Friday, July 08, 2005

Q&A With John DeStefano

Mayor DeStefano, welcome to Connecticut Local Politics. People should post questions here. I will make the attempt to post as many questions from previous posts/email as I can.


John DeStefano said...

Good morning. It's great to be here today and I look forward to hearing from you. So what's up with evrybody. Awful about London. We in New Haven are maintaining our presence at public transportation assets.

Ebpie said...

Mayor DeStefano, what lessons did you learn from the Andrea Jackson-Brooks debacle and how will you apply them to being governor? How will you convince the voters in CT that you won't sign off on "loans" like that in the future?

Also, why do you feel that AG Blumenthal will enter the race?

John DeStefano said...

Andrea Jackson Brooks is a good person who currently works for Comptroller Nancy Wyman. She is also a City Alderman, a long time community activist and a pretty strong woman of faith. She made a mistake and I took appropriate action - asking her to resign, which she did.

As to why I believe that the AG will run - he's been saying it. The larger issue for Democrats is how we defeat Rell. That will come from working together and not tearing each other apart (hint, hint).

Genghis Conn said...

Mayor DeStefano,

I will be posting questions throughout the session from readers who either could not be here or decided to post questions in advance.

Eddie asks:

Mayor DeStefano: I'm from New London County and not that familiar with New Haven issues, so forgive me if these are FAQs. I'd like to ask:

Have you ever had to deal with eminent-domain issues such as we've had here? If so, what decisions did you have to make, and would you do them again?

I know there was a somewhat controversial shopping-mall project in New Haven, but I didn't follow the issue at the time. More generally, what have you learned as mayor about what works and what doesn't in attracting and retaining commerce? Thanks.

John DeStefano said...

We have had eminent domain issues. We took a number of houses to build an elementary school - and as I said in the interview there was some push back from owners. On the other hand we took some commercial property (largely vacant) to create an industrial park, where parcels we're sold to new businesses, i.e. taking private property for economic development. There we got no push back. To me it seems we should have clear standards as to what a "public purpose" is. We ought to consider different standards for residences as opposed to commercial property (since that is what seems to particularly rankle) and that we should create standards of "reasonableness" as we undertake such efforts. That all said, I would be interested in what you think. As to the proposed mall at Long Wharf, the City did not undertake to take property for the developer. We eft it to them to acquire their site.

As to what works it attracting commerce I'd say - a commuity needs to be safe, it must have schools that are great, we need to ensure a well trained work force and cities and towns can accomplish a lot by making the permitting and approval process transparent and straightforward.

Genghis Conn said...

An anonymous commenter asks:

Dear Mayor DeStefano--

Now that Joyce Chen has joined the Democratic Party, (she was formerly a Green), are you going to welcome and support her? Or is our town chair still going to target her seat, DESPITE her strong support from her ward? I know Joyce as a woman of commitment, and I would hope that New Haven and its one party system could handle a few dissenting voices!

And no, I don't agree with Joyce on everything. I just think it is a bit heavy-handed, given your overwhelming political support, for Joyce to be targeted as Public Enemy #1. Particularly when the majority of her constituents really like her.

If Joyce and her little voice are really the target of New Haven's political machine, what does that say about its leadership?

P.S. Please don't bring up Joyce's vote against civil unions when we all know that 40% of Democratic Alderpeople also voted against.

Genghis Conn said...

Both FrankS and superD have questions about campaign finance reform:

FrankS asks:

Would you refuse lobbyist and PAC money, if other campaigns did the same?

superD asks:

Mayor DeStefano, your two Democratic opponents state publicly that they would return contributions and accept public financing for the 2006 race if the legislature passed and the Governor signed such a law. You declined. Why?

John DeStefano said...

Sorry, the civil union vote of her's was wrong. I appreciate what polls say, but I will work hard on behalf of Gina Calder - a terrific activist and tolerant and value centered person who respects the civil rights of other persons.

And the fact is primaries are important to determine and seek out the best candidates by testing their ideas and ability to win in a general election. In New Haven primaries are particularly important as there are few general election (Republican) oppoenets. What's wrong with a primary - for Alderman or for Governor?

Anonymous said...

In CT we need jobs that will allow people to live on, and benefits. New Haven Has a living wage law that you were in favor of, would you do something like that for the State?

John DeStefano said...

On the questions on campaign finance reform. Look, I've supported public finance campaign for the last 3 years - not the last 3 weeks. The fact is these questions are all hypotheticals. I intend to work in a team and raise enough money to get a terrific message out and beat the Rowland Rell Administration. Let's focus on the ball.

Genghis Conn said...

conn-tiki has a three-part question:

To Mayor DeStefano:

1) Where do you stand on the drive for unionization at Yale, given that Yale is one of New Haven's biggest property owners?

2) What would you do on transportation, specifically alterntatives to cars and buses? Would you endorse further rail travel capability being created/resurrected on a statewide basis?

3) How would you, as Governor, bring jobs to cities such as New Haven, New London, and Bridgeport, whose economic bases have been whittled away over the years? What sort of industries would a Governor DeStefano bring to the state besides casinos and service industry?

John DeStefano said...

I totally support the very American value that everyone should work - BUT that work should pay and that we need a sane system that provides access to health care for Connecticut residents. So yes, I wwould continue to support living wage.

Genghis Conn said...

MikeCT asks:

Question for DeStefano - what specific initiatives would you propose to reduce the number Connecticut residents without health insurance? What changes or expansions, if any, would you propose for the HUSKY program?

John DeStefano said...

I think we have 3 questions backed up - let me get them quickly:
1. Yale University and the Hospital are member of the community who have rights and OBLIGATIONS beyond their educational and medical mission. At the Hospital I strongly support the right of workers to vote on whether to have a union free from intimidation. That will not happen at that Yale Hospital under NLRB as the hospital has continually been found in violation of NLRB rule - so there we need an approach for an election under a neutral.
2. We can't road build our way out of traffic congestion. Commuter rail along I-91 and I-84 is an achievable and appropriate goal for the Stae. Greater cargo rail is also essential - let's get a crossing from New Jersey south of Albany for instance.
3. Economic Development. Focus New London on port devlopment. Make it an international port of entry. Support it by great rail to water connections. Allow it to development distribution businesses that pivot off the port. Bridgeport - focus on specialized manufacturing. New Haven life sciences. But in all instances - focus on businesses that export goods and services (and thus import wealth and jobs), fdo it arounds areas where we have clusters - and make sure all our communities are safe, have good schools, that transportation infrastructure is 21st (instead of 19th) century, that we are training our workforce and that we are building entry level housing.

Nellie said...

Mayor DeStefano: Yesterday, the New Haven Register reported that murder's were up 50% over last year, rapes were up by around 40%, and shootings were also up. Yet you and the police chief said that you were satisfied with progress. I live in New Haven, and my jaw dropped when I read that. Please explain what you think is going on.

John DeStefano said...

Regarding expansion of medical benefits, I am still thinking about this - so your thoughts and comments are welcome. That said it seems to me that we need to move to a system where we require Connecticut residents to have a health insurance policy much as we require individuals to have car insurance. A different set of products that have particular focus and incentives for wellness and healthy lifestyle choices would seem important. A system that supports those who can't afford such a baseline medical plan would need to be part of such a plan. And the system ought to be portable so that you could take it with you as you change employers and employers would need to buy in. Make sense? Again, I look forward to others thoughts.

John DeStefano said...

Sorry - let's get our facts straight first. We went from 6 to 8 murders, violent crime is down from last year and so is total crime. And we don't compare anywhere near to where we were. That said any murder is too many. And neither the Chief, myself or the 430 members of the NHPD is ever satified. That said every week New Haven gets 35-40 DOCorrections releases every week - with no job training, housing or plan for substance abuse. Let's fix that.

Genghis Conn said...

Ebpie, who was just here but seems to have left, posted this question a few days ago:

John DeStefano: I have many questions for you. 1)Will you adhere to the state spending cap? 2) I like your stance on the manufacturing tax. Do you plan to get rid of the tax entirely or just cut it? What other taxes will you cut? 3)How will you pay for it all?

nellie said...

Mayor: The facts came from the New Haven register. They said 9 murders in the last six months - up 50% over last year. They also reported rapes and shootings as being up. My facts are right, but I appreciate that you take this seriously.

John DeStefano said...

Regarding taxes. The first tax that is a problem is the property tax. It raises more than any other and is harming families, home ownership, our public schools and causing sprawl. As Chair of the State's Blue Ribbon Commission on Property Tax Reform and Smart Growth I would urge folks to visit CCM's web site and take a look. Regarding your specfic questions: Let's be honest no one has lived under the spending cap - it's definition has floated along and what I am concerned abpout is developing a consensus in CT to grow jobs, improve our transportation infrastructure, strengthen our public schools and reduce property taxes. Second my preference is to completely eliminate the personal property tax on business machinery and equipment. Third I would suggest that additional revenues need to come from economic growth which has not occurred under the Rowland Rell Admninistration.

John DeStefano said...

Thanks Nellie.

Genghis Conn said...

Elliot Samuels, from Branford, emailed me this question:

Mayor DeStefano: Someone on the blog mentioned the Long Wharf Mall Project. I followed that fight closely. My question is this: you claim to be (1) an environmentalist, who (2) thinks we have a traffic problem and (3) cares about center cities. How can you claim to be those things when the #1 priority of your entire administration for years was to build a Mall on the harbor off of I-95 that would have (1) damaged the environment (had environmentalists not defeated it), (2) made traffic problems worse and (3) diverted people away from the city center?

John DeStefano said...

A moment of madness? Seriously back in 1996 the project seemed to make a lot of sense. As we looked harder and harder at it the project seemed to raise as much concern as benefits. So we dropped it and now IKEA is on the site. Thanks for the comment.

Genghis Conn said...

We are just about out of time. I would like to thank Mayor John DeStefano for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us, and for his candor. We all appreciate it! Thanks also to all those who asked questions-- democracy works best when we all participate in it.

John DeStefano said...

Well I'm off to other things. This has been great. Politics is at it's best and of most benefit to our families when we discuss, talk back and forth and look at things from other's perspectives. Let's do it again at our website,

Finally let's look forward to a great primary campaign that tests our ideas and the canddiates ability to bring Democrats and the citizens together for the main event versus Gov. Rowland (opps - I mean Rell). See ya...

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked that the mayor didn't know how many murders had taken place in his own city. How could he not know this?

And in regards to Long Wharf... "a moment of madness?" Are we supposed to just accept that as justification???

ctkeith said...

Hey anonymous,

I think if did your own research instead of using the rag that calls itself a newspaper in New Haven you would more than likely find the mayors numbers correct. In either case the fact that both numbers are single digits and could have been a months statistics when the mayor first took office says alot.

The New Haven Register has always been a horrid Newspaper but today is at its worse ever. They have very few reporters and none of any quality or talent and depend almost totally on the wire services for their copy.

They also have an agenda which is far right. Even when presented with irrefutable evidence of corruption by Republicans it will never be published in their paper until it appears on one of the wire services.

As far as the longwharf project he did what any Mayor of any city would. These projects provide serious numbers of contruction jobs which pay well and bring state and federal dollars and will always get the support of whomever is the mayor of the city involved.

My biggest disappointment was how he handled the Joyce Chen issue.Even though I disagree with her vote on the civil union issue his using this as a reason for the New Haven machine to primary her is flat out wrong unless he also supports primarying the 40% of Dem Alderpeople who also voted against it.

Ms. Chen changed her affiliation from Green to Dem and if the Mayor can't accept good, snart and honest people like her because the machine didn't create them it doesn't show good judgement and makes the charge of cronyism which many profess as a reason to oppose him more credible.

Ebpie said...

I didn't like how he blew off my question about Andrea Jackson Brookes. I am sure she is a good person, but I wasn't asking about her character. At some point during this campaign corruption in New Haven is going to come up and he will have to do more than talk about how nice some people are.

On crime, I agree that New Haven has become a much safer place in the last decade, but the fact that murders and rapes are up recently should be cause for concern. I’m sure Malloy will hit him on this issue as Stamford is ranked as one of the safest cities in the country. DeStefano also didn’t seem to take the questioner very seriously which I find to be a bit rude.

While I like his plan to get rid of the manufacturing tax, it seems like he will do nothing to curb state spending. He essentially said that the spending cap, approved by 81% of the electorate, doesn’t matter. At least Malloy talked about making some adjustments to it. DeStefano also talked about big transportation and education initiatives that I’m sure will come with at a hefty price tag. Sounds like CT would see big deficits under a DeStefano administration.

His medical insurance plan sounds a lot like Mitt Romney’s plan.

Aldon Hynes said...

ctkeith, anonymous et al.,

The two or three additional murders that happened the first half of this year are two or three too many additional murders. The Mayor is not satisfied with this and often speaks about this problem. WTNH talks about it being two additional murders in their report here.

"We also had two more homicides at the point than we did last year. I'm pretty confident that it will continue to go downward over the next couple of months. I say that because our officers and our detectives are in the forefront working with our law enforcement partners literally to monitor active offenders in our community," says Ortiz.

My understanding is that all of the murders were committed by people recently released from DCF and that DCF is the fastest growing part of the State Budget. It isn't working and needs to be fixed. This includes better job training and better programs to deal with substance abuse issues.

When you get to the discussion about Joyce Chen, I can't comment on that. I am from Stamford, not New Haven. Apparently, Mayor DeStefano is supporting a different candidate in the primary than ctkeith does.

As the Mayor noted, primaries are a good thing. I thought that ctkeith was a big supporter of primaries, but maybe his desire for primaries is only U.S. Senate races.

Finally, as to the 'moment of madness' comment, personally, I find it refreshing to find a candidate with a sense of humor and a willingness to look back at decisions made in the past.

Too many candidates appear unwilling to rethink decisions in the past and make bad decisions in the future because of this. Mayor DeStefano has the courage to look at what works and what doesn't. We need more candidates like that.

superD said...

He also didn't answer the question on campaign finance reform. Keep your eye on the ball? What is that supposed to mean? The fact is, the majority of CT residents support public financing of campaigns, this is a serious issue given the series of events that unfolded last year with Rowland. If you're going to participate in a Q&A, all the Q's deserve and A, not just the ones Mayor DeStefano opts to answer. All in all, this was rather disappointing.

Aldon Hynes said...

SuperD, I'm sorry that you are disappointed about his response to your question.

Spending time pondering a hypothetical situation that is extremely unlikely to happen isn't really very constructive.

What is constructive is working to bring about public financing of campaigns, which you will note, he has been doing for years.

I think that is what he was trying to get at with his 'keep your eye on the ball'. Let's do some real work trying to make this state better instead of wasting time naval gazing about an unlikely scenario.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Malloy blew off a lot of his answers too.

Anonymous said...

Genghis, thanks for these interviews and Q&A sessions with Malloy and DeStefano. For those of us who haven't had the opportunity to see the two go head-to-head, these interviews are the next best thing -- great way to compare and contrast how the two candidates stack up.

superD said...

Aldon, thanks for your comments, but with all due respect, the Mayor is on the record as saying he wouldn't return contributions if public financing of campaigns became a reality. Telling us why he took this position isn't responding to a hypothetical, it is providing an explanation of his position.

FrankS said...

I was disappointed in DeStefano's lip service response to "hypotheticals" in questions about accepting lobbyist and pac contributions and returning contributions.

Accepting lobbyist and pac contributions have nothing to do with public financing. Accepting their money is still a choice, hopefully banned in the future, that candidates make.

Perhaps this is a decision that John DeStefano could reconsider, as a candidate willing to rethink decisions.

For Mr. Vance, I recently saw that Ms. Johnson collected nearly $220,000 last quarter, including over $166,000 from Political Action Committees (PACs). Do you support banning Lobbyist and Pac contributions? Would you decline these contributions.

Actions by candidates to end these contributions and their infulence would do more to restore confidence in government that more talk.

Dems in 06 said...


The numbers in the Register came from the NH Police Dept. I think we can all safely assume they have the right figure (then again, I understand that New Haven stopped reporting their crime statistics to the FBI years ago. No idea what that is all about).

In regards to Long Wharf, I have to agree with anon- that answer was disappointing, especially in response to a pretty well thought out question.

Aldon- can you explain how he was "looking back at his decisions?" The question asked how someone who says they're an environmentalist could ever support such a project. The mayor's answer was the equivalent of throwing up his hands and shrugging his shoulders. There was zero critical analysis or explanation other than, "Well gee it seemed like a good idea at the time".

Anonymous said...

it occurs to me that anyone can find fault in any answer. destefano has been attacked for being longwinded and too detailed in his answers.

now that he is giving shorter answers so that he can address a larger number of issues he is attacked for that.

maybe next time that destefano takes part in this format we can all agree on one question that he can answer at length and also have another blog where it's short answer and then another blog that is another single question that he can address fully.

this way he can spend all of his time answering questions about aldermanic races and malls that were never built instead of his vision for the future.

mjames said...

there's a couple of things that I took from this blog. i actually did find it refreshing that mayor destefano basically said that he screwed up with the long wharf project. i see the point that ctkeith is making, but judging by what i know of his record in new haven, his actions have proven him to be an environmentalist. personally, i don't know what he was thinking with the project, but I like the fact that he not only sees that he was wrong, he actually admits to it. This is in complete contrast to rell who said she had no regrets at all in her first year in office. I wish i could say i made no mistakes at my job in the past year (or the past month for that matter).
what i didn't like was the crime statistics in new haven. regardless of whether it is 8 or 9 murders so far this year, the numbers have risen. i would have liked to have heard what changes are being made to reduce these numbers
all in all i thought he did a good job and didn't seem to be ducking any questions

Anonymous said...

Doubletalk: New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., a former president of the National League of Cities, joined the group in welcoming the Court’s ruling. He argued that the citizenry best determines public benefit.

"I think the decision is a sound decision," DeStefano said

mjames said...

also, i agreed with his point about hypothetical questions. the issue is of whether or not he would give back his campaign money shouldn't be something that should decide who you are supporting in this race. connecticut has some SERIOUS problems right now like being 50th in the country in job growth. i'm much more interested in debating the 2 candidates' plans for growing jobs than i am in discussing something that will never happen, and therefore never affect my life.

Aldon Hynes said...

Anonymous, are you suggesting that 'public benefit' is better determined by someone other than the citizenry?

If, so, who should it be? The Supreme Court?

Personally, one of the reasons I'm a big fan of Mayor DeStefano is his committment to the ugly give and take of democracy.

Yes, that includes the give and take of determining public policy including what constitutes 'public benefit'.

Yes, that includes the attacks by people working on other campaigns who criticize you for being too brief or too long-winded.

I must admit that I've never found a candidate that I consider perfect. However, Mayor DeStefano's honesty and willingness to grapple with issues in every venue possible is very refreshing compared to most candidates that I've seen.

Julio Gonzalez said...

I think DeStefano did fine. If you are a pro-democracy progressive, the question you have to ask yourself is: can this guy persuade people in the middle? Can he bring new people into politics? And can I stand having to watch this guy on TV for four years? I think the answer to all of these is "yes."

To the campaign finance people...I think we all should be for public-financing because it will bring new people into the system, reduce (not eliminate) dependence on money from special interests, and create political equality for middle-class and working poor people who can now have their contributions amplified. While many PACs are bad, getting rid of them will only lead to the money finding a new place to park. At least with PACs you have disclosure. 527s and 501 (c) 4s are much worse places for corporate money to go from an accountability standpoint...not to mention that there are no limits. You are not going to get rid of special interest speech. So, let's use public money to fuel public interest speech.

Finally...JOYCE CHEN!? Those of us pathetic few that follow the Board of Aldermen now that she is very, very bad at working with other people. Not to mention that she has voted against balanced budgets, protecting education funding, blight disposition, and screwed community development corporations in her own ward because their boards didn't support her. I also heard that she misses a lot of meetings because she put herself on a lot of committees. Sure, its par for the course in local politics - but that is my point. She is noting special.

You are correct that there are Democrats that voted against the domestic partnership resolution. But if you were involved with Project Orange or the other pro-equality advocacy efforts you will recall that the DeStefano side of the "machine" went after the bulk of those Democrats in the primaries and negotiated vote switches with the rest. You will also remember that New Haven ended up not passing the legislation at the request of statewide groups who did not want steam to get out of the civil union/same sex marriage effort - DeStefano's people and their aggressive primary tactics had secured a majority. So let's all agree that primaries tend to be a good thing! Wouldn't it be easier for an incumbet to just do nothing?

MikeCT said...

Joyce Chen strikes me as flaky at best. As the New Haven Advocate reported, she changed from Green to Dem without informing the Green Party or other members of the Board of Aldermen, then headed off for India, leaving everyone else to figure it out.

In addition to her vote against civil unions, she decided to run against Democratic State Rep. Toni Walker last year. Walker is one of the more progressive state reps in the legislature. Chen seems intent on burning every bridge in front of her and behind her.

On the other hand, Aldon, if CTKeith feels that the Democratic machine is trying to shut out a progressive candidate by primarying her, there is nothing hypocritical in his view that she should not be primaried but a Republican-lite like Lieberman should be. Primaries are not always a good thing or a bad thing. I don't necessarily agree with CTKeith, but I don't think he contradicts himself.

Chen's defection, along with that of Hartford City Council Elizabeth Horton Sheff, does not bode well for the Greens.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aldon, I'm suggesting that taking a person's home for a private development is a abuse. One has to only look at the New Haven connector area and other economic development projects, where homes were taken, businesses along Legion Avenue that were wipedout and replaced by vacant lots, to see the harm. DeStefano's calling the decision sound, while suggesting support for a change to exempt homes strikes me as wanting to have it both ways. Besides New London citizens never voted to take the property.

DeanFan84 said...


You shouldn't take so snarky a tone with CTKeith about the Chen primary. This is a big litmus test for John DeStefano and "open-ness".

Many of us regard Joyce Chen as one of New Haven's few real Progressives. She is honest, and independent. That the Democratic Machine targeted her so viciously in 2003 was upsetting. I, too, disagree with the Green Party in general, but the overarching effort to stamp out the two Green Board members, (out of 30), was truly disheartening. (I can post links about it if you want.)

Now the Town Chair, the Mayor's campaign manager, and seemingly the Mayor himself are at it again, attempting to use Joyce's "No" vote against our Civil Union bill, as part of a city-wide smear campaign against her.

What is left out is the fact that 8 Dems also voted against Civil Unions. These include Jorge Perez, the President of the Board, and Juan Candelaria, now a state Rep. Five more Dem aldermen simply failed to vote.

So the way I see it is that the failure of Domestic Partnership bill should be laid at the feet of the 13 Democrats who could have, and should have voted for it. (And if you understand how this City works, you will also know that one or two phone calls from the right people could have gotten the bill passed!)

Trust me, if you leave it up to the ward itself, Joyce gets re-elected. What Keith and others are protesting is not a primary, but the bullying force of the Machine, whereby outside money and manpower will be brought in to try and defeat Joyce Chen. It's the tactics of the NRA, not open and democratic politics.

If the Mayor were truly Progressive he could instead embrace Joyce Chen, (now that she has re-joined the Dem Party.) And together maybe they could bring more Greens back into the fold such that we could have a unified Left going into 2006.

ctkeith said...

Thank you deanfan84,

I too have been working hard to bring Greens back home to the Dem party where they belong.An embrace of Chen instead of a show of force and thuggury by the mayor would do alot to help this effort.Chen ain't perfect but she sure as hell walks the walk and represents her ward well.

You don't see many Yalies with the balls to live on Kensington St.

DeanFan84 said...


Which of the "No" voters were targeted? And Defeated?

And note: Jorge Perez, Shirley Ellis-West, Charles Blango, Yusuf Shah are all still on the BOA. Don't they all deserve their share of the blame?

And what about Liz McCormack, and Rose Santana, both of whom skipped the 2003 vote? If either of them had shown up for the vote, (and presumably voted with leadership), the Civil Union legislation would have passed at the time.

The Domestic Partnership failed b/c of Democrats, not Joyce Chen. So why are Susan Voigt and Shonu Gandhi going around town blaming its defeat on the one Green (now ex-Green) alderperson? For shame.

P.S. How do you feel about Juan Candelaria and the other Latinos who voted against the state-wide Civil Union legislation that passed earlier this year? What was that about?

elliotsam said...

I'm the one that asked the Long Wharf Mall question, and I have to say, I think Mayor DeStefano's answer was ridiculous. A "moment" of madness? DeStefano fought to build that Mall for about FOUR YEARS. And he didn't "decide" that the cons outweighed the pros of building the mall. The environmentalist groups help up the project for so long in litigation that the lead tenant withdrew. DeStefano was defeated on that project - he didn't give it up because he had some epiphany about responsible development. People keep saying they like that he was "honest" in agreeing that he made a mistake, but that answer didn't seem to me to be honest at all. Obviously, though, I feel strongly about that stupid project.

DeanFan84 said...


Is Toni Walker that good of a Progressive? I've talked to many people in Hartford, and I am told that she is the shakiest of our New Haven delegation when it comes to Campaign Finance Reform.

And don't you think it is heavy-handed for the Town Chair and Mayor, to take sides AND lend resources in these tiny neighborhood elections? (Given that it is such a one party town?)

I say let the Democratic process flourish at the grassroots level. Save the power politics for when they are absolutely necessary, and not as a routine means of enforcing strict obedience.

I mean if Joyce Chen is so bad, why do the majority of her constituents like her?

Aldon Hynes said...

Random Comments:

It seems as if there are a lot of strong feelings about Joyce Chen and the person who is running against her in a primary. Perhaps, if we are real democrats (small d), we should encourage the competition.

Perhaps, having Joyce and her opponent participate in an interview and Q&A here would be a better way of welcoming her into the party.

Perhaps, if Joyce is so good, she will really shine in the give and take of political discourse.

DeanFan84, I'm sorry if my snarkiness offended you or ctkeith. A friend once said, "you need to be able to take a little snarkiness if you are going to get by in politics," and I was hoping that you and ctkeith could appreciate a little good natured snarkiness.

Eliotsam, I'm glad you feel strongly about issues you have been involved with. We need more of that. Sometimes you will agree with someone, sometimes you won't. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don't.

Mayor DeStefano didn't win on the Long Wharf project. It sounds like that, too, is part of the give and take of the democratic process.

Did he have an epiphany? Did he come to realize some inherent flaws of the project, or simply that the project wasn't supported by his constituents? I don't know. I won't second guess him on this, but I will again applaud his engagement in the democratic process.

As to the anonymous poster who is suggesting that "suggesting that taking a person's home for a private development is a abuse". I can understand that opinion. However, to me, it seems oversimplistic. The U.S. has a long history of that policy.

I would suggest that sometimes, it has in fact been used for the good of the people and other times it has been abused, much like any other policy.

The New London citizens did vote on their representatives who are seeking to take the property. That is how a representative democracy works.

Perhaps those representatives need to be voted out. Perhaps the New London City Charter needs to be revised. Perhaps the State Legislature needs to pass new legislation clarifying what truly is a public purpose. All of that is part of the democratic process and should be considered.

An informed thought out discussion about whether specific projects are in fact in the best public interest seems to me to be the wiser course.

Iacobi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey Aldon, the The New London Development Corporation (NLDC), which took the New London property, is private, not-for-profit organization not an elected representative body.

mjames said...

James Bailey Brislin,

I totally agree with what you said about formulating a specific plan for growing jobs. To me, growing jobs is the most important issue by far in this campaign, and everything else is secondary. One of the things I like about DeStefano is that he seems to share my high priority on job growth, and he hints at what he would do as governor to stimulate the economy, but he never really lays out his plan. Come to think of it though, I never have heard a politician lay out a detailed plan for any issue they feel is important, which is one of the reasons I get so frustrated during political debates. You can never tell which guy is telling us what we want to hear, and which guy is serious about change. So I think we should discuss our ideas for what should be done instead of pointing out the fact that the candidates are not being specific. I think DeStefano is headed in the right direction when he talks about focusing on areas that we excel in as a state. What I would do to implement this would be to create tax advantages for these types of businesses. Obviously these tax advantages would hurt the State's bottom line for a few years, but we are making a long-term investment that will hopefully pay off down the line when our economy is strong again. I don't know if a governor would be willing to make this type of commitment as the short term impact would be tough on the budget. You may disagree with me, which is cool, because I'm not running for office. But I think this blog would be more interesting if we discussed our own ideas instead of just critiquing the candidates' comments. At least we'd be saying what we really think should be done, instead of saying what we think voters want to hear.

Anonymous said...

Where is David Watts? Every year DeStefano and the Dems think they will pick the next Alderperson in Ward 2, and every year David Watts supported person Wins.

I hope David will arrive at the polls on primary and election day and defend his home community. He is truly one of the best political organizers I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...


Today,I went to the polls (Ward 2) to watch the race between Joyce Chen and Gina Calder unfold.

There, I saw David Watts and his band of brothers sending the DeStefano endorsed (Calder) packing.

David Watts and the residents from Dwight have done it- again. Watts is a cool guy to watch.. Good Job Dave!