Another GOP Candidate Name-Checks Harp

Paul Bass PhotoToni Harp may not be running for governor, but don’t tell that to the Republicans who are.

For the second time in eight days, a Republican gubernatorial candidate took a shot at New Haven’s Democratic mayor.

The latest salvo came Tuesday from self-financing David Stemerman, who issued a release savaging Harp for giving top aides a raise at the same time that the Board of Education sent out 1,100 layoff notices.

His release came a week after another Republican candidate, Tim Herbst, called out Harp by name from the stage of the Shubert during a debate over New Haven’s sanctuary city policies.

“The image of a mayor dolling out hundreds in thousands in taxpayer money to her inner circle, even as children in her city face growing waitlists for high quality public charters, is the epitome of what’s wrong in Connecticut today,” Stemerman was quoted saying in Tuesday’s release. “Our children deserve high-quality education, and instead our best charters – such as Achievement First in New Haven – are closing their doors due to chronic underfunding of $4,000 per student. And our taxpayers deserve more than tax hikes going directly to government bureaucrats who produce no results.

“This latest news underscores the stakes of this year’s elections: more self-serving Democratic rule to the benefit of political insiders, or a total change to save our state and make it work for the taxpayers, families and businesses.”

The release went on to describe a visit Stermerman made to New Haven’s charter Amistad High School; it praised charters and accused “Hartford insiders” of “severely underfunding high-quality public charters – resulting in longer and longer waitlists and schools closing their doors.”

Harp has defended the raises, noting that most of the aides had not received any raises for years and that these raises are commensurate with those given to unionized supervisors.

Here’s what she had to say when asked Wednesday about Stemerman’s release: “I never met Mr. Stemerman. He doesn’t know anything about New Haven. His remarks show that he is a rookie candidate.”

Meanwhile, Amistad High Principal Morgan Barth said there is no danger of the school closing its doors.

“While we at Amistad will always advocate to be funded at the same levels as other schools, our doors will remain open. There is no present threat to Amistad closing,” Barth wrote in an email message.

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posted by: Noteworthy on June 27, 2018  8:33am

Educate This Notes:

1. I get the intent, but the message was wrong.

2. Our schools are not underfunded - the charters are. The public schools are rolling in the fat.

3. The raises were a slap in the face of taxpayers not because of layoffs in the schools. There should be layoffs. There should be school closures and consolidations. The NHPS has been used as an employment agency for the connected and to build up the middle class in New Haven.

4. The slap at taxpayers is to saddle us with all those tax increases as state senator - history making tax increases at the state level - and then come home to CT and make irrational and reckless spending decisions and saddle us with $30 million in tax hikes - the now infamous 11%.

5. The GOP should study up on this stuff a little more.

posted by: jim1 on June 27, 2018  9:40am

Any Rep. has my vote.  Unless a Dem. primary beats Toni. Then that person has my vote.

posted by: ClassActionToo on June 27, 2018  9:50am

“His remarks show that he is a rookie candidate.” Harp’s action shows that she is an unimaginative, unintelligent veteran tool of
the “tax it to death”  school of politics.

posted by: RobotShlomo on June 27, 2018  11:30am

A corporate Democrat calling a trickle down Republican a “rookie”? HAH!! There’s a Lewis Black bit about a the Republicans are a party of bad ideas, and the Democrats are a party of NO ideas. I can’t think of a more apt description.

posted by: 1644 on June 27, 2018  12:05pm

Stemerman may be a rookie, but he understands that this election will be about suburbs versus cities.  Most suburbanites understand that cities have greater needs than most suburbs, but chafe at the waste and corruption in urban politics.  Harp makes herself, and New Haven, an easy target using police drivers when police overtime is out of control, with using a spokesman to speak for her rather than just speaking herself, with junkets to China, etc.  Herbst, the likely Republican nominee, has been explicit that he doesn’t expect to appeal to many in the cities.  Rather, he hopes to win suburbs like Branford which Folley lost.  Living in New Haven, it’s easy to forget that Trump tied in Milford and won in East Haven.

posted by: ctddw on June 27, 2018  1:02pm

Harp must be the rookie if she thinks people aren’t tired of already being taxed to death. Then on top of that the city snuck in an extra motor vehicle tax at the end of 2017 and are still raising taxes. We have lousy roads with a very limited repaving schedule and school cuts but somehow she found plenty of money for raises. Preposterous.

posted by: Jeff Klaus on June 27, 2018  5:03pm

While Morgan is right that there is no “present” threat of Amistad closing its doors,  David Stemerman is absolutely spot on to focus on the inequitable public funding policies that disadvantage charters in this state. 

Hopefully the Janus SCOTUS decision today will help to level the playing field for parents and students who want to exercise their right to choose the school that they attend.

posted by: cellardoor on June 27, 2018  7:52pm

1644, excellent analysis of the situation.

Just returned from a citizens’ meeting re: this year’s budget: unfortunately, a number of relatively uninformed residents lining up to rip into those few alders who DID actually step up and vote against the new budget (see under: “Shoot the Messenger”), and who attended the meeting in order to provide information and thoughts about a way forward.  The People of New Haven need to recognize that we all are in this boat,  and that there is no substitute for showing up, listening, and offering constructive thoughts.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 28, 2018  12:04am

If Mayor Harp thinks ‘rookie’ is an insult, just look at where her ‘experience’ has gotten us!

posted by: observer1 on June 28, 2018  6:20am

At this point, ANYBODY but Harp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!