2013 Campaign Platform
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We know that your re-election campaign is beginning and you are looking to take advantage of your very close ties to the political establishment here in New Haven. Just last week, you formally endorsed State Senator Toni Harp in New Haven’s Mayoral race. As we all know, the Harp family is the state’s worst tax delinquent, owing more than one million dollars in unpaid taxes and interest. We are now hearing that you have decided to accompany Toni Harp as she walks through the Newhallville section of New Haven to discuss violence. Where has she been and for that matter, where have you been these last few years when New Haven was deemed one of America’s most violent/dangerous cities?
Needless to say, when we first heard that you were going to endorse Toni Harp, we were perplexed. We thought that as Governor, you would certainly realize that endorsing a mayoral candidate whose family business is the worst tax delinquent in the state would be a significant political miscalculation, and, more importantly, would send a terrible message to the residents of this state who are making tremendous sacrifices just to make ends meet. Clearly, our lucid, logical and rational thinking takes a very distant backseat to the primacy of what appears to be your political arrogance and opportunism.
To many, your endorsement of Toni Harp is nothing more than a political quid-pro-quo that you seem to believe will result in support from New Haven’s suburban union leadership (i.e. Unite Here) for your own re-election in 2014. Toni’s decision to run for mayor NOW after refusing to do so during her lengthy political career clearly seems to be a decision that advances your political ambitions and agenda and not her own and the decision certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of the city of New Haven.
Tell us Governor Malloy – why would the chairwoman of the Connecticut Senate’s Appropriation Committee, arguably the most powerful committee in the General Assembly, give up that seat and her seniority to run for Mayor of New Haven? Doesn’t New Haven benefit substantially more by keeping her in that seat? In light of your support for her candidacy, the only logical conclusion one can reach is that her departure from the state senate benefits you. Surely, you will have some influence regarding the selection of the next person who will replace her as the chair of appropriations and her presence as Mayor of New Haven guarantees you a loyal supporter who can potentially deliver (with the help of Unite Here) the big turnout you need for your re-election bid in the 2014 general election. In short, Toni Harp is running for Mayor to serve the interest of Unite Here and yourself NOT the citizens of New Haven.
As many New Haven voters know, the Unite Here union has created its own machine in New Haven. The Union’s New Haven machine does not allow the aldermen and women whose campaigns they finance to have their own opinions about any political matters. Union leaders are perched in their cozy suburban cul-de-sacs trying desperately to control New Haven because no Democratic candidate for Governor can win without winning big in New Haven. Clearly, the Union feels that a Harp mayoral victory represents its best chances for success in your re-election bid in 2014. To be sure, the suburban union leaders are only concerned about New Haven to the extent that it serves their suburban interest.
By endorsing Toni Harp, you have certainly turned many voters of the other three candidates against you – and they will not forget that when it is time to elect a new Governor. Governor Malloy, either you do not understand basic political strategy, are simply too arrogant to care about what New Haven voters think, or you are so obsessed with your re-election that you will take advantage of any perceived opportunity. Perhaps it is a combination of the three.
It is beyond belief that you are endorsing Toni Harp in this race when, due to an astonishing technical snafu by New Haven’s Democratic Town Committee, Harp is not the Democratic endorsed candidate for Mayor of New Haven. Have you endorsed any other candidates in Democratic mayoral primaries in any other Connecticut cities? Why would you endorse any candidate before New Haven democrats have had an opportunity to choose who we believe is the best candidate?
Governor Malloy given what we now know about Toni Harp are you telling us she is the best candidate to lead New Haven? Do you honestly believe it’s appropriate for the next Mayor of New Haven to pay no taxes here; to have a family-business that not only allows some of New Haven’s most disenfranchised residents to live in filth and squalor, but is also the number one tax scofflaw in the State of Connecticut; to be completely disconnected from the day-to-day struggles of New Haven’s residents; to have a suburban “party house” (since foreclosed upon); and to be completely controlled by suburban union leaders?
There is also talk about U.S. Senator Chris Murphy endorsing Toni Harp. If Senator Murphy hopes to win re-election to the U.S. Senate, you should strongly encourage him not get involved in this election because like you, he will need a tremendous turnout in New Haven to win. Honestly, I have to think that Senator Murphy is a better math student than you Governor and that he can solve this simple equation: Not getting the votes won by 3 viable candidates, and only getting the votes won by 1 candidate with a boat load of negatives equals a low voter turnout for Governor Malloy. I hope Senator Murphy does the math.
Governor Malloy, you have just decided to play a game of political blackjack in which there are 3-1 odds against you pulling a higher hand than Harp’s three opponents. The smart play was to wait until the day after New Haven’s September 10, 2013 primary in order to endorse a candidate. Unfortunately it’s too late; you have already played your hand.
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Even though on Tuesday, July 23, 2014, Toni Harp was given the Democratic Party nomination as Mayor, we have just learned that she is not the party endorsed Democratic candidate after all. We understand that this may be somewhat confusing to voters – particularly registered Democrats – because Toni was considered a shoo-in for the nomination due to her political relationships with the suburban union leadership, the Democratic Town Committee, and other representatives of New Haven’s political establishment. It seems that this politically incestuous relationship could not yield even amateurish levels of organization.
Although Democratic Party Chairperson Jackie James had any time between July 16 and July 23 to hold a nominating convention, she waited until the very last possible day to do so. While this certainly gives the impression that James’ organizational acumen leaves much to be desired, the nail in the proverbial nomination coffin was hammered in by James’ inattention to detail. More specifically, James forgot to submit the necessary paperwork to the city’s clerk office by 4 p.m. on Wednesday so that Harp, and all the endorsed candidates, could be placed on the ballet. How James, and for that matter, the entire executive board of the Democratic Town Committee, could allow such a small detail to become such a major snafu defies even modestly intelligent reasoning.
In her usual fashion, James has already thrown someone else under the bus for this significant miscue. James is quoted in the New Haven Independent as saying that, “without giving names, a member of my executive board miscounted the time.” Really? Are we to believe that this unnamed executive board member, could not count 1 day from July 23 to July 24? More concerning than the entire executive board’s supposed inability to count 1 day, however, is James utter refusal to take responsibility for this incredible mistake. Perhaps what Jackie should have said is, “As Chairwoman of the DTC, I take full responsibility for this significant mistake. There is no one else to blame but me, because taking responsibility when things go wrong is one of the first obligations of authentic leadership. I will do whatever I need to do in order to make this right, including tendering my resignation as Chairperson if that is appropriate.” I would not, however, hold my breath waiting from any mea culpa from Jackie James.
Attempts to spin this snafu like a top are fruitless. Claiming that this inexcusable lack of professionalism and attention to detail has, “actually mobilized and brought everyone together” has to be considered the most absurd comment of the Mayoral campaign. If Toni needed a blunder to mobilize and bring everyone together, then certainly her candidacy, voting record, vision, platform, and the repeated attempts to caste herself as the victim, have been insufficient in mobilizing her people. James goes on to use several fruit analogies to explain away her appalling lack of administrative and leadership skills when she states that, “we are turning oranges into orange juice, apples into apple juice, and grapes into grape juice.” Well, instead of doing all this juicing, perhaps Jackie should have been turning papers into the city town clerk. Now that would have been more appropriate than making different varieties of juice.
Now James has promised that “every one of these candidates [will be] able to collect their signatures and get on the ballot.” If I were one of those candidates, I would not take Jackie’s word for it and make sure that I had a separate, functional operation to ensure my spot on the ballot.
What happened today is probably unprecedented in New Haven Democratic Party politics. While I understand that there have been calls for James’ resignation, that strikes us a matter to be decided by the executive board of the Democratic Town Committee. What we can say, however, is that this is an example of what happens when hubris, lack of leadership and lack of attention to detail all intersect at the corners of Inept Avenue and Take It For Granted Street. Henry Fernandez rightfully raises an excellent point when he asks “If you cannot run a convention that was geared from the beginning to deliver one candidate, how can you hope to manage City Hall?” We would like to take that one step further by asking, “If Jackie James and the Democratic Party leadership could not deliver paperwork to the city clerk’s office, how can they expect to deliver this election to Toni Harp, the suburban union leadership, and the political establishment? While this is an awful mishap for Toni and the Democratic Party, we welcome it because it puts us on the top of the ballot. I guess this means that we will be passing the Harp campaigners in the streets. See you there!
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