Paca Kicks Off Voter Ed In Fair Haven

Markeshia Ricks PhotoMayoral candidate Marcus Paca opened a campaign office and made a pitch for voter registration and education, in the heart of Fair Haven, particularly for those who are formerly incarcerated.

With a DJ Skorp spinning tunes and drowning out the busy Friday traffic making its way up and down Grand Avenue, Paca and his supporters gathered to talk about building an informed electorate and putting more voters on the rolls.

“We’re here today because we all have a passion for the city of New Haven,” Paca said. “What I want to do is ensure that everyone is a well-educated and well-informed voter. So when we at the Progress with Paca campaign talk about voter registration, we’re not just talking about someone signing up and someone going to the booth. We’re talking about all the issues facing their communities and their city, this very day.”

Paca, who is seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination, said he has been crisscrossing the city and talking to New Haveners. What he hears a lot are people who want to know how they can be involved in their city. One of the key things he said he tells them is to participate in local elections by voting. Some of those people tell him that they have participated in national elections for president, but he said he challenges them to focus on what’s happening at the local level.

“I challenge them and say, ‘hey, listen, voting in your local election is probably the most important thing you can do because it’s going to affect you and your family every single day,” he said.

And one of the groups that he is keen to get educated and involved again in the voting process are those who have been formerly incarcerated. Paca said that he has learned that about 11,000 people in the city have been convicted of a crime, and whether they know it or not, they can vote in Connecticut.

“I’m reaching out to the people who feel disenfranchised,” he said. “I’m reaching out to the people who feel like they’ve been ignored. I’m reaching out to the people who feel like they don’t have a voice. I will be your voice, because it’s not all about the politicians downtown. It’s about what’s going on in our community.”

Louis Reed, the re-entry director for Bridgeport and a friend of Paca’s, said that he can attest to how important participating in the electoral process can be for someone who is formerly incarcerated. He served 13-and-a-half years in federal prison and missed participating in the election of former President Barack Obama.

“Missing out on that created a thirst for my interest in politics and being involved,” he said. “I wanted to be involved. I wanted to do something.”

Reed reminded those gathered that being incarcerated or formerly incarcerated doesn’t necessarily exclude you from voting. In Connecticut, if you are in custody but in the pretrial portion of your case being adjudicated, you can vote by absentee ballot. If you’ve served your time and you’re not on parole, you can vote.

Of the formerly incarcerated, Reed said, “I don’t know how many are registered to vote, but it is a large populace we need to tap into…. That’s not just because I personally believe that Marcus Paca is the most viable, is the most robust, is the most innovative candidate, for mayor here within the city of New Haven.

“The fact of the matter is that people should come out and cast their [vote], even if you feel that Marcus Paca is not the most qualified candidate to be mayor of New Haven,” he added. “You should come out and you should engage in that process. Now, again, I personally believe that this man is the right man for the job.”

Paca said he’s not going to be the type of politician who only comes around at election time.

“I’m not going to pander for your vote,” he said. “I’m going to sit down and have a conversation with you because you’re important. Our city is important. Our communities are important. Our streets are important. Our kids are important. Our educational system is important.”

Friday’s voter education and registration event wasn’t the formal grand opening for the Grand Avenue office. Paca said it was important to him to get his first office going in Fair Haven because of the diversity of the community.

“There’s black, there’s white, there’s Latino,” he said. “I thought it would send a good message to the community that we’re willing to come to one of the most diverse neighborhoods in our city to open our first campaign. I encourage everyone to come here and register to vote, but I also encourage folks, again, to be educated voters, educated constituents, and citizens — to learn about my platform, not just register to vote.”

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posted by: CTLifer on May 20, 2017  12:55am

Personally, I would like to know from Mr. Paca, how he plans to get former/current employees of the City that he did not support (i.e. assisted in ‘railroading’ good employees based upon ‘politics’ or the whim of ‘higher’ individuals) to either support him or believe a word he says. I am asking for those City/BOE managers who were either demoted or opted to resign due to little more than being chastised or attacked for fulfilling their job duties.  Sadly, many 20 year plus quality employees have decided to leave instead of fighting against fabricated and ludicrous accusations.  As Mr. Paca sat there as MANY excellent employees were unjustly pigeonholed, how does he plan to rectify the wrongs committed and ensure they do not continue to occur??

posted by: U.need.more.people on May 20, 2017  12:30pm

That is an accurate observation of Paca. He was employed by Mayor Harp as Labor Director as a favor for helping her get elected, because we all know he wasn’t qualified for the position.  His performance fully demonstrated that. 

However, the short time he was employed, he did all the shucking and jiving possible to support Mayor Harp’s agenda.  When Paca got fired himself, then all the sudden he wanted to change his tune, and Paca wants to make a stand for “New Haven”? 

He is only trying to make a stand for himself!  All those good city employees before him were just collateral damage, as long as he was getting an over inflated pay check.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on May 20, 2017  5:28pm

@ CTLifer,

I find your comments very interesting.  Not once did mention the mayor who devised and or created the atmosphere that you’re now critical of.  Mr. Paca would be the first person to tell you that not every position he took was the best approach.  In saying that, not every position that both you and I took in certain situations was the best either.  His experience(s) while working for the city has given him in depth knowledge to see that those very concerns of yours and others similar cease from occurring in the future. 

I ask you, tell me one thing that this mayor has done to help people like you?  Just to make you feel comfortable, I’m patient enough to wait a couple of wks for your answer. 

Is Mr. Paca perfect?  Absolutely not.  But unlike his opponent who lives in a bubble and refuses to go to the ladies room without a bodyguard, Mr. Paca can be seen in some of the most sundry and most dangerous places of the city. 

The only time you’ll find Mayor Harp in the black community is when she’s either accepting an award, or when she needs the black vote (around election time) to keep “her” viable. 

I’m proud of this young man and the impressive campaign that he has launched thus far.  In fact, his issues are so substantive, that the Harp administration has decided to hold many of them hostage in an attempt to claim them as their very own.

Mayor Harp offers nothing to the taxpayers of the City, but deficits and out of control spending.  Any mayor that submits a budget, that’s contingent solely on whether or not their state is fiscally sound (rather than ensuring that their city’s finances are in order), is a mayor that cares only for there personal finances.

She has raised fees for everything, but claims in her recent speech that she hasn’t raised taxes.  HEY MAYOR HARP, A FEE IS A TAX!!! 

It’s time for real leadership that has a genuine vested interest in the youth of the city and not a mayor who mentions the youth by accident only.

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on May 20, 2017  8:46pm

I saw no recognizable New Haven faces in these pictures.  Where are his supporters?  I saw a Bridgeport employee and a Woodbridge resident.  Will Paca explain how he leaked City Hall emails that compromised a high profile case against the city?

“...Paca was fired for a host of reasons including handling of labor matters with the fire department.

“There were things that were done,” Reyes said, “that disfavored the city ...”

“... and cost the city money,” Harp added.

Also at issue was the release of hundreds of confidential internal emails from the corporation counsel’s office related to the firing of Commission on Equal Opportunities (CEO) chief Nichole Jefferson. Jefferson’s union president was given internal memos about efforts to fire Jefferson, a matter currently the subject of a state arbitration proceeding. The release of the emails — which were subsequently reported in this New Haven Register article by reporter Mary O’Leary — is believed to hampered the adminstration’s position in that proceeding…”

Paca is running out of anger and selfishness, not out of a desire to lead the people. Buyer beware…

posted by: informed on May 20, 2017  11:38pm

(1of 2) I find Living in New Haven’s critique interesting in light of Harps announcement. “I saw no recognizable New Haven faces”. I think rather you mean you saw no faces you deem IMPORTANT. You simply saw peons, AKA voters, and not the “who’s who” of the democratic machine that attended Harp’s announcement. (PS I saw no regular voters in Harps article pics.) Since you’ve outted yourself repeatedly on these boards as a die hard Harp supporter/employee, I assume your elitist statements about regular people are shared by Harp. Non politicos and regular residents beware, Harp and her gang have no interest in being photoed with you, though they certainly want your vote! And Harp will not come near you, unless there’s a guard by her side to keep away the “townees” and “riff raff!” It’s no surprise you have completely ignored the actual premise of the article, as I’m sure the Harp set deems ex-felons useless people as well!

I sincerely hope we get to hear more about Paca’s termination from Harps administration over the course of this campaign. Hopefully it will be a debate topic! What we know now is that Harp supporters (my old friend “” included :) believe that Paca “performed poorly”, did things” and was terminated for a “host of reasons” yet voters have still never been informed of what these things are. Inquiring minds want to know!

posted by: informed on May 20, 2017  11:49pm

(2 of 2) Then we’ve been told that Paca “leaked documents” related to the Nicole Jefferson debacle. Perhaps you do not read the New Haven Register, but the Harp administration has been found guilty of a “witch hunt” against Jefferson and wasted tons of the city’s money to be told that: We also learned that Harp falsely accused Jefferson of crimes for which she has been fully exonerated: If Paca “leaked” the information that got us to these truths, kudos to him! Nevertheless, I’m sure bringing that truth to light would be top on the list of the “host of things” Harp thought Paca did wrong lol. Paul, it would be great to have more reporting on this topic. What does Jefferson think?

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on May 21, 2017  12:05am

@Informed…. I meant what I said. I saw no recognizable faces except the Bridgeport employee, him, his wife, and his brother in law who lives in Woodbridge.  The majority if the pictures show no faces.  Please don’t project your inaccurate beliefs toward me.  None of his so called people allowed themselves to be photographed at his “launch”. Where were they? 😂😂