Station from opening. Fernandez worked for the Mayor. He is trying to rewrite history, taking credit for a the tireless work of residents and environmental activists, organized through the New Haven Environmental Justice Network, who fought big business and won. Now that’s a great story.

posted by: Xavier on May 14, 2013  12:07am

Geeze Paul, a little rough all the candidate and especially on One City Henry.

I have to agree with other commentators, please refrain from editorial comments (snipes) at the candidates until the end of the story.

Beating up One City Henry for not mentioning the murdered kid’s name or the particulars of the funeral is a bit over the top, since it was many years ago.

I also thought One City Henry’s powerful story of being humiliated as a student at Yale because he had been stopped and frisked by NHPD. He most certainly knows what is it like being a person of color and harassed by the police.

One City Henry lead the charge on keeping that filthy power plant closed and by doing so, One City Henry kept our air from becoming more polluted, and saved our children from asthma attacks.

Elicker, really more bike lanes? Do you really want to win?

I like Nemerson’s proposal to better utilize existing schools. There is a crazy notation that Fair Haven needs more space for youth theater and so the city should turn over the old Strong School to yet another non-profit.

Again, One City Henry shows that he gets stuff done- successful nationally recognized youth program, personally impacted by racist cops, and has fought to keep our air clean and our kids healthy.

posted by: Hemp_Shirt_Rocker on May 14, 2013  5:52am

Looks like Kermit is really making the grade!!!

posted by: Claudia Herrera on May 14, 2013  8:14am

WOW! can somebody make a “background check” to verified the authenticity about the Fernandez said that HE DID this? I have live 9 years in New Haven and I met and talk with a bunch of New Haven residents (activists) who fought so hard to stop this opening, after the pressure,  frustrations, petitions, research, etc. They prove to the City why would be a very wrong idea. What is what Fernandez DID?

“7:47 p.m. Fernandez recalls the time a “bunch of rich people” wanted to restart English Station, a dirty power plant in a neighborhood already with high asthma rates. He did that when he was the city’s economic development chief; he battled his predecessor, Sal Brancati, who was hired by the people trying (unsuccessfully) to restart the plant with dirty power and a “promise” to burn cleaner later on once they made money. ”

posted by: Claudia Herrera on May 14, 2013  8:27am

Last night got very late to this event and I know I missed a lot. What happen with Tony Harps why she wasn’t there?

posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 14, 2013  9:06am

Totally has nothing to do with the story comment:  Every listen to the radio and here the same song over and over until it becomes worn out before its time because of that repetition? I thing the whole one city thing is getting under peoples skin….so by all mean keep repeating it. :)

posted by: HhE on May 14, 2013  9:11am

One City Henry sure has found the code words for diverseness.  First it was “people who do not look like us.”  Now it is “rich people.”

posted by: anonymous on May 14, 2013  9:55am

MomNewHaven - agree, but if politicians want to take credit for cleaner air, that’s a good thing.

What we should really be asking is why so many highways were expanded under the DeStefano/Fernandez administration. 

The administration has crippled the city by destroying its environment, widening roads, and leveling entire neighborhoods to build new schools.

One power plant has some impact, but those things are the true cause of asthma.

posted by: Paul Wessel on May 14, 2013  10:06am

From 2001:  Green Party alderman John Halle commends “Henry Fernandez, in particular” for work in opposition to English Station: 

“Fortunately for those of us who like to breath occasionally, the Reg[ister]‘s rabid boosterism for English Station has only been partially successful. Most importantly, it has not succeeded in overcoming the opposition of the DeStefano administration, and Henry Fernandez in particular. The mayor deserves much credit for his principled stand on English Station, one which contrasts with the opportunism of Looney and his minions who only began to oppose the restarting after their crony Mark Minninberg was forced out of Quinnipiac Energy management.”

posted by: Curious on May 14, 2013  10:18am

Anonymous, you say “if politicians want to take credit for cleaner air, that’s a good thing.”

Not if it’s a false claim, it’s not.

posted by: Xavier on May 14, 2013  10:31am

Great job on the Fact Check.

One City Henry walks the walk - he’s done it and he will get it done.

Hurry up September primary so we can get on with things!

posted by: anonymous on May 14, 2013  10:59am

Paul: Good post about the “minions”, but again, the plant is a minor issue compared to wider environmental destruction since 1990 such as spending $2.5 billion to widen highways and roads. Looney, Fernandez, and their “suburban union minions” generally do not care about destroying the city, restarting power plants, building more parking lots, etc., because 80% of membership doesn’t live here.  It is a credit to DeStefano/Fernandez that they have been somewhat independent, at times.

If the shots here were called by residents, and not by Big Money interests, our city would look like paradise - look at East Rock Park, which if not for residents would have been transformed into a limited access highway by the same interests who were behind Dick Lee and subsequent Mayors.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 14, 2013  11:04am

posted by: TheMadcap on May 13, 2013 9:25pm

On a side note, I somewhat agree about bicycle lanes

posted by: anonymous on May 13, 2013 9:42pm
Bike lanes have been studied extensively by scientists in hundreds of cities, and are wildly effective in many design situations across any conceivable measure of safety, usability, attractiveness,

Be careful what you ask for.Look at what has happen in New York.Next for New Haven.

Complaints Rise as Bike Share Program Nears.

posted by: Curious on May 14, 2013  11:04am

Paul Wessel, a ten-year old editorial from someone is your backup?  Nothing more credible?

posted by: HhE on May 14, 2013  12:11pm

As someone who has driven, walked, and rode bicycles in Manhattan, I think what NYC has done with bike lanes and pedestrian safety is great.

posted by: Claudia Herrera on May 14, 2013  12:11pm

That was NOT a fact check. That was, who said no at the end.
The people that oppose since the beginning and refuse to take the petition as a done deal are the ones who walk and talk everywhere. After the City realized that was NOT a good idea to support this petition and learn how many people got upset and why, that’s when they have no say NO. 

John Halle’s Homepage Green Party fellow. Since when The green party care about the quality of life and environmental issues? this was an opinion… barely.

posted by: TheMadcap on May 14, 2013  12:12pm

I don’t think more bike lanes equals terrible looking bike kiosks. Yale is currently doing a bike sharing experiment with Zagster, and I guarantee no one who doesn’t read the Yale news even knows about it. Heck I didn’t know about it until I saw a sign asking people not to park their bikes where the bike share bikes are going and realized all the bikes there were exactly the same. It’s basically this though:

The city’s Transportation Department said it had been warned of possible problems ahead by aides of Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, where a bike share program began in 2010. “They said you’ll be hated for six months,” Jon Orcutt, the department’s policy director, recalled in a phone interview, “and then you’ll be loved.”

It’s like Dixwell. Everyone moaned when they took out the 2nd lane on each side. Now people forget that it was even ever there. Same thing with the program in DC. Although NYC’s idea is stupid for the fact of why would I pay $95 a year to rent a bike for 45 minutes(or accumulate extra charges) when I can buy a good used bike for $200 on craigslist and ride it as much as I want.

posted by: Claudia Herrera on May 14, 2013  1:01pm

About the bicycle tracks if you want to make it political issue that is completely fine with me. BUT please take a look in this article.

Using bicycles is a lot more than it look ugly or how many people like it or not. This is world wide smoke pollution problem and sooner or later we all have to make an extra effort to make choices of transportation. If we already are complaining for not enough parking in New Haven and the little we have is too expensive. What is what we are going to do?

I think that is better we start early experimenting the reality that we all have to face soon. As a side note. I will strongly support this ideas. My son (15 yrs. old) with his old bicycle is going and back to school for the last 3 years, people that is good with numbers what is this means to you?

posted by: Saraswati on May 14, 2013  1:31pm

About using schools for after school programs:

1) There is something called 21st Century grants (name may have changed) for after school programs that require the sign off of the local school superintendent. In New Haven, NHPS refuses to sign off on any application besides their own, essentially blocking other organizations access to those dollars.  Yes.  The amazing Dr. Mayo.

2) I think there are very few after school based program that would turn down the ability to use a school building after school. Working with a school is harder than it seems. 

3) Transportation is an issue. With so many kids being bused to their schools, opening schools after school to programs serving their students would include the added cost of late buses. Some schools do this, but for limited periods of time. Also, the late bus often arrives only an hour and a half to two hours after the regular buses, which isn’t much time at all. Also, many late buses only run three days a week.

Programs SHOULD have access to the school buildings to provide services. Unfortunately, NHPS is not always willing to facilitate that partnership and BOOST has not reached all the schools.

In Providence, RI, there is (maybe was) a coordinated city-wide after school program. The thing is, no one is really responsible for ensuring quality programming at Central Office (yes, someone is in charge, but, surprise, surprise, is not responsive).

BOOST! had the right idea, but the partnerships have to be deeper.  And principals need to be open to allowing programs in their buildings. Some are, some aren’t.

After school programming is truly a different type of service than day-time education and should not be delivered by teachers, but by professionals who know the trade. By 3pm, teachers are exhausted. 

The candidates should talk to the Citywide Youth Coalition (Rachel Heerema is the ED) to get a good idea of what listening to youth really looks like and to understand the issues.

posted by: InformedOpinion123 on May 14, 2013  2:53pm

Paul, while I have appreciated your stories, I do not want your opinion. I want the facts. I want the story. And I’d like the option to form my own opinion.

“Kermit steps up his game?” The only thing that Kermit was, was louder than any of the other candidates. Henry, Gary and Elicker all have much more concrete ideas, experience and vision for the city. Elicker comes across much more passionately, he’s just not as loud! And Henry is still the only candidate with the concrete experience, intelligence and savvy to actually be the next mayor.

posted by: Carl Goldfield on May 14, 2013  3:03pm

@Curious and in defense of Paul Wessel and Henry. I served on the Board of Alders with John Halle. I don’t remember him being someone who would dole out credit undeservedly or for political purpose. He was hardcore Green. An editorial from him should carry a lot of weight as to whom credit for shutting down English Station should be given.

posted by: anonymous on May 14, 2013  3:14pm

3/5 Wrote: “Complaints Rise as Bike Share Program Nears”

Yes, they found a couple people to kvetch to a journalist, but the program sold out its first 5,000 bike keys in one day and has since been gaining thousands of new members every week.

Bike shares can completely transform a city - they are easily the cheapest and most time-efficient form of transportation in a city other than walking.

posted by: JuliaCS on May 14, 2013  5:19pm

Just to contribute to the bicycle conversation - bike lanes are good for the economy! Check out this article about the impact in NYC.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on May 15, 2013  5:36pm

I’m still waiting to hear something substantive coming from these candidates regarding infiltrating negative criminal behavior as it relates to young people. 

I do credit Mr. Nemerson for championing one of my ideas regarding using neighborhood schools as after school program facilities.  However, the issue will never be the physical building structure that’s of significance.  The issue must always be, what’s happening inside the building. Just a couple of examples I like to share in which I believe can make a huge difference in addressing some of this bad behavior. Examples: We develop programs that address self-awareness, positive self-esteem, comprehensive youth developmental strategies, teen pregnancy prevention, self-discovery and positive self-expression, programs that develop job skills and equally important, teach them to understand the salient issues affecting their community and what they can do to make a positive difference to change the outcome.  This is what should’ve been talked about. 

Some of these guys spent the evening railing on police officers as a means of pandering to the angst of the black community.  That by it’s very nature, is wrong.  Henry makes mention of a rogue police mindset years ago, but he fails to mention where he was hiding when these tactics permeated themselves across the city.

Instead of beating up on the police department, someone should’ve talked about how to develop a closer relationship with them. 

The community cannot solve the myriad of social issues without the support of the police department.  At which point do we as citizens take personal blame for the destruction and demise of our own neighborhoods?