Stratton Bolts From The Un-Machine

Paul Bass PhotoLess that a week after a new slate of aldermanic candidates announced it was taking aim at the union-backed political “machine,” one member has already jumped ship, saying labor unions have co-opted the organization.

The slate, called Take Back New Haven (TBNH), comprises several aldermanic candidates who last Sunday unveiled a platform to combat what they described as a “machine”-dominated city government.

TBNH targets the labor-backed supermajority on the Board of Aldermen who came to power in 2012. Democrats affiliated with Yale’s UNITE HERE union locals took control of the Democratic Town Committee shortly thereafter.

Thomas MacMillan PhotoOn Friday, attorney Mike Stratton (pictured), a founding TBNH aldermanic candidate in Ward 19 (which includes portions of East Rock and Newhallville), quit the organization. In a press release, he blasted two TBNH founders for signing on to work with state Sen. Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign. The Harp campaign is backed by Yale unions, the very “machine” that Stratton said TBNH was formed to work against. Stratton had a featured speaking spot at TBNH’s founding event Sunday. He said UNITE HERE’s top brass “has abused their leadership” while not doing “anything of value for this city. ... We’re here to take back New Haven. Not so another group can control New Haven.”

Downtown Alderman Doug Hausladen, who heads up the TBNH coalition, said Friday that the group has never been about the mayor’s race, but is focused only on aldermanic races. He pointed out that one of the TBNH candidates has already openly endorsed Harp for mayor. He called Stratton’s departure a “blip” in TBNH’s growth.

In addition to Hausladen, TBNH includes Dwight aldermanic candidate Greg Smith, Wooster Square aldermanic candidate Peter Webster, East Rock aldermanic candidate Anna Festa, and Bella Vista aldermanic candidate Patricia DePalma.

In his press release, Stratton stated that he initially joined TBNH at Hausladen’s urging, who had formed the group with Hausladen’s “campaign managers and friends Chris Campbell and Michael Harris,” who were also then working for the mayoral campaign of state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield.

“This posed no conflict as they all believed in the democracy fund and transparency in campaign financing, and also vowed not to use TBNH to further the Elicker or Holder-Winfield campaigns,” Stratton said.

Then Holder-Winfield dropped out of the race and “the Harp campaign, financed and staffed by UNITE HERE representatives, hired both Campbell and Harris,” Stratton said. “This was a masterful move on the part of UNITE HERE and Harp. The purchased the core of TBNH.

“More disheartening was that Campbell and Harris did not disclose their hiring by Harp/UNITE HERE to me. In fact, their joint company, DHRU, continues still to advise TBNH and recommend candidates to TBNH.”

Stratton said he was “outraged” when he learned about the hiring on Wednesday.

“This is an object lesson for a political newcomer like myself,” he said. “I do not want to continue to be affiliated with a group now so closely aligned with the very machine I was trying to fight against. The very point of TBNH was to break UNITE HERE’s supermajority control of the BOA.”

Far from being the “core of TBNH,” Campbell said, he never formally worked for the organization. He said he and Harris (a Yale student) “did help bring a couple of candidates in” and assisted with planning, Campbell said.

Campbell said he hasn’t done any work for TBNH since Holder-Winfield dropped out of the mayor’s race the Wednesday before, four days before TBNH’s public debut. He said he and Harris have signed on as volunteers for the Harp campaign.

“There is no dynamic that changed Wednesday to Sunday that wasn’t in effect from Sunday to now,” Campbell said. “If he had second thoughts, he shouldn’t have come out on Sunday.”

Campbell said he would see no conflict even if he were to work for both the Harp campaign and TBNH. “Absolutely not. They’re two completely different fields.”

TBNH was never about opposed to Harp, Campbell said. “[TBNH-backed candidate] Greg Smith has openly endorsed Toni Harp. There are Toni Harp endorsers on their slate.”

TBNH is focused on aldermanic campaigns, not the mayor’s race, he said. Besides, it doesn’t make sense to take on Harp, he said. “You can’t win in this city running against Toni Harp, even in aldermanic races. That would be foolish.”

Hausladen said it “saddens” him that Stratton has left TBNH” “Take Back New Haven has this blip in our growth, but every coalition grows with growing pains.”

Hausladen said Campbell and Harris are no longer working for his campaign and are no longer involved with TBNH.

Hausladen also said TBNH is focused exclusively on aldermanic races. “This is not about city clerk. This is not about the mayor of New Haven. This is about people in neighborhoods.”

Webster, the TBNH candidate for alderman in Wooster Square, shrugged off the news of Stratton’s departure. He said it doesn’t bother him that Campbell and Harris have joined the Harp campaign.

“That doesn’t concern me. Mr. Stratton can do what he wants,” he said. “And the fact that people work for different organizations doesn’t mean that they can’t have full focus on what they’re doing.”

Webster said TBNH is not against organized labor. “Some people have said it’s anti-union. I don’t get that. I have been a union member since 1970.” He said he’s a member of Actors’ Equity.

Meanwhile, Harp campaign manager Jason Bartlett had this to say about the imbroglio: “That’s the power of the Harp campaign. We’re pulling people together.”

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posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on July 5, 2013  3:47pm

Man.  Can’t tell the players without a scorecard.

Stay tuned, I guess ...

posted by: TheWizard on July 5, 2013  4:29pm

Word on the street is that Stratton will not be the last to leave this group….many are disappointed to learn that this program is a ploy to secretly funnel support and $$ to the Harp campaign

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 5, 2013  5:12pm

Like I said.He must be on the phone with the Koch Brothers asking them for advice.I smell Tea Party. Spoked like a true One percenter.Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth.—Lucy Parsons.

P.S.Hey my main my Robin.Are you going to blame the unions for this.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 5, 2013  5:21pm

can I say how much I love this man? My god! I have limited trust in our political system because most do not have the balls to speak the truth, to many become followers and start protecting there ass’s instead of the people they swore to represent. And over the years I have come across some that have impressed me. Mike you have made that list! Bravo!
The idea of the group was one I believe in but it does appear that it was being highjacked.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 5, 2013  6:13pm

Can I add one of the reasons I like mike for the sake of my little fraction….he grew up here. He comes from an average New Haven family.  He came back here and he invests not only in the economy but the community and non profits. And yes he is one of the lucky ones that found success… but my view of success does not have to do with a bank account but what you do once you have one. Mike has proven again and again he knows where he comes from and has not forgotten! To me that is what we strive for in New Haven, our children to become successful and to keep it here and not move away!

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 5, 2013  7:20pm

Campbell: “You can’t win in this city running against Toni Harp”. Well, there you have it. Time to pack up and go home, everyone. Or time to start a new political party… (And no, you can’t call it the Green Party; today that would sound like it’s focused on global warming rather than cronyism and municipal corruption.)

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 5, 2013  8:44pm

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 5, 2013 6:13pm
Can I add one of the reasons I like mike for the sake of my little fraction….he grew up here. He comes from an average New Haven family.  He came back here and he invests not only in the economy but the community and non profits

“Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
― Adam Smith

When wealthy people give money to charity, they reap outsized rewards.As far as non-profits,Non-profits are exploitive, punitive and merely a tax haven for the rich who sit by their heated pool and collect dividends.

posted by: Indigo on July 5, 2013  11:09pm

TBNH is a courageous and necessary movement, which independent-minded voters should embrace. Mike Stratton seems like a loose canon and unreliable partner. Thank you, Doug and colleagues, for pushing ahead. You have my vote.

posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on July 6, 2013  12:19am

I was going to contribute money to TBNH, but not now. I will contribute to Strattons campaign.

posted by: Community_Activist on July 6, 2013  1:10am

Stratton is right to bolt….Campbell and Harris should not be working for two groups because at the end of the day whether that want to believe TBNH and the Harp campaign are two separate groups they really aren’t, if they are collecting a check from the Harp campaign are they really going to help a candidate like Greg Smith who the Harp campaign is not supporting? The answer is no, they wouldn’t. Sen. Harp should also be careful with who her campaign hires who says these two guys will be loyal to her campaign.

posted by: Curious on July 6, 2013  8:08am

This is why career politics is a bad idea.

Need to pay rent and buy food will always trump ideology for 90% of the population.

Term limits now.

posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on July 6, 2013  11:00am

“Campbell said he would see no conflict even if he were to work for both the Harp campaign and TBNH. “Absolutely not. They’re two completely different fields.”

What a joke. Duplicitous politician.

Vote Andy Ross in Wooster Square!

posted by: Razzie on July 6, 2013  11:39am


Again I am amused. You feel that Mr. Trial Lawyer is truly a humble “man of the people”, yet you complain that Toni Harp is a sell out because she has a nice house. Go figure!

posted by: AyJoe on July 6, 2013  2:54pm

“Downtown Alderman Doug Hausladen, who heads up the TBNH coalition, said Friday that the group has never been about the mayor’s race, but is focused only on aldermanic races.”

Short sighted.  And pretty much invalidates just about everything he’s done or said in regards to this new group of his.  Bad politicking. Or he’s ignorant?  All good reason to not vote for him. 

Who from Unite Here is challenging him?

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 6, 2013  10:54pm

I think you are wrong I think Doug was spot on starting up this group, as do alot of New Haveners. How could he have guessed that this would happen. And I personally think the two guys that were supporting Gary were just following him and I can not judge them for that (although I am disappointed in Gary). But what does bother me is these two guys knew prior to the announcement that they were jumping on to the “New Machines” pillage quest. I think they, if honorable men should of been more honest. It “appears” they may have thought that they could of used this group to help Harp with info they got from it. Remembering that most of harps donors are people who do not vote here.

posted by: beyonddiscussion on July 7, 2013  1:30am

Well it’s true. The take back folk are definitely not a machine. More like the keystone cops. They make Harp look better and better. And siding with Scott Walker, the Kochs and Mayor John in running against unions and working people is not the turf I’d want to stake out. Not when working stiffs are getting steamrolled like never before by the fatcats.

posted by: robn on July 7, 2013  10:19am

Would’ve been a funnier title if it read,

Stratton Un-Bolts From The Un-Machine

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 7, 2013  10:59am

I disagree I think this shows how shady some folks can be and the true need for this group is even more apparent.
As for your union pointyou are trying to make (or twist)...again trying to turn this into a all unions thing is misinformation. It is not about all unions it is about ONE union! And you know that! Again more misinformation to try to draw attention away from what this rouge union is doing to the working people of New Haven..and trust it is not for the people of New Haven it is for their contract and control of Yale. I am a BIG supporter of unions,,,again all but the leaders of this one…not its members!...and more about their political organizing group who stepped far over the line of unions involvement in local politics…SHAMFUL that they are the sole group giving unions a bad name.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 7, 2013  11:22am

I am again going to try to post a response to Razzies joke of a comment.

Razzie in short (because our editor will not post what I previously responded with)First.. I never called Harp a sellout on this sight. Maybe some other folks but not harp. Second I can care less what she owes she worked for it. I have issues with the FACT that she said that the half million dollar home in Bethany is not were she lives…(but where she has partys) to me and many others that just seems like a load of bunk. So twist it if you must but that FACT is what I have issue with, not the fact that she owns 2 half million dollar homes. And the million dollar taxes owed by her “husband” tat she “did not know about”...and other FACT.

Another FACT is that Stratton is a good man, a good New Haven man that kept it here. I personally do find that to be admirable.

Hey Razzie hugs!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 7, 2013  11:50am

For the union haters

It’s the Inequality, Stupid

Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America.

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Like I said One percenters.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 7, 2013  5:10pm

Re. those One Percenters: A college economics class had insisted upon the need to redistribute wealth so that no one would be poor and no one would be rich. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade, so no one will fail but no one will receive an A.”
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. For the second test, the students who previously had studied little now studied even less and those who previously had studied hard decided they also wanted a free ride, so they likewise studied little.
The second test average was a D. No one was happy. When the 3rd test was graded, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased. Blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To the students’ great surprise, ALL FAILED the class. The professor explained that when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Thus:
1. You cannot create economic equality and legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.                            4. Equalization ultimately creates only a uniformity of mediocrity.
[extensively adapted by me from unknown source]

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 7, 2013  6:25pm

@ Christopher Schaefer.[extensively adapted by me from unknown source]

Sorry what you copy was a urban are my source.

The Tale of the Economics Professor



posted by: beyonddiscussion on July 7, 2013  6:28pm

Let’s take a look at some of the changes brought by the new coalition that swept in 18 months ago. Finally, the Mayor was forced to get in a hands-on police chief and bring back community policing; finally the Mayor was forced to get rid of a troublesome tax assessor; finally a law was passed saying city services had to be equally dispensed to all areas of the city and could no longer be doled out by the Mayor; finally the Mayor was forced to stop bashing city employees and sit down peaceably with them to settle contracts; finally there are checks-and-balances in place and real discussions happening. We can all see how much better the city is only 18 months later. So what exactly is the beef and what exactly is going to be “taken back”?

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 7, 2013  7:49pm

Actually the discussion below this story version [link supplied by ThreeFifths] is, I think, more interesting than any of the various versions or analyses of the story itself:

posted by: robn on July 7, 2013  8:33pm


Then why does the UNITE coalition still coordinate subversively? Just today I saw a candidate flyer with ZERO mention of the coalition. Everything published by those candidates should identify UNITE as their centralized coordinator.

posted by: Eddie on July 7, 2013  11:43pm

So TBNH can’t even hold a coalition together for more than a week? How on earth do we expect these people to actually move New Haven forward in any coherent direction?  Aside from slandering unions, it doesn’t seem like much holds these individuals together.  Although we all love a good conspiracy story, it would be very odd for Unite Here to hire Campbell, given that he recently ran an on the anti-union platform himself.  I would love for the NHI or Stratton to offer some proof that Unite Here hired Campbell. 

Paul, do you know if the Stratton family is going to ask Hausladen to return their donations to his campaign?  It looks like they were quite generous to him. 

I thought the NHI was maintaining a neutral stance on the question of machines.  Personally, I think this is wrong given that the NHI has not written a single article indicating that the BOA has engaged in any of the “bad machine activities” listed by the NHI.  In contrast, it has produced a many articles noting the BOA’s progressive accomplishments.  Still, the NHI can hardly maintain a stance of neutrality when failing term tbnh as the “Un-machine” without quotes.  This is their campaign rhetoric and nothing more.  I’m no journalist but if was to title this article it would be something like,  “Trial Lawyer and Elicker Chief Fundraiser throws tantrum because “freethinking” campaign consultants support Harp”.  Perhaps too wordy but the professionals could increase the eloquence, while keeping the gist.

posted by: Curious on July 8, 2013  8:02am


Show me one shred of evidence that shows it was the doing of the BoA that got all those changes made.

posted by: robn on July 8, 2013  8:29am


Does taking orders from suburban union leader Bob Proto make one a “free thinker”?

posted by: HhE on July 8, 2013  11:40am

I am a big fan of Doug, and I think there is a lot to TBNH. 

I do think two mistakes were made.

The first was was not having a provision that said, our candidates may support any mayoral candidate that is a Democracy Fund participant.

Second was restricting their support to Democrats. 

Eddie, the challenge non machine base groups have is their decentralisation of decision making, and the lack of discipline of party whips and all that.  As a Celt that hates fascism, I am cool with that. 

beyonddiscussion, I credit JK for community policing.  His nearly successful campaign compelled JD to do his job.  The UNTE BoA can take credit for taking control of sidewalks and tree trimming out of the hands of the mayor, but that is not much to write home about.  The new system is no less corrupt, no more effective, and they borrowed $100k for a year of tree trimming.  Did you know that trees continue to grow.

That Christopher Schaefer’s anecdote is an urban legend is of no great moment.  It serves to illustrate an idea.

3/5ths, are you familiar with this Adam Smith quote?  “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”

At the end of the day, I believe the BoA ought to serve the people of New Haven.

posted by: robn on July 8, 2013  2:10pm

CS’s thought exercise is funny but a bit extreme because in the context of the US, unions have made a difference in highly dangerous and exploitative industries. That being said, New Haven’s story fits well within this ridiculous narrative because its one of the few places in the world where a line cook (Yale Dining Halls) makes $70,000/yr. This is in no way limited to our city as in the case of many Metro North conductors who get paid upwards of $150,000/yr to punch holes in paper. In these particular cases we DO have the promotion of mediocrity over achievement.

posted by: accountability on July 8, 2013  6:04pm

robn, it’s really a waste of time to engage in this discussion with you because your views are not amenable to facts, but I’ve got two minutes, so what the hell, I’ll take the bait. Not sure what you mean by a “line cook”, but first cooks at Yale do make about $70,000 straight time, one of the highest paid jobs in Local 35.

And what do they do for the money? They run huge kitchens with dozens of staff—far bigger than any head chef in any restaurant in the city. They coordinate the creation of menus and the production of hundreds of meals every day, on time, and among the best food in the city. They do it through a national award-winning sustainable cooking operation which meets hard targets for locally produced and grown food, helping local farmers and food producers. In fact, they struggle to hit their sustainability goals because local farms and producers often can’t meet the demand.

I’d eat in the Silliman Dining Hall every day if I was allowed to [not a Yalie, so I’ve only eaten there three times by invite], where chef Stu Comen is a national spokesperson for sustainability in institutional food preparation, and a brilliant cook. I have no idea what you’re paid for whatever it is you do for a living, but the Yale First Cooks are leaders on the job, an amazing group of people who produce home cooked meals for hundreds of people every day. They’re underpaid if you ask me, the equals of Executive Chefs in the best restaurants in the state.

But, really, who cares about all that? Bust em all to minimum wage so, what, Yale can add a few cents to its endowment? Boolah boolah.

posted by: robn on July 8, 2013  9:42pm


Ignoring the value of the lavish family medical package, and ignoring the generous retirement benefits, and ignoring the fact that $70K/yr is 2X the median local salary, and ignoring the fact that $70K/yr straight time can easily translate into $100K/yr with a modest amount of weekly OT, $70K/yr means that the minimum wage horse has left the barn about four times; so cut the UNITE propaganda.

Meanwhile, recent education, healthcare and other professional grads in their 20’s are unemployed to the tune of 20%-30% at the same time that they are saddled with record education debt. See any connection?

(and please don’t dig up that old bone of Yale dipping into their endowment…it’s getting very worn.)

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 8, 2013  9:51pm

Back to the “un-machine” topic, folks in East Haven and Orange finally have figured out what needs to happen here in New Haven: “The Independent Party of East Haven was formed in January…‘There has got to be a reason why there are so many unaffiliated (voters) out there, and I think it’s because they don’t want to be a part of either side’…citing the recent formation of an Independent Party in Orange”.
You can’t pretend to be an “alternative” to The Machine—while still being part of it.

posted by: HhE on July 8, 2013  10:03pm

NHI, I am trying to square your “Wail away at public figures’ policies and records and article subjects’ and other commenters’ quotations. Ixnay on the personal attacks.” with accountability’s “’s really a waste of time to engage in this discussion with you because your views are not amenable to facts,...”

Well, at least it is not as bad as the stuff you let though here.

posted by: Eddie on July 8, 2013  11:38pm

Stratton takes his allegations to a whole new level on twitter, where he claims that “Haulsaden’s Take Back New Haven Group” is now controlled by Harp/Unite Here.  So Justin Elicker’s Chief Fundraiser is alleging Haulsaden and gang are union puppets!?!  I have always stated that these union conspiracy theories are absurd.  I thought Stratton took this absurdity to its limit when he alleged that Unite Here hired Campbell.  Yet we reach a new threshold for pure conspiracy theory ridiculousness.

Should Elicker be elected, how can we expect him to manage an administration when his Chief Fundraiser is publicly slandering his strongest ally on the BOA?

posted by: robn on July 9, 2013  8:39am


Ahem….Then how do you explain THIS?

Link to full article below, second photo down, caption reads “Toni Harp arrived with staffer Chris Campbell.”

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 9, 2013  9:49am

posted by: HhE on July 8, 2013 11:40am

3/5ths, are you familiar with this Adam Smith quote?  “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”

And a letter written by Benjamin Franklin, here is part of what he said.Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men, a post of honour that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.

posted by: HhE on July 9, 2013  9:57am

Eddie, since Justin Elicker is a Democracy Fund candidate, how is Atty. Stratton his chef fund raiser?  Unless he got every member of his family 18 and over to pony up $370.  Then may be.

I have been told by someone who knows just about everyone that Atty. Stratton tends to open his mouth too fast.  If this is so, it is just one more reason to never have a Twitter account.

posted by: TheWizard on July 9, 2013  10:23am

sorry to pile on Eddie, but gross mis-statements need to be corrected.  Where do you get the idea that Stratton is Elicker’s ‘Chief Fundraiser’?  He’s not listed on the website, he’s not the campaign manager, he’s not the treasurer.  As a supporter of a candidate committed to the Democracy Fund, Mr Stratton can contribute up to $370 to Mr Elicker’s campaign….which is less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the $100,000+ that Justin has raised. 

Wouldn’t it be great if this election were about facts rather than allegations?

posted by: accountability on July 9, 2013  12:26pm

robn: it’s not propaganda. Non-union jobs in institutional food service pay minimum wage or barely more, with no benefits. So when you attack Local 35’s economic package, that’s what you’re advocating. You’re not a Soviet economic czar who can dictate the precise “fair wage” for other people. In the real world of real universities, the choice is between abusive jobs usually subcontracted to a global food service corporation with poverty wages or some minimal level of decency, and, in rare cases like at Yale, a shot at a decent career.

The First Cook job is the highest paid in the dining halls. There are very few of them. You work up to it through training and promotion. The fact that after several decades you can work yourself up to double the average wage in a city suffering from long term chronic poverty is a sign of a fair contract and that unionized work at Yale is a pretty effective anti-poverty program. But by all means, keep sneering at decent employment.

And, no, there’s no connection at all. Young people don’t have jobs because a series of deregulatory policies over the past 30 years—financial services deregulation, trade agreements that favor asset ownership over labor, deunionization, regressive tax policy, among many others—have shattered the link between productivity and wages, transferring the wealth created by labor radically upward and hollowing out the economy. There are jobs for young educated people, they’re just part time, low wage, no benefit jobs that can’t possibly pay back the staggering debt load that students are left with.

It has nothing to do with the fact that in New Haven you can get an entry level food service job that might plausibly support your family and have the opportunity to work your way up and actually have a career, taking on more responsibility and yes, earning more money over time.

See you on the doors.

posted by: robn on July 9, 2013  12:46pm


In my opinion the Yale union contracts are excessively generous and don’t represent value, they represent aggressive opportunism (agree or we’ll shut Yale down). To tell you the truth I really didn’t care until UNITE saw fit to forward its own interests (and the interests of its mostly suburban membership) by steamrolling its way into control of New Haven government. By that I mean excessive expenditure of time and manpower to propagandize its candidates while concealing their affiliation.

posted by: accountability on July 9, 2013  1:11pm

robn: Okay, so you don’t like well-paid service employment. We get it.

And your idea of economic justice is “take whatever the boss gives you.” We get it.

Oh, and fwiw, the union’s name is UNITE HERE. UNITE was a union that merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees [HERE] to form the current union. The New Haven locals have never been affiliated with UNITE.

See you on the doors.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 9, 2013  2:18pm

posted by: robn on July 8, 2013 2:10pm
CS’s thought exercise is funny but a bit extreme because in the context of the US, unions have made a difference in highly dangerous and exploitative industries. That being said, New Haven’s story fits well within this ridiculous narrative because its one of the few places in the world where a line cook (Yale Dining Halls) makes $70,000/yr. This is in no way limited to our city as in the case of many Metro North conductors who get paid upwards of $150,000/yr to punch holes in paper. In these particular cases we DO have the promotion of mediocrity over achievement

And how about CEOs who’ve gotten walk-away packages of $100 million and up Those packages included stock option profits, full-value stock awards, salary and bonuses, benefits from health care to country club membership, pensions.

You remember these guys.

Hostess employees get 8% pay cut, management gets $1.8m bonuses.

You union haters and taxpayers are crying about city and state pension pay out.How about your tax payer dollars paying for this.

Taxpayers to pay $3.5m to Lockheed ex–CEO fired before taking job.

And it was not the unions that destroyed the middle class.It was the private sector which got money from the goverment.In their latest book, The Betrayal of the American Dream, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele present a compelling case that America’s middle class is in danger of extinction unless our government reverses course on major policies it has pursued over the last four decades. These include huge tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy.

posted by: Eddie on July 9, 2013  2:25pm

The NHI reported that Stratton “serves as Elicker’s campaign fundraising chief” (

Recently Stratton was able to comment on the total funds raised by Elicker before this information was released to the public (

I don’t know how many people are in the Stratton household, but the family has been very generous to Elicker (

These are the facts.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 9, 2013  2:26pm

Part two.
Republicans and Democrats have been complicit in the process of handing over the country - its wealth and its policy-making processes—to the new ruling class, the ultra-rich. This tiny minority - one percent - has been pouring money into the political process, as well as propaganda mechanisms like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, in ever greater amounts for no other reason than to promote the policies that benefit it. The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, in effect, legitimized this unlimited - and anonymous - domination of big money in politics, at the expense of ordinary voters.Their overwhelming political clout has enabled the largest corporations and the wealthiest individuals to rig the tax system to an astonishing degree, with some managing to pay no taxes at all. While wage and salary earners can pay up to 39 percent in federal taxes, the wealthy typically pay only 15 percent on their income.Sitting in banks in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore, and other tax-friendly jurisdictions is a staggering amount of money - an estimated $2 trillion, a sum equal to all the money spent by all the states combined every year, or more than half the size of the annual federal budget.

Read the book for more.So robin show me how the unions destroyed the middleclass.

My Bad Hey Robin.What is up with this.And banks donot have unions.

Holder Claims He Can’t Prosecute the the Banks Because It Would Negatively Impact the Global Economy

Submitted by Robert Oak on March 7, 2013 - 5:32pm

posted by: streever on July 9, 2013  3:31pm

According to the article you’ve posted, people named “Stratton” have given Elicker 1850 total.

Elicker has raised 143,000, making that 1.2% of money raised.

I think that Mike Stratton saying something which may be incorrect on Twitter has less than a 1.2% impact on Elicker’s ability to be Mayor.

I think you’re jumping the gun on this a little bit. Let’s wait until tomorrow, when Elicker & Harp release their actual contributors, and we see that the majority of Harp’s financial support comes from elsewhere—and the majority of Elicker’s lives right in New Haven.

posted by: Eddie on July 9, 2013  4:39pm


I honestly didn’t know that describing Mike Stratton’s role in Elicker’s campaign would prove so controversial.  I thought he was respected and liked by Elicker and popular with his supporters.  The NHI termed him chief of fundraising, not me.  In a different article the NHI reported, “Stratton has emerged on the political scene this year as a major fundraiser for and strong supporter of Alderman Justin Elicker’s campaign for mayor.”(  The NHI has also reported that he hosted a fundraiser at his house.  Clearly Stratton is working within the campaign, if he knew the donation totals and made a statement on them to the press before they were released to the public.

posted by: robn on July 9, 2013  10:43pm


Why are you continuously trying to conceal the interlocking connections between union supermajority political campaigns and various union powerplayers in the region?

Pay attention taxpayers, this is what the unions don’t want you to know and why they don’t mention their affiliation on their campaign flyers.

But don’t just believe me, check out this press release mentioning “UNITE HERE Local 35 Bob Proto”...the capo di tuto capi.

If the link is dead, imagine why.

posted by: HhE on July 9, 2013  11:06pm

Just a thought or two accountability, if “See you on the doors.” includes Newhallville.  Do not knock on doors or come on people’s poarches at night—only trusted friends and the police do that.  Also, do leave the anger at home.  It is tiresome.

posted by: streever on July 10, 2013  7:24am

I don’t quite follow you—there seems to be a contradiction. You seemed enthusiastic about linking Elicker & Stratton in a negative way, but now defensive and prickly when others point out that there probably isn’t much of a link there.

I don’t think your comment was particularly controversial, just a bit misleading: as I said, Harp has around 20% of her campaign contributions from New Haven.

Elicker has over 70% from New Haven.

I offer that as a more relevant and important stat than 1.2 of his contributions coming from Stratton, not to incite controversy, but to point out that he is doing a better job getting the local electorate to rally around him with small donations. Take it or leave it.

posted by: Eddie on July 10, 2013  9:51am


There is no contradiction.  I’m not defensive nor prickly.  I’m certainly not enthusiastic about any connection between Stratton and Elicker.  I never claimed that the primary connection between Elicker and Stratton was the direct donations from people with the last name of Stratton, although they have been generous.  My claim is that Stratton is working within the Elicker campaign as a fundraiser, chief of fundraising according to the NHI.  Note that you have not disputed nor addressed this claim!!             

My concern continues to be that someone within the Elicker campaign and a close ally of Justin is publicly trashing Elicker’s strongest ally on the BOA with misinformation.

posted by: streever on July 10, 2013  10:39am


Volunteers are volunteers, you can’t account for their every idea or statement, you know? As to my not responding to your assertion: I don’t know the answer, so I’m not taking up the question. I’m sorry if it seems like a duck, but I’m just engaging you on the issues I had thoughts on, and not on the issue I don’t know anything about.

I assume that if Stratton is important to Elicker and is still an active volunteer, they have discussed the issue.

I wouldn’t expect a Mayoral candidate to publicly weigh in when two people he works with have a disagreement.

That is why I’m a little surprised that you’re pressing the issue—it feels like much ado about something that may be nothing. For all I know, Stratton no longer volunteers for Elicker, or he does, and Elicker is talking to him about the disagreement with Hausladen.

I just don’t know, and I don’t think anyone commenting here knows, so I assume if you’re honestly looking for information you’ve emailed Elicker or Stratton to ask them.

Asking here feels like more of a dig, or a cheap shot—“Look that guy is in trouble”—but I don’t think he is in any real trouble because of this, and I haven’t seen you make that case convincingly. It just looks like mud slinging or gossip, which is why I said I think this might be a bit premature, and it seems a bit contradictory, like you’re saying one thing but implying another, you know?

posted by: Eddie on July 10, 2013  11:23am


I’m only referencing NHI articles and describing the situation as I see it.  So far, you have failed to show that anything I have written is inaccurate.  There is no need to guess at what I am implying, just read my comments.  If you think it is a “cheap shot” to describe Stratton the chief of fundraising for the Elicker campaign, then ask the NHI for a retraction. 

You are free to think that my concern is misplaced.  Still, I find this behavior disconcerting.  My hope is that the volunteers, particularly key volunteers, of any campaign would engage more collaboratively and constructively.  Honestly, it is a pretty low bar to hope that a candidate’s volunteers don’t spread harmful misinformation about a candidate’s elected allies.  If you don’t think this is an issue of any importance, then it is easy enough to ignore my comments.

posted by: streever on July 10, 2013  1:46pm

I don’t think you are personally concerned: I think you are trying to criticize Elicker in any way you can, and this is just the latest stratagem. You may disagree with my assessment of your actions, but I can only go off what you’ve written, and what seems likely to me based on your statements and actions.

You may think that I’m making a wild leap in that assumption, and if so, so be it: we are both entitled to our opinions.

I’ll keep waiting on the donor lists from Harp & Elicker. I suspect that Elicker deriving 70% or more of his support from New Haven residents versus Harp deriving under 30% is more relevant than the fact that a volunteer said something which can be criticized on Twitter.

Both you and I support political opponents, and I’d say we’ve both said some things on NHI—and probably elsewhere—that don’t credit our clear intellect. I also would say that we haven’t cost anyone any votes by not always saying things that reflect our intellect.

posted by: Eddie on July 10, 2013  3:31pm


I applaud Justin’s ambition and truly believe that he has been engaged in New Haven in many positive ways.  You will note that I recently praised his and Jorge’s work on the illegal dirt biking issue. 

But he and his campaign also have their weaknesses. I find the machine rhetoric that many of his allies use to be needlessly alienating.  Just as I don’t doubt the sincerity of Justin’s commitment to New Haven, I also do not doubt sincerity of his colleagues on the BOA or of Harp.  When I see someone, who has played an important role in Elicker’s campaign, question the sincerity of even Elicker’s closest allies on the BOA, it raises a red flag for me.  I think Justin has an opportunity to show leadership and advocate for more respectful and responsible rhetoric.  There have been now multiple instances in which Stratton has used misinformation and irresponsible rhetoric to attack people who are working on a daily basis to improve New Haven. 

Perhaps you are right and Elicker has talked to him about this.  Yet as of today, Stratton’s tweet still stands.  I think it was written on the 5th.  Perhaps you are right and Justin has given Stratton the boot.  I certainly look forward to reading that article in the NHI and will give credit where credit is due.

posted by: HhE on July 10, 2013  11:56pm

Eddie, part of me says to myself, “Self, you ought to let this go.  Eddie is making too much of this, and more ink only adds to that.”  Yet, ask 3/5th or anon, I do not like to let poor argumentation stand.

Before you look at the relationships, in order to critique one or two of the personalities, so you can take issue with Justin Elicker, let’s take a step back.

Looking at the strategy objectives (no operational or tactical yet) of each personality, without considering their relationship will provide an important insight.

What is Justin’s?  Transparency in government, sensible spending, quality of life issues.  What is Doug about?  Transparency in government, sensible spending, quality of life issues.  What is Mr. Stratton’s goal?  (I cannot claim to be on a first name basis.)  Clearly sensible spending.  We can probably add transparency in government and quality of life issues.

Now we can turn to the operational level.  How does one advance these aims?  Make common cause with like-minded personalities. 

The fund raising, the use of twitter, and all that is just tactical.  Unlike the movement and candidates you have advocated for, none of this is centrally controlled. 

Doug made a mistake at the operational level:  not hashing out the details of how TBNH would move forward.  Mr. Stratton made a tactical mistake:  saying something on twitter he ought not have. 

Small beer.  Their strategic objectives are sound.  Unlike Sen. Harp’s or Mr. Fernandez’s. 

However painful tactical mistakes are, they are as a rule small in harm.  Operational missteps can be very problematic, but they can be recoverable.  Get the strategy wrong, and all is lost no matter how good the campaign and nitty gritty is.  Just ask the Germans in WWI.

posted by: streever on July 11, 2013  8:50am

I know that you are personally upset by that rhetoric, but until you hear Elicker say it or endorse it, I really don’t think he is a good target for your frustration. Someone who may or may not be a volunteer saying something unprofessional on Twitter just seems like a “first world” issue to take to an election, when you are talking about the only candidate who derived a majority of his support from the city he wants to represent as Mayor.

Be at peace.

posted by: robn on July 11, 2013  9:09am


I think what EDDIE is trying to say is that in a properly led campaign, like Bob Protos campaign to gain a union supermajority on the BOA, there are no unscripted comments by campaigners or their supporters; there are no mentions of specific alliances; everyone stays on message with the same vague, feel-good rhetoric and everyone stays quiet about their centralized, self interested affiliation.

posted by: Eddie on July 11, 2013  11:51am

I originally made one substantive comment on this thread.  Every other comment has been a response.  I find the number of comments on the part of others to be entirely bizarre if this is “small beer” or an issue of total insignificance.  To be honest, I’m completely surprised and baffled that my initial comment caused such a reaction.

What has the reaction been so far?  Well people have engaged in fantastic gymnastics to ignore the NHI reporting and put distance between Elicker and Stratton.  I love that Stratton, whose family members and co-workers each donated the maximum contribution, and who has been termed the “chief of fundraising” by the NHI is viewed as “Someone who may or may not be a volunteer.”  Despite writing pages that engage in these gymnastics, they argue that this issue is completely insignificant. 

The entire leaving tbnh and Stratton’s tweet are significant because they reveal how utterly ridiculously this machine rhetoric has always been.  I continue to think the inability of Stratton, Festa, and Doug to collaborate around a constructive vision of New Haven calls for better leadership.  Doug is Justin’s strongest elected ally.  Stratton and Festa are his closest aldermanic candidates.  Perhaps, I’m unfair and it is too high of a bar to expect Justin could persuade Stratton to take down a tweet that attacks Doug with misinformation.  Perhaps it is unfair to expect Justin to correct a small tactical error.  Perhaps it is too much to expect that this group does away with harmful misinformation and rhetoric that only serves to divide communities. Perhaps it is too much to expect that they join around shared strategic goals and campaign on a constructive vision for New Haven.  The underlying message I keep hearing is that Justin is only responsible for himself.  Yet I remain convinced that New Haven’s challenges are too much for a lone hero, even if you are convinced he is Superman.

posted by: streever on July 11, 2013  2:04pm

Why would two grown-ups dictate what each other says?

I’m not trying to make a big deal out of anything. I’m just completely mystified by your expectation that everyone involved in politics operates as a singular, cohesive, Borg like voting bloc.

Yes, Unite Here’s candidates do, but the whole point of voting for someone other than them is that the rest of us think that is bizarre and corrupt and inappropriate.

I think you’ve made it really clear to me, today, why you and I don’t see eye to eye. Something that would horrify me (Elicker publicly telling Hausladen and Stratton how to behave around each other!) is something you think is appropriate and is EXPECTED.

Maybe I’m just not a politician, but to me, the idea of grown-ups dictating how they speak, to whom, when, and about what, just sounds abhorrent.

posted by: HhE on July 12, 2013  9:39am

Eddie, every time a person rebuts a rebuttal, they invite a counter response. 

I find your claims, the lessons you draw from them, and your critique of Justin Elicker rather a bit much.  The mistakes and issues you make so much of are, in the main*, small beer.  What is not small beer is your inditement of anti machine BoA candidates, and of Mr. Elicker.  That is why I am here, tilting at windmills.

A decentralized response to a centralized, monolithic, machine is the only proper solution—yet another machine is just swapping out one problem for another, as we have already seen.  Just as King Author’s table was round, with no one at its head, this movement is not top down.

*Doug will probably have to reboot TBNH in two years, which gives some measure of the cost of an operational level mistake.

posted by: Eddie on July 12, 2013  11:10am


I believe that deliberation should have the goal of moving individuals towards a rational consensus and the pursuit of projects that are just.  While we all bring virtues to the table, I believe that deliberation can move us towards solutions and goals that cannot be achieved alone.  Often indulging pettiness, self-interest, or fear impedes this movement.  So I admire leaders, who through deliberation, are able to encourage others to cast pettiness, self-interest, and fear aside.  I admire leaders who encourage others to remain committed to finding common and worthy goals that are bigger than themselves.  I don’t think that individual sovereignty should hold such precedent that nursing individual pettiness goes unchallenged.   

Please note this belief is firmly rooted in democratic inclinations.  I never wrote that anyone should dictate anything to anyone else.  I never even specified how this deliberation should happen.  My only contention is that I would have more admiration for Justin’s leadership if he was somehow able to facilitate this deliberation and prevent Doug from being thrown under the bus.  I would respect the leadership of anyone else who was able to prevent this.  I readily admit that this contention does not negate Justin’s other qualities. 

Clearly, I disagree with Doug on some issues, but I do believe in the sincerity of his commitment New Haven.  (When I was a bit unfair to him in a comment section, you called me out on it and encouraged me to rethink my position.)  I think tbnh could have presented a more constructive vision, but I don’t blame that entirely on Doug and I certainly don’t think he sold the group to anyone.  To imply that he did so, strikes me as sacrificing broader goals for more unsavory ones.  I’m a bit rusty on King Arthur, but I don’t remember the round table’s downfall being due to the want of lofty goals. 

(thanks for not calling my mother a whore.)

posted by: HhE on July 12, 2013  1:53pm

Eddie, reasonable enough. 

I take it you have not spent much time around lawyers who do court work.  If so, you are most fortunite.  Treagicly, I have.  One of the lessons I learned was that lawyers as a group do not listen to arguements.  They take a position, and dig in.  Facts become tools, and self doubt and sketism are weaknesses.  Neil De Grasse Tyson provides a skathing critique of lawyers, their concept of evidence, and all that from a scientist’s perspective.  What am I on about?  That getting a lawyer to back down from a position they have taken is not going to happen. 

My refrence to King Author was one about leadership as first among equals, and not to its downfall.