Party Bosses Exchange Stogie, Beaujolais

Paul Bass PhotoWho says Republican and Democratic leaders can’t get along?

The leaders of the parties, at least in New Haven, sat down together Thursday and found some common ground: a belief that New Haven is a happening city on the upswing; support for new development to create jobs and enliven the town.

Appearing on an episode of WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program, the two party bosses, Democratic Town Chair Vincent Mauro Jr. and Republican Town Chair Jonathan Wharton, also disagreed, of course. They debated whether labor has too much influence over city decisions, whether development is being jeopardized, how relevant national politics are to local politics.

They did so civilly, in contrast to the partisan hostility and noncooperation they bemoaned in Washington.

Heck, they even brought each other presents, which did reveal a partisan divide. Mauro offered Wharton a Joyade Nicaragua cigar. Wharton brought a bottle of wine.

Mauro: What is this?
Wharton: Beaujolais.
Mauro: I don’t know what that means!
Wharton: It’s a Republican thing.
Mauro: I’m a Budweiser guy, for crying out loud.
Wharton: We’ll forgive you for that.
Mauro: Is this like Boone’s Farm or something?
Wharton: Chill it for two hours and see what you think.

Wharton, who teaches political science at Southern Connecticut State University, has worked mightily to rebuild the decimated city GOP. Democrats still hold all the competitively elected offices in town. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 37,048 to 2,348. But another 14,231 unaffiliated voters loom — and both Wharton and Mauro aim to woo them. The growing ranks of unaffiliateds have helped make general elections competitive over the past decade.

Unaffiliated voters tend to distrust established parties, the two chairmen agreed. They were asked how they’re pitching their parties to that tough crowd.

Mauro argued that New Haveners are basically Democrats at heart.

Mauro: Party is also what happens on a national level. You care about health care? His party in Washington is trying to destory health care.
Wharton: That’s oversimplified.
Wharton: It is not.
Mauro: Your party in Wash wants to destory health care. I can’t make that pitch?
Wharton: That’s not a pitch. Republicans are not looking to take it away ...
Mauro: Aw, come on! You cannot ignore what happened in the last election!
Wharton: That was not all Republicans. If anything, they wanted to negotiate a fair plan. Susan Collins, McCain, there were others [who voted against repealing Obamacare]. What should happen in Washington is something called communication, negotiation. That arc is gone with health care. That is gone! At least you and I are talking locally.
Mauro: You own it. You want to get rid of it? You own it.

Wharton said the GOP’s pitch to unaffiliateds is local: He characterized his party as an alternative to the “status quo” one-party dominance of New Haven for the past half-century.

He specifically targeted the influence of Yale’s UNITE HERE union locals, which have recruited and supported the election of a majority of the Board of Alders. The result, Wharton claimed, has been undue special-interest influence on government.

He cited as an example the effort by UNITE HERE-backed alders earlier this year to “rush” through for approval an historic rewriting of the city’s zoning laws to create a new “university” designation aimed primarily at injecting more review and oversight of Yale’s building plans. (Read about that here, here, and here.)

As a member of the City Plan Commission, Wharton spoke up against the plan and criticized the alders for seeking to obtain votes of approval on a plan that hadn’t been shared with or reviewed by city planning staff. (The commission decided not to vote on the plan, which was then pared down and approved by a Board of Alders committee.)

“Do you find it ironic that a Republican now complains about how fast government works? You’re complaining that government works fast? We’ve gone to a new place here,” Mauro responded.

“Vinnie,” Wharton pressed, “it would be nice if the staff members knew the language of it first, and knowing the impacts and implications surrounding the law. Why do you want everything to go so quickly? Plus there is an agenda to it. It was unbelievable … to ram it down the throats of the Board of Alders and the City Plan Commission.”

The two also disagreed about the latest example of union-backed alders clashing with Yale at City Hall over development: A vote by Wooster Square Alder Aaron Greenberg to deny unanimous consent to allow Yale to proceed with renovating the Hall of Graduate Studies on York Street from graduate dorms to new conference and classroom space. The basis for the delay: The plan includes a film screening room and lecture hall that might exacerbate parking problems. Greenberg said it makes sense to take time to examine that issue in more depth. Yale argued the delay is unnecessary and deprives the city of needed permit fees and jobs. (Read more about that here.)

Mauro: I’m confused now. Jonathan [first complained government] is moving too fast. Now he’s complaining things move too slow. Aaron Greenberg’s a good alder. He knows what he’s doing. My guess is at the end of the day things work out
Wharton: I disagree with that. Aaron also has a hatchet and an agenda as the leader of a union for the garduate students there. He’s leveraging this. Hey, it’s political. I get it. He wants to use his power. There’s an agenda attached we should be concerned about.
Of all the issues to politicize — parking spaces?
Mauro: Jonathan’s claiming virginity now. ...
Listen, the party is controlled by the voters. There’s been a long dominance of Democratically elected people in this city. Everyone says, “UNITE HERE …” Have you met any of these alders?
Wharton: Yes. I know them too well.
Mauro: They live and work in neighborhoods. They may work for certain associations. But they also care deeply about their neighborhoods. It’s an unfair broad-brush painting. You don’t think Democrats care about their property taxes and crime or small business or big business? Of course they do. This is where your national Republican talking points are taking over.
Wharton: There’s no national anything with me.

The Republicans are fielding two candidates for Board of Alders seat, one for probate judge, and one for the Board of Education this November. Wharton demurred when asked if he thinks any of the candidates will win. Mauro predicted none will — but added that their candidacies will enrich the city by offering alternative views. He said New Haven needs “more dialogue.”

And he made his GOP counterpart a bet. “If they do win a seat,” Mauro promised, “I’ll bring him a bottle of whatever the hell he’s drinking.”

Click on or download the above audio file to hear the full episode of WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” with Vin Mauro and Jonathan Wharton.

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 10, 2017  5:12pm

Who says Republican and Democratic leaders can’t get along?.

They have always been get along.Both of the are same.The Republicans do the Bank job.The Democratics driver the getaway car.Both Democrats and Republicans are two teams in the same league, Both serving the corporatist plutocracy.Both sell snake-oil and three card monte to the lost sheep who keep voting them in.

posted by: 1644 on August 10, 2017  5:23pm

Granted, it’s not a Chianti, but if Mauro doesn’t want some good wine, he should have his Italian name revoked. :)  I am glad to see there are some challengers to the DTC machine, both a few Republicans and some unaffiliated.  Voters should have choices when they go to the polls.  Personally, I think Greenberg et al. care about taxes, but not nearly as much as they care about getting Local 33.  He is more than willing to block tax lowering development to advance 33.

posted by: Noteworthy on August 10, 2017  6:13pm

Both of them need to upgrade their drinking habits.

posted by: robn on August 10, 2017  9:54pm

The idiocy and regression of the Republican National Party is quite clear to any reasonable person but nevertheless,, reasonable people should stop giving local Democrats a pass for their own bad behavior (specifically, coddling tiny minorities of suburban Yale unions who focus large quantities of energy/money on winning elections and then wielding that influence for their own special interest.)  If you’re union proud, be aware that the past 5 years of political behavior has, in the minds of reasonable people, put you in the same category of influence peddlers as the Koch brothers.)

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 11, 2017  8:56am

posted by: robn on August 10, 2017 9:54pm

If you’re union proud, be aware that the past 5 years of political behavior has, in the minds of reasonable people, put you in the same category of influence peddlers as the Koch brothers.)

To a right-winger, unions are awful. Why do right-wingers hate unions? Because collective bargaining is the power that a worker has against the corporation. Right-wingers hate that.

JANEANE GAROFALO, Majority Report, Jun. 3, 2005

The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., speech to AFL-CIO, Dec. 11, 1961

posted by: BevHills730 on August 11, 2017  10:44am

Robn…. consistently opposed to New Haven voters and electoral outcomes.

posted by: robn on August 11, 2017  10:55am


Sorry you don’t like my observations but you’re wrong. My voting was in line with about 50% of NHV voters last mayoral and and about 100% for all past presidential.

posted by: 1644 on August 11, 2017  7:54pm

3/5” In the case of public sector unions, the union bargaining power is not used against the interests of corporations or the wealthy proprietors.  It is used against the general public. For this reason, people like FDR opposed public sector unions.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 12, 2017  11:42pm

posted by: 1644 on August 11, 2017 7:54pm

3/5” In the case of public sector unions, the union bargaining power is not used against the interests of corporations or the wealthy proprietors.  It is used against the general public. For this reason, people like FDR opposed public sector unions.

True.But President John F. Kennedy on January 17, 1962 sign Executive Order 10988 recognized the right of federal employees to collective bargaining.In 1969 President Nixon expanded the rights provided under Executive Order 10988 issuing Executive Order 11491, which established an institutional framework to govern labor-management relations in the Federal Government, set forth specific unfair labor practices, and authorized the use of binding arbitration of certain disputes. Like Executive Order 10988, the Order contained provisions reserving certain rights to agency management.Your point?

posted by: robn on August 13, 2017  6:10am


The Democratic Party’s dirty little secret about Camelot is that Joe Kennedy swung a lot of dirty deals to get his son elected including getting union allies in Chicago to stuff ballot boxes. He establishing many quid pro quos for votes; most famously is the one you mentioned, allowing unionization of federal employees.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 13, 2017  12:07pm


My bad I forgot this one on FDR

Criticism of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Both during and after his presidential terms, and continuing today, there has been much criticism of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Critics have questioned not only his policies and positions but also charged him with centralizing power in his own hands by controlling both the government and the Democratic party. Many denounced his breaking the no-third-term tradition in 1940.[1]By the middle of his second term, much criticism of Roosevelt centered on fears that he was heading toward a dictatorship, by attempting to seize control of the Supreme Court in the Court-packing incident of 1937, attempting to eliminate dissent within the Democratic Party in the South during the 1938 mid-term elections, and by breaking the tradition established by George Washington of not seeking a third term when he again ran for re-election in 1940. As two historians explain, “In 1940, with the two-term issue as a weapon, anti-New Dealers… argued that the time had come to disarm the ‘dictator’ and to dismantle the machinery.”[2]Long after his death new lines of attack opened to attack his policies regarding helping the Jews of Europe,[3] incarcerating Japanese Americans on the West Coast,[4] and opposing anti-lynching legislation.[5]

Also FDR snubbed Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympics?

HITLER DIDN’T SNUB ME; IT WAS [FDR] WHO SNUBBED ME. THE PRESIDENT DIDN’T EVEN SEND ME A TELEGRAM.It was an election year, and FDR “did not want to be perceived as being soft on the negro issue,” says Harry Edwards, a sociologist and campaigner for Black participation in professional sports. The most decorated American athlete of the Games, Owens had to enter his own celebratory reception at the Waldorf Astoria through the freight elevator.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 13, 2017  12:21pm

posted by: robn on August 13, 2017 6:10am


The Democratic Party’s dirty little secret about Camelot is that Joe Kennedy swung a lot of dirty deals to get his son elected including getting union allies in Chicago to stuff ballot boxes. He establishing many quid pro quos for votes; most famously is the one you mentioned, allowing unionization of federal employees.

There are some crooked unions. But how the Crosscheck Scheme the GOP use to removing Blacks and Hispanics from Voter Rolls in Battleground States.

In an on-the-ground report from the battleground state of Ohio, investigative reporter Greg Palast has uncovered the latest in vote suppression tactics led by Republicans that could threaten the integrity of the vote in Ohio and North Carolina. On some polling machines, audit protection functions have been shut off, and African Americans and Hispanics are being scrubbed from the voter rolls through a system called Crosscheck. “It’s a brand-new Jim Crow,” Palast says. “Today, on Election Day, they’re not going to use white sheets to keep way black voters. Today, they’re using spreadsheets.” . . .

The GOP control the voting system

The power that gerrymandering has brought to Republicans

How Republicans Rig the Game
Through gerrymandering, voter suppression and legislative tricks, the GOP has managed to hold on to power while more and more Americans reject their candidates and their ideas

Part one.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 13, 2017  12:24pm

Part two. Look at where the Republicans get there money goodies from.

This Vulture-Fund Billionaire Is the GOP’s Go-To Guy on Wall Street
Meet the hard-charging, warship-seizing hedge fund mogul who has become congressional Republicans’ most powerful fundraiser.

When Republicans make their pilgrimages to Wall Street for money to help take back the Senate next year, there may be no hotter ticket than a party at Paul Singer’s. The 69-year-old hedge fund billionaire‘s co-op apartment at the Beresford, a hulking Italian Renaissance building on Central Park West whose celebrity residents have included Jerry Seinfeld, Glenn Close, and Helen Gurley Brown, can draw scads of high-finance players. The haul for a dinner event has been known to run to $1.4 million, and Singer himself has no trouble writing a $1 million check to a super-PAC. He’s been described as a “fundraising terrorist” for his persistence in twisting arms, a skill that has helped drive a major strategic shift among Big Finance donors, who favored Obama in 2008 but now overwhelmingly back the GOP.