Election results

November 7th, 2007

Well, yesterday was the municipal election. Unfortunately, my campaign came up short; the Ward 7 numbers were 200 for Bitsie Clark and 42 for myself. Congratulations to Alder Bitsie Clark for winning another term, this was a positive race and we should all be proud of that. Thank you to everyone who talked with me sharing their concerns and issues, thank you to all the media for their coverage, and a special thanks to those who voted for me.

 Good news though, Allan Brison the Green Party candidate for Ward 10 won easily over the incumbent. Allan ran an energetic campaign and will be a great servant for all of Ward 10’s residents. Check out the New Haven Independent and New Haven Register (here, here, and here) for more info.

Again, thank you all.

New Haven Aldermanic Candidate Debate

October 23rd, 2007

Meet Your Aldermanic Candidates!

The Green Party Aldermanic candidates for Ward 7 (Daniel Sumrall) and Ward 10 (Allan Brison) debate the wards’ Democratic incumbents.

Place: Institute Library, on Chapel near Church Street
Time: Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

The debate includes:
Ward 10: Green Allan Brison and Democrat Ed Mattison
Ward 7: Green Daniel Sumrall and Democrat Frances “Bitsie” Clark 

Questions will be posed by reporters from the New Haven Register, New Haven Advocate and the New Haven Independent. Debate will be moderated by Paul Bass.

Education Matters

October 10th, 2007

The Bar Must Always Be High: As someone who has taught at every grade level, both private and public, and in rural, suburban, and urban settings, I firmly believe lowering expectations is never the answer. Therefore, all New Haven schools should have high expectations for all students, and every student should be enrolled in a rigorous college-prep curriculum. This is a practical way we can eliminate educational disparity and empower our young people. Given the financial and social realities of our society, all students should graduate prepared to attend a four-year university if they so choose.   

Local Control, Public Accountability: Parents, principals, and teachers must own critical decisions at their schools related to budgeting, hiring, and curriculum. For this to happen, New Haven must have an elected Board of Education. Local control works because schools and all stakeholders within them are held accountable for student results. If students in a particular school or classroom are not performing up to expectations, then parents, teachers, and principals are held accountable as well as the student; there is never just one failure. We must have an accountability system generated by stakeholders that defines quarterly and annual performance targets for each school and there must be meaningful consequences for failure.   

Mandatory Parental Participation: A student fails when their parents or guardian fails them. We must actively integrate parents/guardians into all aspects of their students’ education experiences. To accomplish this I offer two proposals:

A)   all parents should be required to give at least 20 hours of service annually with a wide variety of service opportunities offered;


B)   if a student exceeds the number of allowable absentee days then theparents/guardian should be fined $250 for everyday the student misses thereafter with the money going directly to the school. 

Small, Personal, and Safe: All schools should be small schools, because this creates the best chance for success. When schools are small, schools are safe; no student falls through the cracks; and students receive the personalized attention vital to allowing them to learn effectively. 

Advancing Mass Transit

October 3rd, 2007

Recently, there has been a good discussion concerning mass transit for New Haven in the NHI. Here is a comment that I just recently posted.


Something to think about mass transit-wise is the idea of Personal Rapid Transit. The notion was kicked around a few years ago nationally and then lost steam, but I think it would be practical in our city context. There are some websites that can give you a sense of the idea–






I know to some this seems pie-in-the-sky and Jetson-like, but approached from a pragmatic and fiscally responsible perspective this could work well for us.

Something to think about.


Interesting thing about PRT, a bus line uses 4127 BTUs per passenger mile while PRT uses 834 BTUs. This means that buses use nearly five times as much energy. Can we ignore the benefits of lower pollution, the easing of congestion, and significant conservation of power? Cost may be your sticking point, but PRT would cost less per mile than buses. 

 New Haven needs to have more people on the Board of Aldermen that understand how to approach the issue of transit with an eye toward practical innovation, basic knowledge of current technology, and a will to act. 

A Fresh Approach to Public Safety

September 28th, 2007

The current increase in crime in New Haven has sparked another debate on the role of police in communities. On one side, there’s the traditional “tough on crime” stance and on the other side are advocates for more community policing, but in New Haven these advocates have practically become vigilantes. New strategies exist outside of this tired debate. It is time to invest in people as a way to stop crime.A practical shift is needed to change how policing happens. Neighborhoods and the police must share the responsibility for public safety. Community policing in New Haven has evolved into a process where community residents are essentially ‘foot-soldiers’ for the police without any say as to what happens to people once they are arrested. The simple fact is that neighbors often have a better idea of what people need than police do. We must shift police incentives from making arrests to neighborhood satisfaction and involvement.

The recently conceived Juvenile Review Board and Civilian Review Board are steps in the right direction, but New Haven needs a Civilian Review Board with real teeth such as the power of subpoena. Such a review board would work with city hall on police abuse/misconduct issues, it would allow neighborhood volunteers to listen to why an individual was arrested, speak to that individual about what is going on in his or her life, and refer that individual to an appropriate program. This will go a long way toward ensuring public safety by increasing involvement. Simply put, we must reshape the debate on what is a crime and how to respond to different types of crimes.

What can we do? Shifting public safety responsibilities to neighborhoods requires four things to happen. First, we must no longer allow our discourse to be solely “lock’em up.” Second, neighborhoods must organize so demand for such a shift is possible, this is vital for any shift in response to crime. Third, we must design alternatives for people when arrested, creating places for people to go instead of prison. Lastly, neighborhoods must create alternatives like mentorship and service programs so resources needed to divert people can happen immediately and not be held-up by politics process.
This is sound public policy creating a space for new discussion about our response to crime. These strategies for addressing public safety place neighborhoods and neighbors at the center of solving community problems, because this is the only way real solutions happen. After we have been at best fumbling in the dark to at worst going the wrong direction for so long, it’s time we supported reform rooted in social justice and collective responsibility.

Urban Farm and Campaign Events

September 20th, 2007

First of all, there’s an interesting piece in the New Haven Independent about the city’s Parks Commission giving the green light to an urban farm idea. Part of my education proposals is the notion of making our city’s schools have at least a quarter of their food be locally grown (by local I mean in Connecticut) and/or organic. An urban farm (or farms) would be a great way to accomplish this while achieving a lot more.

Secondly, I will be meeting with the New Haven Citizen Action Network next week to discuss city budget policy issues and a possible endorsement, anyone interested in tagging along should drop me a line. An alder’s most important job is, arguably, handling the city budget and being knowledgeable about our financial burdens and boons, which is why I requested a meeting with NH CAN.

And finally, there may be a community forum or town meeting or ‘debate’ in the works featuring myself, Alder Clark, Allan Brison, and Alder Mattison hosted by the New Haven Independent. When I find out more I’ll let you all know.

Something to think about

September 13th, 2007

An online acquaintance, Corbett Koehler, has a brief video about using solar energy to heat your hot water. It’s worth a gander.

“The online video clip featuring the installation of our solar water heater is starting to see some real traffic. Would you take 5 minutes and help me raise my online stature even more? This would be very helpful to all of my efforts, including the success of the Green Earth Expo in May. Please choose one or more of the following links where my clip appears and submit a comment or rating as applicable:







New Haven’s Primary Results

September 12th, 2007

The machine counts with (i) denoting incumbents from the New Haven Register:

Ward 3: Jacqueline James (i) 104, Ira Johnson 35


Ward 11: Robert Lee (i), 225, against Virginia Ginger McHugh, 115


Ward 12: Gerald Antunes (i), 152, against Bernadette Barbour, 32


Ward 19: Alfreda Edwards (i), 183, Cleaven Johnson Jr., 43, and Lamont Moye, 27


Ward 21: Katrina Jones (i), 109, Patricia Brooks, 36


Ward 22: Gregory Morehead, (i), 202, Lisa Hopkins, 98, and Cordelia Thorpe, 23


Ward 23: Yusuf Shah (i), 100, Barbara Fair, 59


Ward 26: Sergio Rodriguez (i) 235, Alan Felder, 135.


These are the numbers including absentee ballots as reported by the New Haven Independent:

Ward 2: Gina Calder 277, Frank Douglass 249 

Ward 3: Jackie James 147, Ira Johnson 51 

Ward 11: Robert Lee 231, Virginia “Ginger” McHugh 139 

Ward 12: Gerald Antunes 152, Bernadette Barbour 32 

Ward 19: Alfreda Edwards 216, Cleavon Johnson 43, Lamont O. Moye 27 

Ward 21: Katrina Jones 109, Patricia Brooks 36 

Ward 22: Greg Morehead 245, Lisa Hopkins 114, Cordelia Thorpe 31 

Ward 23: Yusuf Shah 114, Barbara Fair 69 

Ward 26: Sergio Rodriguez 239, Alan Felder 138

Ward 30: Michelle Edmonds-Sepulveda (i) 145, Tilda Morrison 131

With the exception of Alder James and Alder Lee, every lock-step supporter of Mayor DeStefano won the primary. The New Haven Independent quotes Mayor DeStefano as saying this was a “status quo election,” which makes my skin crawl.


Now more than ever, I need your help to be elected to the Board of Aldermen. New Haven must have a voice on the Board that demands accountability, requires justification for actions, and maintains oversight, because allies and cronies will not do it.

Fuel Cell Energy

September 5th, 2007

The CT Energy Blog, for which there’s a link on this page, just recently posted a small note about fuel cell energy. It got me thinking and I would invite you to examine the links that Bruce Crowder, the weblog manager, put up on CT Energy Blog. Specifically check out this fuel cell energy primer presented by a Danbury company. 

One of my proposals is for New Haven to create a municipal energy district. This immediately raises the question, ‘How are we going to generate our own power?’ There is no one simple, catch all solution. As a Green you’re going to hear me say solar (there is alot of unused space atop and along every building down town) and wind (West Rock is a resource and should be developed as one). Yet all ‘alternative’ energy sources must create a matrix, they must work together to help solve our energy needs; there is no one solution.

However, I feel that fuel cell energy could go a long way in helping our city slowly change over to one that is self-sufficient (meaning we don’t buy our energy from someone else, we generate it and, perhaps, sell it to others). We need to have aldermen in City Hall that are pro-active about this, people with the knowledge framework necessary to understand the hoops, hurdles, and long-term benefits. I believe I can be this type of alder.

Models for Implementation of a Citywide Wireless Broadband Network

August 30th, 2007

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between a municipally owned wireless broadband network and one that is a public/private partnership. This comes from the city of San Francisco’s proposal, so when you look at the actual cost numbers keep in mind that they are for a city 6 times our size (so costs would be much less). I would be an advocate of the municipally-owned and operated model.

 Municipally-owned and Operated Model

Estimated Capital costs incurred by the City: $6 million to $10 million Variable.  

Estimated Ongoing Operations & Maintenance Costs incurred by the City: $1.5 million to $2 million annually  City’s Revenue: 1) Savings from replacement of existing City technological systems 2) Access Fees to Users 3) Advertising and grants 

Costs incurred by City residents: 1) Cost of CPE’s (Customer Premises Equipment, which is needed by network users to connect to the wireless Network): $80 to $200, which could be subsidized through grants or other City resources 2) Premium service tier - $0 to $10 per month 

Advantages: 1) This model gives the City the most control over the network, its operation and the services it provides to ensure that the City’s objectives are fulfilled 2) Could generate subscriber revenues which can be used to fund on-going and one-time wireless network costs, as well as to fund digital inclusion programs 3)The City would have full management over marketing and advertising services in order to attract subscribers in a competitive broadband Internet service environment.


Disadvantages: 1) Sources of capital to fund the engineering, design, testing and construction of the network would need to be identified 2) This model puts the City in direct competition with private telecommunications and cable companies for the provision of broadband access.


 Public/Private Partnership Model

Estimated Capital costs incurred by the City: 0

Estimated Ongoing Operations & Maintenance Costs incurred by the City: 0

City’s Revenue: Revenue-sharing agreement and pole-access fee


Advantages: 1) The City assumes no financial risk 2) The City does not have to be involved with the marketing, deployment, revenue generation, and the around-the-clock customer service required to sustain the network.

 Disadvantages: 1) The City is reliant upon a private company to provide “last mile” access to areas of the City where the company may have no profit incentive to provide a consistent, high-quality service either due to (a) insufficient numbers of network users in those areas, and/or (b) insufficient revenues generated by the users of the network in those areas.