Paca: I’m Like Yates; Harp’s Like Trump

Thomas Breen photoIs New Haven a stable city that has become safer, more responsibly governed, and more attuned to the needs of its students and workers over the past four years? Or is it barely treading water, rife with violence and unemployment, led by a mayoral administration bent on political retaliation and deceit?

Mayor Toni Harp said the former, and her challenger for the Democratic mayoral nomination, Marcus Paca, offered the latter view as they pitched their candidacies Saturday morning to 60 party leaders during a forum held by Democratic Town Committee (DTC) on the steps outside the Betsy Ross Parish House on Kimberly Avenue.

While Harp and Paca have participated in other recent political forums where they have shared sharply contrasting views on the state of the city, Saturday morning’s presentations witnessed a particularly jarring dissonance between the mayor’s claims of stability and progress and her challenger’s accusations of ineffective and unethical leadership. In the course of the event, Paca compared Harp’s approach to democracy to Donald Trump’s, while comparing his own role to that of an attorney general who lost her job when she wouldn’t obey Trump’s dictates.

The DTC holds its nominating convention July 25 at Career High School, where the two Democratic party co-chairs for each of the city’s 30 wards will vote on which candidates they want to see on the Democratic ticket in this year’s elections.

In addition to nominating a mayoral candidate, the DTC will vote to endorse candidates for city clerk, probate judge, and the elected seat on the Board of Education. All of the candidates running for those offices participated in Saturday morning’s forum.

The forum took place outside of the parish hall, rather than inside as planned, because of a previously scheduled wedding.

“Like Sally Yates ...”

Mayoral challenger Paca began his 15-minute presentation to the committee by stating that the DTC must work to uphold certain democratic principles regardless of the election cycle and local political climate. Throughout his opening remarks, he strongly implied, and sometimes explicitly stated, that the Harp administration is indifferent to free and open debate between candidates.

“In a democracy, voters are given full access to information,” he said. “Only in a totalitarian system do people control information.”

He cited the national Democratic Party’s “sabotaging of the Bernie Sanders campaign” under the leadership of Florida U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the 2016 presidential election as an example of what the local DTC should beware of when entrenched political figures hold too much sway over the party nominating process.

“Democracy should inform and empower,” he continued, “not conceal and stifle.”

Paca then went on to describe a city that is “treading water” on everything from public safety to public education to economic development.

He lambasted the administration for not communicating effectively with the police in preparation for the white nationalist demonstration and counter-protest that took place on the Green last weekend, and cited the recent home invasion and beating of a young woman in Wooster Square as evidence of the city’s continued struggles with violent crime.

“Do you feel safe in New Haven?” he asked. “I don’t.”

On education, he promised to help recruit a progressive superintendent, work towards reducing the Board of Education’s deficit, and establish a technical high school for students who cannot or do not want to go to college.

On economic development, Paca stressed that the city should not rely exclusively in preparing residents for jobs in the health care and higher education sectors. Instead, the city should work to incentivize the creation of marketing and advertising jobs, manufacturing jobs, and jobs related to sustainable energy and green technology that would help address the looming threat of climate change, he argued. He promised to convene a “business innovation consortium” that would include local corporate, non-profit, and educational leaders who would meet on a regular basis to discuss the economic priorities of the city.

In the end, Paca returned to his grievances with the current administration, laying into the current political climate at City Hall.

Unlike at previous candidate forums, Paca, who used to work for Mayor Harp as her labor relations director, spoke openly about how he and his wife were fired by the Harp administration in the spring of 2016. Paca claims that they were fired due to political retaliation for “leaking emails” pertaining to the firing of former Commission on Equal Opportunities Director Nichole Jefferson; Harp claims that they were fired due to incompetence and insubordination. (Read more about that debate here.)

“Do we want a local government where city employees face retaliation, intimidation, and termination for telling the truth or exposing wrongdoing?” Paca asked. “President Trump has fired numerous talented, committed, moral staffers, claiming that they were incompetent because they were allegedly disloyal to his political agenda.”

Like Sally Yates, Trump’s fired attorney general,” Paca continued, “I believe in a democratic society. Government employees should only pledge loyalty to truth, the rule of law, taxpayers, and not to politicians.”

“Kept Promises”

In contrast, Mayor Harp defended her two-term tenure by claiming that she has been true to her word and kept her campaign promises. She cited a litany of statistics related to crime, education, and employment that bolstered her claims.

She opened by heralding her administration’s budgetary efforts, saying that she came into office with a $14 million deficit, which she cleared by the end of her first year, and that she has left the city in the black without having to raise taxes for each of the past three years of her administration.

On public safety, she acknowledged that any violent crime is too much, but argued that New Haven is indisputably in a better place now than it was several years ago, let alone how well it compares to other cities in Connecticut.

“Did I say that there would be no crime?” she asked. “No. But I did say that we would be a safer city.” She pointed out that she had hired 155 police officers throughout her first three years in office, and that the New Haven police force was the most diverse in the state. She claimed that, while Hartford has 19 recorded murders so far this year and Bridgeport has 17 recorded murders, New Haven has only four.

She said that she is planning on opening a family justice center during her next term, if she is reelected, that would create a “one-stop shop” for families dealing with domestic violence.

On education, she pointed to Youth Stat  –  a collaboration among cops, teachers, social workers, probation officers, and school administrators to identify and support students most likely to get into serious trouble inside or outside the classroom – as one of the measures that have helped reduce chronic absenteeism and increase graduation rates in the public schools during her time in office.

She also cited Hillhouse High School’s Law, Public Safety and Health Academy, an after-school program at Hamden’s Eli Whitney Technical High, and a “bioscience ladder program” in conjunction with Gateway Community College and Southern Connecticut State University as educational initiatives that are succeeding in preparing New Haven public school students for gainful employment after they graduate from high school.

On economic development, she said that her administration has helped add 166 subsidized housing units during her tenure, that she has worked with New Haven Rising to create 350 jobs for local residents, and that there is now free wi-fi on the New Haven Green. She said the city is still exploring how to establish a high-speed municipal broadband network that would help facilitate more local jobs in IT.

“I’ve kept my promises,” she said. “We’ve moved New Haven forward. And I would say that New Haven hasn’t been as stable as it has been under my leadership.”

After the forum, DTC chair Vincent Mauro, Jr. said that he had heard from a number of the ward co-chairs present that Paca’s speech skewed a little too negative. “I don’t think a negative approach works,” he said. “Most people will argue that the city of New Haven is in a pretty good place right now.”

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 15, 2017  10:55pm

Local political leaders on the steps and parking lot outside of the Betsy Ross Parish House for Saturday’s DTC candidate forum.

Give me a break.They are noting more then a paid shill Just like the Judas Goat they have been been trained to lead their flock of sheep to the slaughterhouse.(AKA) the Voting Booth.

After the forum, DTC chair Vincent Mauro, Jr. said that he had heard from a number of the ward co-chairs present that Paca’s speech skewed a little too negative. “I don’t think a negative approach works,” he said. “Most people will argue that the city of New Haven is in a pretty good place right now.”

Judas Goat Politics at work.I will say it again. We must get rid of the sell out DTC and Replace with IRV or Rank Choice Voting where we the people can choose who we want to run.

posted by: Rich Pizzo on July 16, 2017  10:24am

Paca’s “Harp Like Trump” meme…..

not only Do I Not Think So,

I believe, with that anti-social statement, his sociopathy is showing….

posted by: FacChec on July 16, 2017  12:33pm

Harp: “Did I say that there would be no crime?” she asked. “No. But I did say that we would be a safer city.”


Harp gave overtime stats to the New Haven register saying that fire overtime has been reduced to $38,000 per wk.

Not true:She said not long ago, battalion chiefs in the fire department earned $250,000 a year because of overtime, something that is boosting their pensions for life. The mayor said additional personnel have helped end that situation. While overtime was costing $500,000 a week, it is now down to $38,000. 

Harps MAY Monthly report

148,576 -Wk 5/5
120,413 wk—5/26
559,395 - Total
Bal =  (3,353,348) minus

202- FIRE
68,208 -wk 5/5
62,447 -wk5/26
227,668 - total
Bal = (968,861)minus

On economic development, she said that her administration has helped add 166 subsidized housing units during her tenure, that she has worked What Harp does not take credit for is the more than 900 units that have become vacant during her administration.

After the forum, DTC chair Vincent Mauro, Jr. said that he had heard from a number of the ward co-chairs present that Paca’s speech skewed a little too negative. “I don’t think a negative approach works,” he said.

Excuse us Mr DTC Chair Mauro, but negative FACs are precisely what voters want to compare, especially those above in which Harp is straight up lying.

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 16, 2017  1:46pm


How Paca’s ‘political comparison’ reaches anti-social, sociopathic levels, I will leave you to explain to the head-scratching public…. 

Sounds like some baseless mudslinging on your part…..but you were nice to do it under your own name.

I look at Harp’s ‘School Board Presidency’ as just one example where her own ‘sociopathy’ was more important than State Law, Ethics, or the Public Good….

There are other examples…..  I think Marcus was pretty on point with regards to Mayor Harps disrespect for the Democratic System she is in charge of…  the rules never seem to apply to those in charge of them…  and the abusers of power will always ‘swarm’ the ‘dissenting voice’. 

Don’t listen to the detractors, New Haven….  reach out, become informed, make your own decision… 

btw, I think Mauro and these ‘negative leaning’ DTC members were a little upset because Marcus Paca actually had the gumption to challenge them and their so-called impartial ‘process’....

posted by: Rich Pizzo on July 16, 2017  1:59pm

A mean spirited person can put a negative distorted spin on anything….. this is so typical of the anti-social party, the GOP… Paca sounds very much like a GOP trying to sneak in, dressed as a social….

but the anti-social keeps sneaking out for all to see..

Paca….. stop talking about the Mayor, and tell us something good about your self… and why should any one vote for you?

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 16, 2017  6:02pm

“The forum took place outside of the parish hall, rather than inside as planned, because of a previously scheduled wedding.”
      Organizing 101. Check the venue’s calendar before you book the event.
      They were lucky it wasn’t raining.

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 16, 2017  9:58pm


I think if you look at the content of Paca’s speech, he did talk about other things than his ‘opponent’, however NHI decided to run with the DTC with the headline….

From Paca’s Speech:

“Permit me to take some time to put my vision in context. My plan and strategy for New Haven is very simple; tell the truth, be honest about the current state of affairs with voters, address constituent needs in a thoughtful, conscientious way, be a better steward of tax payer dollars, prioritize our youth and seniors and promote economic growth and job creation and diversification though concrete plans of action.”

“I will also focus on much needed community development because not only has this administration failed to actualize several major downtown developments, including the Hill to Downtown project, the “Live, Work, Learn Play”/Coliseum project and the Church Street South revitalization, but it also has not invested in our communities. When we look down Dixwell, Whalley, Grand, and Howard avenues it looks the same as it did 4 years ago, when the mayor took office. I will prioritize making our communities more vibrant through beautification initiatives supported by residents in their own communities. My Economic Development team will begin working more earnestly with community development agencies and activists to show our residents we respect the diverse nature of their neighborhoods. A Paca Administration will initiate a city-wide block watch program, support a civilian review board with elected members, and focus on non-violent crime and quality of life concerns.”

And you are right, Marcus did spend some time explaining his termination, the Nicole Jefferson Witch Hunt, and other ‘questionable’ decisions which have happened under the Harp administration.  As her opponent, it is his job to bring these issues to light.

I’ve never heard somebody campaigning for office say, ‘My Opponent is doing a great job, but I am going to do better.’ 

Keep it up, Marcus!

posted by: robn on July 16, 2017  10:35pm

I think a more apt metaphor for Paca might have been, “I’m like a Kamikaze pilot and Mayor Harp is like Admiral Nimitz ....wait…what?”

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on July 16, 2017  11:59pm

So did Paca just admit to leaking those top secret emails on purpose?  I thought he previously denied leaking anything?

posted by: Rich Pizzo on July 17, 2017  6:32am

Here is an operative definition of the antisocial personality disorder.

Regularly uses unconscionable tactics to accomplish unconscionable agenda and “thinks” they have “good reason” that “justifies” causing harm to others…

If you see this in a candidate….. check again, and again…. if all checks, over time, confirm the behavior….. don’t vote for them…. oppose them… it is bad news for everyone to have such psycho/social pathology in any government job….

posted by: Inside 165 on July 17, 2017  7:38pm

Once again not only does Harp either lie or just make up facts but the NHI continues to act as her personal campaign blog.

Hey Paul why don’t you guys vet some of these statements made by both candidates and run them thrrough the truth meter.

Overtime in the PD and FD continues to spiral out of control. Members of both departments have been caught on camera working other jobs, working out at the gym and engaged in recreation activities while out on workers comp and the departments have done NOTHING!  The use of sick time in both departments is used as free and unchecked vacation days and the departments have done NOTHING!
Off duty conduct that people used to be fired for doesn’t even get addressed anymore.

Battalion Chief positions have been filled for over the last year and they were still making over $250,000.00 a year. Why? Because you have a Chief who spends most of his time planning his long weekends in Jersey City even though he gets $24,000.00 a year in a housing stipend. The fire department has NEVER, EVER come close to $500,000.00 a week in overtime. NEVER. Now the fire department is over staffed. It has over a dozen extra firefighters than it needs to fully staff the department and the chief is going to hire an additional extra 30. Not only is that a complete waste of money but with the extra personnel it already has why are they spending $40,000.00 a week to begin with.

The police department is another bloated mess. With over 450 cops and more to come they still can’t control overtime. Blatant insubordination that’s goes unaddressed as Campbell prays for better days to come.

Harp RAISED taxes the first year she was in office and she has NEVER had a balanced budget. She refinances debt and borrows more money to deceive people about balanced budgets. Our state legislators have also gotten her more money from the state that she spends actually faster than she gets.  This city will be in a financial catastrophe in 2 years just like she did to CT.