Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dear Eric,

The following is the range schedule for the next two weeks. This, of course, is subject to change.

November 19, 8:00am - 3:45pm
November 20, no classes scheduled
November 21, 8:00am - 3:45pm
November 22-28, no classes scheduled
November 29 & 30, 8:00am - 3:45pm

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hearing Info about the Mayor's Requested Increase

Hi All:

I got a few requests for more information about the hearing on the Mayor's pay rate increase. Below please find the particulars:

Tuesday November 20th - 7pm
New Haven City Hall
165 Church Street
2nd Floor, Main Aldermainc Chamber
New Haven, CT 06510

There will be a sign up sheet for those that wish to speak on the issue. Please note there will be a time limit that the chair of the committee will set. I hope to see you there and please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Story about this blog on Yale Daily News

Hi All:

Check out this story about me and this blog from the Yale Daily News. This earns them a link on my sidebar.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Mayor's requested Pay Increase

Dear All:

I have been contacted by a number of folks commenting on the pay rate increase that the Mayor is looking for. You can read about it in the New Haven Independent, the New Haven Register, or the Yale Daily News.

As your elected official I would like to hear what you think about this. For or against or perhaps a partial raise

The Finance Committee of the BOA is having a hearing at 7pm November 20th. I understand that the WEB meets that night so I won’t be at the WEB, but if one can’t make a hearing you can always send a letter to be read into testimony.

You can post a signed comment here, call me at 772-1805 or email me at

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recycling in New Haven

Dear All:

As you may have read about in the New Haven Independent or in the New Haven Register me and a few colleagues have gotten together over the past few months and put for a new plan for recycling in the City. Below is my stump speech - I would love to know what you think about the idea.

With a special thanks to the following Alders -
Nicholas Shalek
Roland Lemar
Erin Sturgis-Pascale



Recycling in New Haven

Current Program

Currently in New Haven we have a curb side recycling program with each household having 1 18 gallon bin. The current program is defined as:

Plastics #'s 1 through 7,
Glass Food Jars,
Corrugated Cardboard,
Mixed White Paper,
Scrap Metal
Waste Oil

If there is any overflow from the bin are to be taken to the City of New Haven Recycling Center located at the City's Transfer Station at 260 Middletown Avenue.

Issues with the Current Program

We have identified a number of short comings with the current program they include but are not limited to:

18 gallon bins are too small
Our yard waste is not being composted
Our organics are not being composted

We believe that a major factor in the current program is that we have given our residents massive 96 gallon garbage bins. These bins enable people to dispose of any thing as long as it fits into a bag and the bin. The reality is that the overflow from the bins are bagged and put into the 96 gallon regular bin.

This then leads to a number of negative factors:

Material that should be recycled is instead put into the Solid Waste stream
Costing the City more money because we pay approximately $85 per ton of MSW and $35 per ton of recyclables


We propose that the City provide a larger bin for recycling. Something in the 54 gallon range with wheels. This will encourage people to put more in the bin and have less of a reason not to recycle. The fact that we will be saving around $50 per ton for every additional ton we recycle should help deflect much of the cost of the bins.

This will mean that we will have to contract with a “Single Stream Recycling Facility”, where they are able to handle any mixture of acceptable recyclables and they sort them at their facility.

To further incentivize the program we can contract with a firm such as RecycleBank of Philadelphia who rewards homes for the amount each home recycles. Each RecycleBank Recycling Container has a barcode that is identified by the recycling truck. The amount your home recycles is translated into RecycleBank Dollars that you can use to shop at participating stores.

Programs such as this have been effective in moving the recycling rate from 6% of waste removed to over 30%. This translates into real savings to the environment and City coffers.


To all of those that came out last week and voted for me -


Monday, November 5, 2007


Hi All:

Tomorrow November 6th is Election Day in New Haven, I strongly urge every one to vote and I hope that you will support me and the entire Democratic ticket.


Public Service Message - Bridge Work


Two New Haven Bridges will be closed next weekend for standard maintenance work.

The Chapel Street Bridge (also known as the Carr Bridge) will be closed on Saturday, November 10 from 8am until 2pm

On Sunday, November 11 from 8am until 2pm, the Grand Avenue Bridge will be closed

The Department of Public Works urges drivers to identify alternate routes in advance so as to avoid traffic congestion during the maintenance work.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Range schedule

The latest range schedule...

Dear Eric,

The following is the range schedule for the next two weeks. This, of course, is subject to change.

November 5 & 6, no classes scheduled
November 7, 8:00am - 3:45pm
November 8, no classes scheduled
November 9, 8:00am - 3:45pm
November 12-14, no classes scheduled
November 15 & 16 , 8:00am - 3:45pm

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Recent issues in the Ward

Dear All:

I would like to update the ward regarding reported gunfire on Moreland Road & Ellsworth Avenue and High School Students wandering through the neighborhood. I have been working with the Mayor’s Office, the Police Department and the Board of Education to try to come up with a proactive, viable solution.

The issues as I see them are as follows:

Teenagers stashing their bikes in the backyards of our neighbors on Norton Parkway.
This is a trespass and a violation of ones right to not have your home invaded.
The trespassers’ are now targeting the homes where they are hiding their bikes for further criminal activity.
The gunfire that happened over the past week on Moreland and Ellsworth.

With regard to issue 1; there was a meeting on Tuesday 10/30/07 attended by Asst. Chief Redding; Sergeant Steve Shea (our District Manager); Principal of Hillhouse, Dr. Lonnie Garris and a Resource Officer from Hillhouse (similar to a in house police officer). The result of the meeting is that the students will be able to park their bikes at the school now and the BOE will be providing two additional outdoor bike racks along with indoor space for bikes. No student will have the excuse that they don’t have a safe place to park their bike. An announcement was made over the Hillhouse PA system that there will be patrols in the streets, alleys and backyards surrounding the school and that any bikes found will be confiscated by the police.
I am working with the above group to get a contact name and number at the school for residents to call directly if there is a student going through the yards or roaming the streets during school hours. When I get that name and number I will inform the neighborhood.

With regard to issue number 2; in my conversations with the police it became apparent that this is a much more difficult problem to solve. Shell casings were removed from the scene and we don’t know if they match any gun on record. I know that this is not the answer we want and I feel that a proactive approach will help us. I would like to outline a few ideas that can assist in this regard:

I have asked for more patrols in the area and a greater police presences in general.
It is of the utmost importance to make sure that each time there is a crime; you file a report and ask for the case number so you know that it has been filed.
Each time you hear gunfire immediately inform the police, regardless if you think it is from the range or not.

Please note that our police are a data driven force and they will respond only when we can show them that we are in need of greater police service.

As always I may be contacted via
Email –
Voicemail – 203-772-1805
Snail Mail – 195 Colony Road, New Haven, CT 06511

Yours truly,

131 Colony Road Update 11/1/07

Hi All:

I would like to give the group an update on what is happening with 131 Colony. Andy Rizzo - the head of the building department went down and personally checked out the property and found the following:

Height of house - well within regulation
Front porch - illegal must be modified or removed. The builder has a right to apply for a variance or must cut back the porch.
Setback from 123 Colony (the old Ginsburg house) - close at this stage - because construction is ongoing there is going to be what is know as a "As Build" inspection prior to the CoO being issued to ensure that the house is within the proper set back.
Construction debris - builder said that the debris would be cleared prior to the weekend.

If there are any other questions or concerns about a particular facet of the construction or home please contact me and I will look after it. I may be reached at or 772-1805 (voice mail).

Yours truly,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

131 Colony Road House is up

Dear Friends & Neighbors:

I was in contact with Andy Rizzo of the New Haven Building Department with regard to the construction on what is now known as 131 Colony Road or “the Stein House”. Andy is having an inspector down at the site on a regular basis to check and as of now there are no violations. In fact Mr. Stein turned the house around and has the front door facing Colony now (that is something we asked for).

I would like to thank Andy for the extra steps he is taking in keeping an eye on this for usually the inspector will only come out once just prior to issuing the CoO. We must remember that Mr. Stein has a Constitutional right to improve his land within the Zoning regulations of the City.

He will keep me updated as things progress and I will be sending everyone updates as well as posting this to my blog at

Yours truly,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mayoral Debate

Sounds interesting

Mayoral Debate Set for Tuesday, October 30

On Tuesday, October 30, 2007, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, a mayoral debate will be held by the New Haven Democracy Fund, with co-sponsors the League of Women Voters, WTNH, the New Haven Register, and the New Haven Advocate.

The debate will be held at the Wexler-Grant School auditorium, 55 Foote Street. All three mayoral candidates will appear: Democrat John DeStefano, Jr., Republican Richter Elser, and Green Ralph Ferrucci. Food will served after the debate.

Questions are being submitted by New Haven high school and college students, and others, for selection by the League of Women Voters. Audience members will also have an opportunity to submit questions before the debate. The questions will be posed to the candidates by a single moderator (to be named soon).

The New Haven Democracy Fund is the new pilot public election financing program. New Haven is the first city in Connecticut to establish a public financing system, as part of a State Elections Enforcement Commission program. The voluntary Democracy Fund program, in which all candidates are participating, is intended to bring more New Haven residents into the political process, to make small contributions more meaningful, and to prevent large contributors from affecting public policy. Mayoral candidates are able to spend more time communicating with voters and focusing on the issues, and less time fund-raising.

Contact: Robert Wechsler, Administrator, New Haven Democracy Fund, 203-859-1959

For more information about the Democracy Fund, visit its webpage:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Firing Rage update

Dear Eric,

The following is the range schedule for the next two weeks. This, ofcourse, is subject to change.

October 22 & 23, no classes scheduled
October 24, 8:00am - 3:45pm
October 25, no classes scheduled
October 26, 8:00am - 3:45pm
October 29 & 30, no classes scheduled
October 31, 8:00am - 3:45 pm
November 1 & 2, no classes scheduled

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Firing Range Update

Hi All:

This is hot off the wires!

The following is the range schedule for this week and next week. This,of course, is subject to change.

October 8 & 9, no classes scheduled
October 10, 8:00am - 3:45pm
October 11, 8:00am - 3:45pm
October 12, no classes scheduled
October 15 & 16, no classes scheduled
October 17, 8:00am - 3:45 pm
October 18 & 19, no classes scheduled

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Firing Range update 9-7-07

Hot off the email

Dear Eric,

The following is the range schedule for the next two weeks. This, of course, is subject to change.

September 10 & 11, no classes scheduled
September 12, 8:00am - 3:00pm
September 13, no classes scheduled
September 14, 8:00am - 3:45pm
September 17 & 18, no classes scheduled
September 19, 8:00am - 3:45 pm
September 20 & 21, no classes scheduled

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Hi All:

Tomorrow evening I will be having a Fundraiser for my slate committee - the West End Democrats for Progress (or something like that).

Date: September 6th, 2007
Time: 6pm to 8 pm
Location: Home of Chaya & Meir Holtzberg 488 Ellsworth Ave, New Haven, CT 06511

The suggested contribution is $25 and an individual can give up to $750.

Please RSVP to 203-772-1805 or

Thanks & hope to see you there!


Intresting email that I just got today...

Greetings, Ward Representatives of New Haven,

We are excited to announce that New Haven is a stop on our four-city New England Tour for Dream, a documentary project looking for people who have always wanted something more from their lives and are now ready to commit to that change. Examples of Dreams we have heard range from wanting a more fulfilling job to wanting to be a stand-up comedian, and everything in between.

We are seeking people to cast in our project, which includes a film and book, and want to let as many people know that we want to hear their Dream. Everything you need to know about the film, Dream, is attached herein. Our website is under construction, but will be fully interactive soon. Also attached is a flier that I hope you will pass along about the event in the next paragraph.

On Oct. 1, at Koffee on Orange, from 5:30 to 7:30, we are hosting an informal casting/meet and greet for the film.

I am reaching out to you because you are people who actively seek to improve the lives of your constituents, and you are constantly in touch with them. If you have a Dream yourself and would like it to be considered for the project, please do. But our hope is that you tell as many of your constituents as possible about the project. In our early casting efforts, in Lincoln, NE, the mayor there saw to it that every person on his email list knew about the project. In Louisville, KY, our pilot city, Mayor Abramson agreed to sit down and talk to us about his Dream to revitalize the massive park system.

Bottom line is this: We want to hear people's Dreams for their lives and we know that you have the means to tell them about it.

So please, tell them. Forward this correspondence to whomever you think might want to be included in the project.

If you have any questions about the project, please do not hesitate to call. I have already spoken to some of you. And if you would like to tell us your Dream, please submit it to We'd love to hear it!


Ben BerzaiCastingDream23 Cortes St Suite #1Boston, MA 02116Office 617.542.0594 Mobile

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Hi Guys:

Well it appears that I don't have a challenger in the primary. The person did not qualify. This means that the polls will not be open this September 11th as there is no primary for either me or the Mayor.

I ordered yard signs prior to knowing that no one was running, but if you want one just shoot me an email and I will get one over to you.

Once again thank you to everyone that offered to walk with me and hand out literature.



What is going on at 131 Colony

Well folks, Mr. Stein paid his taxes and late fees and got his permits back. He now placed a "For Sale Sign". When the house goes up he is asking for $475,000.

I spoke with Any Rizzo of LCI & the Building Department. He said that the plywood nailed to the foundation is considered a fence and Mr. Stein has no other obligation to fence more then this.



Updated Range Schedule


Dear Eric,
The following is the range schedule for the this week and next week.
This, of course, is subject to change.
August 27, no classes scheduled
August 28 & 29, 8:00am - 3:45pm
August 30 & 31, no classes scheduled
September 3, no classes scheduled
September 4 & 5, 8:00am - 3:45 pm
September 6 & 7, no classes scheduled

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact theacademy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

See you at Beaver Pond tonight!

This is from Nan...


Please meet tonight in Beaver Pond Park . We will weed and mulch the garden beds, watch the birds, and survey our summer's accomplishments. Yesterday evening, I saw a huge osprey with its bright white belly sitting for a long time in the bare branches of one of the trees. We have many wonderful birds on display to observe while we work.

Date: Wednesday, August 29
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Beaver Pond Park by the benches

In addition, come tomorrow, Thurs., Aug. 30 anytime between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM to the area beyond the Wildflower garden near Bowen Field. This is the final workday for the Mods at Beaver Pond Park . Students from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES) will be working with Chris Ozyck, Colleen Murphy-Dunning, and our summer intern of 2006, Margaret Carmalt, to help us clear out the invasive vegetation and plant in its place new evergreen trees (white cedar, red cedar, and spruce.)
Come to look. Come to chat. Come to help. Bring your children in a stroller. Come to walk your dog. All manner of interest is welcome. The students want to meet our community members who care about Beaver Pond Park .

Thanks for all your cooperation and help. Together we will make Beaver Pond Park a field, a forest, and a pond of beauty.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Hi Everyone:

The city is going to be restarting the Bootfinder program for unpaid car taxes. Please pay up or they will tow your car!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cautiously Optimistic Update on 131 Colony Road…

Dear All:

I have some news to share with everyone. Once again we were able to get the building permit on 131 Colony Road issued to Daniel Stein rescinded.

The reason I am cautiously optimistic is because he was able to work his way out of this in the past. But the order was issued August 8th and he did not get out of it yet so you never know.

Please inform me ASAP if you see ANY work being done on the property.

A big thanks to all the folks in the various offices in the City that were able to turn this around so quickly.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Updated firing range schedule

Hi All, this just came in via email...

Dear Eric,

The following is the range schedule for the next two weeks. This, of course, is subject to change.

August 13-15, 8:00am-3:45pm
August 16 & 17, no classes scheduled
August 20-22, 8:00am-3:45pm
August 23 & 24, no classes scheduled

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Vote on the Executive Pay Scale from last night...

Hi Everyone:

As you may have read in the NH Register and the NH Independent today I voted not to re-hear the Executive Pay Scale and vote that to pass it. For the reasons why I think it is a good idea please check out my earlier post here.

The issue at hand is that one member of the public felt that he did not have the opportunity to testify on the item. He wrote a letter to the President of the Board of Aldermen to stating that the original meeting in February 2007 was not properly noticed and therefore we should rehear the item.

I sit on the Finance Committee and I was in attendance at both meetings. I would like to point out the following

The staff of the BOA has noticed meetings in this format for over 7 years. The chair of the committee had staff pull the hearing notices for then and they were worded the same just the dates and topics changed. No one ever had a problem understanding that this was open for public testimony.

The Chair of the committee at the February meeting did call for public testimony and no one asked to speak. As is the rule he called out 3 times does anyone wish to testify on this item. No one responded.

The committee voted to move out of the public portion of the hearing and go to the closed portion (only members of the BOA can speak at this time). During the public portion and in the closed part of the hearing a number of colleagues had issues with the plan as presented. So during the closed part we said that we will table the item for now ask the city staff to get back to us with the answers we wanted (they did) and then we will reconsider the item.

After we got what we asked for, it was June. Then, because the item already was heard back in February we just had to un-table the item and vote on it. The chair of the committee decided that there was no reason to rehear the item, as a committee, had heard from the public and discussed the item already in the closed part of the hearing. There was relatively little discussion in the closed part because we got the answers and documentation we were looking for.

When the time came last night to vote on it I felt – and a majority of my colleagues as well – that the rules were followed and that we should enable the city staff to be able to have the opportunity to get raises after waiting 6 months.

This is a bit more detailed then usual but this is a complex issue and to be understood needs the details.

Yours truly,

Monday, August 6, 2007

Up for re-election

Dear All:

I am announcing that I am running for re-election, and want to thank the Democratic Ward and Town Committees for endorsing me again as the Democratic candidate for alder in the 28th Ward. I hope I have earned your support for a full term.

Like the rest of the state, we will be using new voting machines in the next election. You will receive a paper ballot and will fill in the oval next to the candidate's name. Then you will feed the paper ballot into the optical scan machine for verification. This technology is the most common form of voting in America today and provides a paper trail for each vote cast in compliance with state law and the federal Help America Vote Act.

I would greatly appreciate your help in the coming weeks. If you can offer time making phone calls, walking door to door with me, delivering campaign literature, or just advice, please send me a note at or call me at 203-772-1805.

If you need to register to vote or expect to be away and will need an absentee ballot, contact me!

Thank you so much.

(With thanks to Ina)

Something to do in New Haven...

Sound intresting....

Connecticut's Second Annual Movie Day!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
People's Center,
37 Howe Street, New Haven

Bring-your-own-film event puts the spotlight on historic amateur worksand home film preservation.
On Saturday, August 11th, 2007, local archivists, librarians,filmmakers and film enthusiasts will help the public learn about, enjoy, and rescue films so often forgotten about.
Home Movie Dayshows how home movies offer a unique "you are here" view of decades past, often in gorgeous living color, and are an important part ofpersonal, community, and cultural history.
"Saving our film heritage should not be limited only to commercially produced films," says legendary director and film preservation advocate Martin Scorsese. Filmmaker John Waters echoes that sentiment saying, "There's no such thing as a bad home movie.
Home Movie Day is an orgy of self-discovery, a chance for family memories to suddenlybecome show business. If you've got one, whip it out and show it now.
"Connecticut's second annual Home Movie Day is free and open to publicand will be held in New Haven on Saturday, August 11 at the People'sCenter (37 Howe St, between Crown and George). Film drop-off time isnoon to 2pm; home movie screening is from 2 to 6pm. Film and video assessment and preservation tips will be provided throughout theevent, prizes will be given away and continuous screenings of home movies will be enjoyed! Damaged films cannot be screened, but participants whose films are at risk can learn more about how to rescue those precious images before it's too late. No films? Come and watch the show! Accepted movie types are 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm. Participants are urged to introduce and even narrate their movies. Participants areurged to contact organizers in advance to drop-off film for inspection and projection preparation or arrive at noon on the event day.

Drop-off contacts: New Haven area: Molly Wheeler ( 203.430.4157.

Home Movie Day is an internationally organized event that began in 2003, when a small group of film archivists decided to go beyond traditional preservation methods to try and save the countless reels of home movies shot on film during the 20th century. The first HomeMovie Day on August 16, 2003 was an unexpected success, with over twenty cities in four countries participating. In each following year, Home Movie Day grew bigger still, with as many as four dozen venues taking part from Australia to Arkansas. Last year, the Center for Home Movies targeted New Orleans, LA as the2006 Home Movie Day highlight city. A curated screening and special community events brought attention to local collections of historic footage, and shed light on the many moving images that were already atrisk from the hot and humid local climate before the disastrous impactof Hurricane Katrina. Dwight Core, Sr. and George Ingmire's "Think ofMe First as a Person," a father's home movie portrait of his developmentally disabled son, was first shown at the New Orleans HomeMovie Day event. The film was subsequently named to the Library ofCongress's National Film Registry in 2007. Don't throw your films away-take them to Home Movie Day!Information:
Phone: Molly Wheeler 203.430.4157

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Elm City ID Cards

Well Folks:

The City of New Haven has been in the national news recently with regard to our new Elm City ID Card (please note that the card is a multi purpose resident card for ALL of the city's residents).

I posted about this earlier in one of my posts. Since then I have been getting some correspondence looking for clarification of the program. In reading & listening to the general media coverage I see where these questions are coming from.

The short of it is that we are providing a service to the general population as well as a chance for undocumented people to live a safer life here in the city. All of this is at no direct cost to the city.

We are doing this because the Federal Government is not able to come up with an effective and solid immigration policy. We are just dealing with the reality of this inaction.

Following please find an outline of what some of the more common questions are.

Question #1
Why are we issuing "citizenship papers" to undocumented people?

We are not issuing any citizen papers to any one. Only the Federal Government can do that. The only thing that we are doing for undocumented people is to give them a recognized id that will help them get a bank account.

Question #2
Why are we wasting city money to help these people?

The funding from this project is coming 100% from a grant from the 1st Community Bank Foundation (this is the community bank created when New Haven Savings Bank went public).

As a city we feel that putting this program in to effect is important because we have a reality that needs to be dealt with. We have a population of approximately 125,000 people. Of that anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 are undocumented. These people for the most part do not have bank accounts – they therefore carry large amounts of cash. This then makes them targets of criminals who know this and prey on them. In the past year we had 2 murders directly relegated to undocumented people being targeted for their cash. It is not good for any one documented or otherwise to have anyone targeted and attacked in the city.

In addition we hope to create a list of where these people are for in case of an epidemic or an emergency we will now have a way to reach out and control a large part of our population that we did not have in the past.

Our police back this because they never had a true idea of where a large part of the city really lived now we will have a firm idea where they live etc.

Question #3

What is the revenue to the City from:
New City debit card?
New immigrant ID card?

The cards are one in the same.

Everyone pays the $10 fee for adults and $5 for children.The $10 fee gets broken down as follows:$5 - to the city for the card (costs are staffing, equipment, etc.)$5 - on the card for the person to use as a debit card in New Haven and for the Parcsmart meters.

For the kids there is no debit component. In addition no money is given to the 1st Community Bank - the money they gave was 100% grant.
Question #4
I am not an undocumented person – what do I gain from the card?

Every Resident of New Haven will be able to use this card to:
Use our Public Libraries
Your child can have an ID that has emergency contact information along with the rest of the features.
Park for Free at the Public Beaches (now you need to show your car registration that shows you car is registered in New Haven and you will still be able to do it).
Not have to carry change when using a parking meter – you can use the debit feature.
Use your card at over 50 locations downtown. If you are a merchant and want to accept the card as well contact Kica Matos at 946-7909.

In addition to the above you can read the fact sheet from the city here.



Family Day at Beaver Pond Park

Family Day at Beaver Pond Park

Sponsored by:

The Montana Youth Wilderness Group from New Haven
Roxanne Condon
Jerry Turick
Ed Grant
Friends of Beaver Pond Park (FOBPP) Nan Bartow

Date: Saturday, July 28
Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Place: Beaver Pond Park - South Pond-corner of Fournier & Crescent Streets.

Featured Events: · Food · Canoeing · Environmental Awareness-provided by the New Haven-Montana Youth Wilderness Group with the aid of URI’s Environmental Educator,Justin Pegnataro Planting with help of our URI intern,Paula Randler

10:00 onward Canoe rides with Roxanne
10:30 planting with URI intern, Paula Randler
12:-12:30 Creature Feature-show live aquatic animals and insects
1:30-2:00 Fun games

Update on 131 Colony

I just got an update on 131 Colony Road.

The Modular is going to becoming in within the next 4 weeks.

I asked about fencing and was not able to force them to put anything up.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Special WEB Meeting

Dear All:

There will be a special WEB meeting Tuesday 7/24/07 at the Sub Station on Whalley Ave. The topic will be Crime in the Neighborhood.

Due to the Tisha B'Av Fast I will not be able to attend.


FoBPP Meeting 7-25-07

Hot off the Press!

FOBPP Meeting #6 7-25-07

Hello FOBPP,
Welcome to the last Greenspace meeting of July.
We will have our sixth gardening session with Paula Randler, our Greenspace intern.

Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: Go beyond the benches at the corner of Fournier and Crescent. Then go through the second yellow gate to the Wildflower Garden near the Bowen field running track. We will plant wildflower seeds, perennials, and native grasses in our wildflower garden.

Come for the whole time. Come for a short time. Come to say hello and cheer us on.

We will do some plant, weeding and mulch. Probably the new plants will need watering.

Please bring your energy, your children, your parents, grandparents and neighbors.

Paula's work phone is 203-432-6189. My cell phone is 203-494-2529.


Monday, July 16, 2007

The Arts Council is looking for volunteers

The Arts Council is looking for volunteers to help with the hanging of photographs for its annual fundraiser "Off the Wall". The scheduled date is Saturday, August 4th at 10:00am at Studio 70, 70 Audubon Street, New Haven.

Please come whenever you can, even an hour of your time makes a difference. I can be reached at 203-772-2788 if you would like to sign up or if you have questions. Your support is greatly appreciated. If you have a hammer, please bring it with you.

(To those who have volunteered to frame, Thank You! We have had to cancel our framing night on the 18th but are still looking for people to help on July 26th from 4-7pm here at the Arts Council. Let me know if you are interested.)
Ms. Winter Marshall
The Arts Council of Greater New Haven

Friday, July 13, 2007

Democratic Ward Committee Meeting

Hi All:

There will be a Democratic 28th Ward Committee Meeting on Thursday the 19th at 6pm (sharp). I hope I can count on your support.

Thank you!


Firing Range Schedule for the next few weeks

I just got this email...

Dear Eric,

The following is the range schedule for the next two weeks. This, of course, is subject to change.

July 16 - July 20, 2007, 8:00am-3:45 pm
July 23 - July 27, 2007, 8:00am-3:45pm

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

State of Community Policing in New Haven Today...

Dear All:

With everything going in Police District 10 – the WEB area, I have been giving some though about the current state of Community Policing we find ourselves in now.

Our fair city is covers a wide area and a diverse social & economic range. Our ward is a good representation of this. The reality is that the lower part of the ward has different policing needs the upper part. But both parts need to have more of a police presence.

One thing I like about our ward and the WEB Management Team is the fact that overall this is a pretty intelligent group. We understand the problems and limitations that we face and the Police Department faces. Some of them are:

The fact is that the city is in the midst of a budget crisis and that we have a very generous benefit package that makes it difficult to afford to hirer more officers.

The force is down over 100 officers from the height under Nick Pastore

I have been hearing that the partnerships with the various State agencies – such as DCF – are weak and the rapport that we once had is not there

Federal grant dollars are substantially less and harder to obtain

The above leads us to the current crisis that we are now in.

Officers are getting burnt out. When an officer would rather not work the earn overtime we have a problem. Also the good and deserving officers can’t move up in the ranks or we risk even further depleting the force on the street.

With a smaller force there is no way that we can have the coverage that we once did – no ifs ands or buts.

Our partner State agencies are not as focused on us and now a large part of the NHPD’s calls are for domestic abuse cases. What used to be dealt with by DCF or other agency is now falling on the shoulders of our cops.

When we used to get many millions of dollars in direct and indirect grants from the Federal Government under COPS and other such programs what few thousand dollars we do get we are happy for

The question now is what can we expect from our Police Department and Chief of Police. I want to know what you think. Please post a comment to or email me at

Yours in service,

Moti Sandman

Monday, July 9, 2007


Hi All:

There will be a special WEB Meeting Tuesday July 10th at the Whalley Avenue sub station at 7pm. CAO Robert Smuts & Chief Ortiz will be there to hear and discuss community concerns about community policing. I hope to see you there!


Friday, July 6, 2007

Executive Pay Scale

Dear All:

There has been some publicity over the past few weeks about the Executive Pay Scale increase that the Finance Committee passed in its last meeting. I sit on that committee and will lay out why we increased the scale.

The short reason is that we (the City) are not paying market rate wages for a number of executive positions. It is understood that government is usually under what the privet sector pays but we are so low that some subordinates (in the 3144 municipal workers union) are higher paid then their supervisors. We will not attract the best and brightest that we need and want to work for the City. Or they will stay a short while work up the resume and take off to richer waters. Below are some facts and figures that really outline the above.

The range increases being reflected have nothing to do with pay increases. These increases total 16% and mirror the increases of the 3144 contract

The Administration is committed to limiting the total amount of all salary increases to no more than 3.15%, or the same increase as 3144 received last July 1st

The Administration has not asked for range increases in the past 6 years (2001)

At the time of the last request, November 2001, the Administration sought a range increase of 15% two years after the adoption of the new salary structure

The salary structure currently in place is not keeping up with salaries in Local 3144. In one case, the department head is making less than members of his/her department. The top ten Local 3144 wages (non-BOE) are higher than 10 of the 11 attorneys working in Corporation Counsel

There are six Local 3144 individuals in Range 10, Step 10 at $80,578. At this salary, no Assistant Corporation Counsel is making a comparable salary, nor any of the Department Heads in an Exempt Range 5 or below

Salaries for the least paid members of the Executive Management fall below comparable or subordinate positions salaries in 3144. For instance, the Chief Examiner of the City is paid $63,973 – well below the $80,578 paid to the Human Resource Manager of the Police Department, a subordinate 3144 position.

Salary increases for members of Local 3144 were implemented in July ’06. At that time, 3144 members received a 3.5% increase, in July ’07 another 3.5% increase, a 3.0% increase in July of ’08, ’09, ’10.

Thanks to Paul Nunez & Tina Burgett for the facts & figures.

Free Films at New Haven Public Library

New Haven Free Public Library and the 50+ Transition Center present
Summer 2007 Health, Aging and Activism
Thursday Film Series

Thursday, July 12 at 6:30 pm: Salud!
Spanish w/English Subtitles. On location in Cuba, Gambia, South Africa, Venezuela, Honduras, USA. Directed by Connie Field. 93 min.; 2006.

¡Salud! takes a look at Cuba , a cash-strapped country that ironically enjoys what the BBC calls "one of the world's best health systems." The film tells the stories of some of the 28,000 Cuban health professionals currently serving in 68 countries, as well as some 30,000 international medical students in Cuba, including nearly 100 from the USA . ¡Salud! highlights some of the complex realities that confront the movement toward universal healthcare. A timely adjunct to Michael Moore's new film, Sicko.
Michele Barry, MD, FACP, will introduce the film. Professor of Medicine and Global Public Health at Yale University, she is the Director of Yale's Office of International Health .

July 19 at 6:30 pm: Autumn Summer (Babi Leto)

In Czech with English subtitles. Directed by
Vladimir Michalek. 95 min.; 2002.

A wry, bittersweet comedy starring the great Vlastimil Brodsky ( Closely Watched trains, Jacob the Liar ) as Fanda, an old man who refuses to grow up. Despite pleas from his exasperated wife, Emilie, and son who want him to make some serious decisions about the future, he ignores their nagging and spends his days seeking amusement and adventure.

July 26 at 6:30 pm: Forever Activists! Stories from the Veterans of Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Spain/USA. Directed by Judith Montell. 60 min.; 1991. Academy Award Best Feature Documentary Nomination.

In the late 1930s, Spain was embroiled in a civil war which prefigured the conflicts of World War II. Many idealistic young Americans rushed to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, to fight with the Republican side against the fascists and Nazis. While many Americans across the political spectrum supported these efforts at the time, during the McCarthy era of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the brigade was condemned because it had contained communists, and those who fought in it were blacklisted and even imprisoned.
This film explores the subsequent careers of some who fought in the Brigade. Spanish Civil War buffs will enjoy footage of La Passionaria, a prominent Republican figure in the conflict.
Jacinto Lirola will lead a discussion after the film. This will be the 3rd Year the NHFPL has screened a film regarding the Spanish Civil War.

No charge for this film series - 133 Elm Street - Details 946-7431

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Open Mic Night with Alderman Morehead

Hi All:

Ward 22 Alderman Greg Morehead has asked that I spread the word about the open mic night that will take place:

Saturday June 30th at 5 PM
Wexler Grant School
Outside track
55 Foote Street (right off of Dixwell Avenue)

All are invited and encouraged to attend.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Special WEB Meeting tonight

Dear All:

There will be a special WEB Meeting tonight June 26th, 7pm at the Whalley Avenue Substation (corner of Norton) with regard to the Edgewood patrols.

See you there!

Friday, June 22, 2007

FoBBP meeting this weekend

Hi All:

This was sent to me by Nan...

Hello FOBPP,

This is the week when we will hold a Saturday session. We will build two stone benches and a stone table. We will put some large stones or small boulders in the pond to use for stepping stones. We'll also do some light planting and cleanup. Please join us--Saturday, June 23rd at 9:30 AM. Our URI building advisor, Chris Ozyck, will be on hand to answer your questions.

Date: Saturday, June 23

Time: 9:30-11:30 PM

Location: By the benches at the corner of Fournier and Crescent

Come for the whole time. Come for a short time. Come to say hello and cheer us on.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening. My cell phone number is 203-494-2529. Paula's work phone is 410-2864.

Nan Bartow 480 Ellsworth Ave. New Haven, CT 06511

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Firing Range Schedule for the next few weeks

Just got this in my email... Update 6/20/07 3:10 I just heard some shooting now so it looks like they are shooting today as well. MS

The following is a range schedule for this week and next. This, of course, is subject to change.

June 18 - 22, 8:00am-3:45 pm
June 25 - June 29, 8:00am-3:45pm

If you should have any questions please feel free to contact the academy at 203.946.6309.


Academy Staff

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reminder: WEB Team Meeting Tonight

Hi All:

Just a friendly reminder that we will be holding the monthly WEB Management Team meeting tonight at 7pm at the Sub Station on the corner of Whalley & Norton.

I understand that we will be having some guests from the NHPD & the CAO's office, should be fun...

See you there!

Weekly FoBPP meeting

Here is the latest from Nan:

Hello FOBPP,

Welcome to the Solstice Greenspace meeting.

We will have our third gardening session with Paula Randler, our Greenspace intern.

Date: Wednesday, June 20

Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: By the benches at the corner of Fournier and Crescent

Come for the whole time. Come for a short time. Come to say hello and cheer us on.

We will do some planting and talk about our project for this coming Saturday.

We will also continue to clean up the Crescent St. hillside and the pondside and plant some more colorful native shrubs and perennials. We will take a look at our new wildflower garden and perhaps plant some wildflower perennials there. If the wildflower seeds have arrived, we will prepare the ground and plant them. If won't be hard to prepare this ground because the grass grows weakly in that area.

Please bring your energy, your children, your parents, grandparents and neighbors. This park is our park. We have rescued it from neglect. Let's continue to restore it and to beautify it. It is our community meeting place. We need your input.

Since we want to focus on community organization this year as well as on the plantings, we want to plan a community picnic. We need your ideas.

From now on, our regular meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

These people came to help last week:
Paula Randler-URI intern, Anna Ramirez and Richard Allard with Joshua, Nadine Herring, Patrick Allen, Jim Hopkins, Judy Hopkins, Leejay Rudenjak, Bill Bidwell, Nan Bartow

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening. My cell phone number is 203-494-2529. Paula's is 203-432-6189.

This is the week when we will hold a Saturday session. We will build two stone benches and a stone table. We'll also do some light planting and cleanup. Please join us--Saturday, June 23rd at 9:30 AM. Our URI building advisor, Chris Ozyck, will be on hand to answer your questions.

Nan Bartow 480 Ellsworth Ave. New Haven, CT 06511

Monday, June 18, 2007

What happened at the range...

Dear All:

Attached please find the reply from the CAO Robert Smuts. I believe that it is self explanatory, and he will be at tomorrow's WEB meeting if you have any further questions. In addition to this all I asked that I be part of the "notify" list so that there is more then one person getting this information.

As Robert points out in his letter we need to get the range enclosed (and/or moved) so we don't have this problem in the future as well as have better trained police officers.

Yours truly,



TO: Alderman Sandman

FROM: Robert Smuts, Chief Administrative Officer

DATE: June 18, 2007

RE: firing range

I have now spoken with many members of the police department, and believe I have a good sense of what did and did not happen in regards to notification of the night-time firing.

In March, Kay Codish, the director of training, emailed Eric Hansen the schedule for daytime usage at the firing range, and noted that we would likely have evening shooting during the June 4-15 range. As the date was confirmed, the department notified the press (the New Haven Independent ran a notice, but the Register did not). Ms. Codish was out sick, and the responsibility for notifying the firing range committee was passed onto the district manager. Unfortunately, that was immediately before the assault on the young Rabbi Greer and the subsequent armed neighborhood patrols, and the district manager forgot to notify the residents about the evening usage of the shooting range.

I have asked the Division of Training and Education to build in more redundancy in notifications so that a similar failing does not happen again. I do apologize to the residents for this incident, and will be attending the WEB management team meeting to do so in person.

On a related note, I have worked with the Mayor’s Office to move the request for federal funding to construct an indoor (sound-proofed) firing range to near the top of our federal agenda. We are making this a top priority both for the training needs it would meet for our police officers, as well as the dramatic quality of life improvement for the neighborhood. As discussed, we will continue to work with the neighborhood on whether there is a more appropriate site for this indoor range than the current location – though whether or not it is moved, the sound pollution will be eliminated.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Night Shooting at the Range

Dear All:

I, as a number of you, heard the gunshots late last night and called the police. I was told that the shots were from the range. I called the CAO of the City on New Haven, Robert Smuts and asked why we were not informed as per the understanding worked out with the Firing Range Committee? This was around 11pm and he was not sure but I will be following up with this today and should have more information later on.

Yours truly,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Municipal IDs

Hi All:

I just got an email from a constituent about the municipal id program. I want to share my thought and ideas on the program. Please leave a comment or send me an email to with you questions and/or comments.

With regard to the ID cards I see two issues that you bring up, firstly is the cost of the program and the second is the why are we doing this. I hope that I can shed some light on the issue.
The entire Municipal ID Card program is being funded by a grant from the First Community Bank (this was spun off from New Haven Savings when it went public). The Finance Committee voted to approve the acceptance of the grant with the caveat to end the program if it was unable to be funded 100% from sources other then the general fund. I would like to point out that the BOA was not asked if we should implement the plan or not – only if we should accept the funds.

That being said the reality was that the Finance Committee deliberations became the public hearing for the card program. The committee met from 6pm until 10pm. While the overwhelming majority of those testifying were for the program we also had a few (4 or 5) against it out of 70 or 80 people testifying. Those against the ID program were against it mostly with regard to the financing of the program not about the program in itself.

We took testimony from Yale Law School Professor Michael Wishnie, who did much of the leg work on this project. I asked the question as to what would happen if the US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez decided to make an example of us and under the Patriot Act to sweep in to New Haven take the list and arrest everyone on it. I was told that this was highly unlikely. The committee also asked and received prior to the full BOA vote for a letter that in the event that the City was sued due to the cards that the Yale Law Clinic under Bob Solomon & Michael Wishnie would represent the city Pro Bono.

Check out the New Haven Independent story about this my quote is about half way down the page.

Also it is important to note that this program is NOT giving anyone citizenship. The program will make it easier for the City to function because undocumented people will be held more responsible for their actions and our police will have an idea of who some one is rather then just a shot in the dark if they don't have as is the case today. The City is not trying to change immigration laws or stick it to anyone we just are trying to enhance the quality of life for all in the City.

I remain yours in service,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Edgewood & Elm issue

Hi All:

As many of you are aware - the folks over in Edgewood & Elm are going to be implementing civilian patrols armed with guns. See the links below for the full stories.

Let me know what you think. Post a comment or email me at


FoBBP 2nd Meeting

Hi All:

See the note from Nan about the next meeting...


Hello FOBPP,

Welcome to the late spring Greenspace season.

We will have our second gardening session with Paula Randler, our Greenspace intern.

Date: Wednesday, June 13

Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: By the benches at the corner of Fournier and Crescent

Come for the whole time. Come for a short time. Come to say hello and cheer us on.

We will peruse our goals and our visions for the year of 2007 at Beaver Pond Park and select several to focus on for this year.

We will also clean up the hillside which is now in bloom with pink and white Mountain Laurel and plant some more Mountain Laurel and a few other colorful native shrubs .

Please bring your energy, your children, your parents, grandparents and neighbors. This park is our park. We have rescued it from neglect. Let's continue to restore it and to beautify it. It is our community meeting place. We need your input.

Since we want to focus on community organization this year as well as on the plantings, we want to plan a community picnic. We need your ideas.

From now on, our regular meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening. My cell phone number is 203-494-2529.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mazal Tov! - It's a Boy!

Dear All:

This Sunday the 24th day of Sivan, June 10th my wife, Miriam, and I had a baby boy. He weights 8lb 9oz. Mother and child are thank G-d fine.



Friday, June 8, 2007

What I have been up to recently

Hi All:

I got a few questions as to why I have not been updating the blog etc. for the past few weeks. It isn't that I forgot about you it is that my life has been taken over by the City Budget (I sit on the finance committee).

You should be seeing more posts on a variety of subjects soon.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Beaver Pond Park Greenspace Meeting Notes

Hi All:

These are the notes from meeting:

5 June 2007 (first of the summer!)

Brainstorm ~

Create zigzagging walkway up the hill
Convert road to a small path to alleviate parking problems
Clear invasive on the hill (Norway maple saplings, etc)
Wildflower garden (Paula is ordering a wildflower seed mix for July)
Birdhouses – must be built to specifically for attracting a species (in other words, a tree swallow house is not fit for a wood duck, and a house designed for both supports neither of them) species include: tree swallows, wood ducks, blue birds, osprey (platform, not house in N. Pond)
Plant cattails
Human events – non-working events to get the public out
Wall to keep sediment in shore around the benches for fishing, fetching water, etc; if not wall, stones placed out into the water to walk out and get water when the level is very low.
Trail through the marsh on the other side of the pond
Pipeline from Bowen field for water – Ed has a contact at the water company?
N. Pond – playground (where would the money come from? Who okays it?), mow the flat part for grass (keep cutting down Phragmites as Peter has been doing)
There is lots of floating litter in the N. Pond, the west side is silting in, Phragmites taking over, would roto-tilling the Phrag get rid of it?
Woodchucks (or something) are eating the Lobelia! Make cages to cover the plants?
Canoe launch in N. Pond
Highlight kids’ involvement at the end of the summer; connect to family day with Roxanne?
Dale has a chainsaw!

Things to do on Wednesday June 13th at 6 pm:

~ Continue weeding and mulching around all the shore plants and the plants on the hill
~ Plant what Paula brings out
~ Choose 2 or 3 of the above items the group wishes to and is able to complete this summer

FoBBP Meetings

Dear All:

Nan & FoBPP are setting up their summer meeting schedule. I was not able to make the first meeting (sorry) but I had a prior commitment. I will post the note seperatly.


Hello FOBPP,

Welcome to the new spring-summer Greenspace season.
We will have our first group meeting with Paula Randler, our Greenspace intern.

Date: Tuesday, June 5
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: By the benches at the corner of Fournier and Crescent

We will discuss our goals and our visions for the year of 2007 at Beaver Pond Park.
We will also do some light cleanup and light planting.

Please bring your ideas, your children, your parents, grandparents and neighbors. This park is our park. We have rescued it from neglect. Let's continue to restore it and to beautify it. It is our community meeting place. We need your input.

After our initial meeting this coming Tuesday, our regular meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.


Rally Tonight at St. Rose of Lima Church about the raids

Dear All:

Our neighbor Barney Bate informed me that in response to the ICE raids that took place yesterday there will be a protest meeting this evening at St. Rose of Lima Church, 115 Blatchley Ave, in Fair Haven, 7:30PM.

I will post more about the Municipal IDs soon.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Construction Training Notice

Hi All:

Below is a notice that I got from the C.E.O. of New Haven. This is a great program. They will train you and get you a job. What the applicant needs to do is show up and work hard. Pass it along to anyone to whom this would be useful to.

Applications Will Be Accepted:
Construction Work Only
All Crafts & Trades
Dates: July 23rd 2007 – July 27th 2007 (Daily)
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (Only)
Location: Commission on Equal Opportunities
City Hall (Hall of Records)
200 Orange Street, Ground Floor Hearing Room
New Haven, CT 06510
Priority Given to New Haven Residents

What Do You Need To Provide?

High School Diploma & Transcripts or GED & Official Test Results
Verification of Residency
Valid Driver's License & Reliable Transportation
Social Security Card and Birth Certificate
~ Must Be 18 Years of Age to Apply ~
Must Pass Drug Test to be Eligible for Consideration
* ALL Documents Required For Employment Consideration *

Thursday, May 10, 2007

How the meeting went

Dear All:

I believe that we had a good meeting on Tuesday about 131 Colony & what is a Historic Commission. It was covered by both the Register & the Independent. I think that they covered most of the issues but I would like to add what I posted on the comment section of the Independent.

I would like to thank Andy Rizzo and Elaine Brafman of LCI, Robert Grzywacz from the Historic District Commission & David Barone of City Plan for coming out and laying out the facts and helping to clarify what we can do to protect our neighborhood and at what price.

I really hope that we don't stop here and ask that all that are able to come to the WEB Management Team meeting held at the Whalley sub station on the corner of Norton 5/15/07 at 7pm.


This is what I posted at the New Haven Independent

In response to Dana B & Jonathon Hart’s concern of the “prohibitively expensive” cost of living in a Historic District, that exact issue was brought up. A neighbor asked a hypothetical question: The family has a slate roof on their beautiful Tudor home. If & when the roof needs to be replaced would the commission force him to put a new slate roof on? A full slate roof can cost over $100,000. The answer was that the Historic Commission would probably have the homeowner do the part of the roof that is visible from the “public right of way” in Slate or Faux Slate (which is cheaper but not as cheap as asphalt) and perhaps allow the balance be done in asphalt.

This then lead into a discussion of the fact that yes we will be giving up some of our property rights and to an organization that we only we one seat on as well as the fact that this will force us to put more money into our homes then we may have done without the designation.

I believe that the folks of Beaver Hill that attended understand the consequences of their actions. This process is not one that we can rush into blindly this must be and will be a deliberative thoughtful process.

To Cedarhill & All other interested parties – Please come to our next WEB Management Team Meeting this Tuesday May 15th, 7pm at the Whalley Avenue (corner of Norton) Police Sub-Station. The Historic District will be discussed and your input would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Notice of Meeting Re 131 Colony & Historical District

Dear All:

Over the past few weeks there has been much talk and wonderment about the building going on at the corner of Dyer Street & Colony Road. To help explain the issues and start the process of what it means to create a Historic District I have arranged to have different department heads to come down and give us a clear picture what can and can not be done.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to a Beaver Hill community meeting at Hillhouse Highschool. We will cover the building going on at 131 Colony and what it would take to set up a Historic District.

Date: Tuesday May 8th, 2007
Time: 7pm
Place:Hillhouse Highschool – Sherman Avenue
2nd Floor Library

Yours truly,

Moti Sandman

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Some (more) thoughts on the budget

Over the past few months and really solidifying in the last few weeks there has been a grass roots effort on the part of a number of citizens to voice their opinions and concerns to the finance committee about the new budget and tax levy.

From what I can see that this intense feeling is coming from the reevaluation and the shift of the real estate tax from the commercial property owners to residential owners. In 2006-2007-tax year the burden was 34% on commercial and 37% on residential owners. With the new valuations the burden is now 25% on commercial and 47% on residential. What this simply means is that in 2006-2007 the you the homeowner paid $0.37 on each dollar collected now we are going to be paying $0.47 on each dollar raised. See my early post about reevaluation for more on this topic.

With such a radical shift in the tax burden the BOA decided to have a 5-year phase in of the new valuations. This is meant to protect the average homeowner from having the burden shifted immediately to them. Please note that there is a State law that requires the City to have a reevaluation every 5 years. We are obligated by law to do this.

Back to the budget. In this new budget we had a number of items that drove the increase from an average of 3.5% to 7.1%. There are a number of drivers. I will cover some of them:

No small part due to increased energy costs. The same big hit we are taking on our home heating oil or gas and electric bill the City has that many times over. The good news is that over the past 10+ years there has been an concerted effort to invest in energy saving technology and upgraded light fixtures, traffic lights and the heating systems throughout City owned properties.

We hired 40 new Police officers and 26 civilians to fill empty and needed slots in all areas of the department. 8% of the total general fund budget.

In the Fire Department we have budgeted for a new class to come in and join the force. 6% of the total general fund budget.

Board of Education increased their budget by $5million to meet Union contracts and general improvements to the schools (this doesn’t include school construction). 38% of the total general fund budget.

Employee benefits –
Medical – $46million
Pension – 28.7million
Works Comp – $7.7million
Self Insurance – $4.5million
Other (Longevity bonus, Sick Leave Reserve, Life Insurance) – $2.2million
20% of the total general fund budget.

It is getting late now and will pick up latter on why the above was asked for and what was done.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Mazal Tov!

I want to extend a hearty Mazal Tov to my brother and sister in law Betazlel & Naomi and the extended Sandman & Kanner families, on the birth of their son this morning.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Condolences to Alderwomen Michele Edmonds-Sepulveda

I would like to express my condolences to Alderwomen Michele Edmonds-Sepulveda (D-30) on the passing of her sister earlier this week.



RIP Youth Curfew

Hi Everyone,

Last night the New Haven Board of Aldermen decided not to amend the Youth Curfew and repeal the one we have currently on the books (from circa 1920).

The decision was made because after hearing testimony from:
  • The Chief of Police that it would be hard to enforce
  • Cooperation Council that it would be possibly illegal (the US District Court did rule a similar ordinance in Vernon CT unconstitutional)
  • From the children themselves that we would be punishing everyone for the crimes of the few. As well as that this would further hurt the relationship the police have with the kids.

In addition the hearings created a catalyst for dialog of many people fro all sides of the issues. Culminating in some big hitters in the New Haven community putting up some real money (see the new haven independent story here for more details). This got the executive branch to work harder to set something up for this summer for the kids - 9 schools are going to be open - we are going to have Street Outreach Workers work with the 10% of kids who are the problem. These are the kids in gangs, staying out late, etc.

I agree with the other Alders, who brought out last night:
We can not loose the momentum we have created and need to stay on top of the executive branch to make sure they are doing what needs to be done.

Let's see what happens.



Update on Historic District

Hi Everyone:

It appears that most people want to have some kind of control over what kind of homes go into our neighborhood. The best way to accomplish this is by setting us up as a Historic District.

I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about moving on this. I have contacted City Plan and am looking in to what it will take to get the ball rolling. I hope to have some news early next week.



Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hi Folks:

We are in the swing of budget time and I just want to update you on where things are and would love to hear what you think.

Carl Goldfield (Ward 29) & I set up a Budget 101 workshop at Hillhouse for April 18th (you should have gotten an email and a notice was put in the New Haven Register and in New Haven Independent & thank you Peaches for the great idea). I figure that we had around 35 to 40 people that came out. Robert Smuts, the new CAO, gave the presentation. He went over the big line item increases as well as the reasons why the budget increase overall. (Thanks Rob!)

The people who came out were for the most part questioned how revaluation and the phase in would effect their taxes. There was a feeling that the city is not doing all it can to bring down costs, especially with regard to School Construction. Irv Stolberger said that it is very dangerous for a city or state government to have a debt service over 10% - ours is over 12.5%.

Thursday night there were some pretty heavy budget hearings you can read more about it at Please let me know what you think about the budget. Without input from you - the people who voted me in - I can't represent you! Post a comment here or email me at ward28 at (take out the spaces and the word "at" and replace it with a "@" symbol - have been getting SPAM in the past few day.

Yours truly

Thursday, April 19, 2007

BOA Finance Meeting Tonight!

Hi Everyone:

Just a reminder that there is a Board of Aldermen Finance Committee tonight at 6pm in the Aldermanic Chamber in City Hall, 165 Church Street.

This will be your last chance to publicly comment for the record about the budget. If you have something to say about the budget etc COME TONIGHT!!

See you there!


Historical Neighborhood

Dear All:

With regard to the building going up on 131 Colony Road, I have been asked why didn't City Plan review the plans and reject it? Or at least give us a forum to express our feelings & concerns.
The answer is that the City has a no site review for projects as long as there are no zoning variances. The only way that City Plan can look this over if the builder is requesting a variance or the area is a Historic District Neighborhood.

This brings me to my question to you - Do we want to turn our Beaver Hills Neighborhood into a Historical District Neighborhood?

On the positive side it will make sure that the character of the area is preserved and give us a say in what happens here.

On the other hand it will restrict the individual homeowner from making exterior changes to their home with out permission from the Historic District board.

There are many more details that I need to find out and will share them here with you over the next few weeks but in the meantime let me know what you think about this all. You can leave a comment or email me at


Update on 123 / 131 Colony Road

Hi Everyone:

Just to give an update on the building going on at the lot at 131 Colony Road (corner of Dyer & Colony).

The owner of the lot has met all of the zoning and building requirements. He has a legal right to build on his property and he is. The city has no mechanism to stop this or review the plans as long as he follows the law.

A building inspector came down yesterday to check out the project and to make sure that they are within the parameters of the law - they are. The building department is on top of this and will be coming out for visits though out the project.

I would like to personally thank Andy Rizzo & Elaine Brafman of LCI for all the their work and quick turnaround on this project.

All the best,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

WEB Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that there will be a WEB Meeting tonight at the Whalley Ave Substation at 7pm, see you there!

Monday, April 16, 2007

123 & 131 Colony Road

Hi Everyone:

I got a number of calls with regard to the apparent building that is being done on the corner lot of Dyer Street & Colony Road - what is now designated as 131 Colony.

As I understand the situation the land is owned by Daniel Stein. He asked City Plan for a Zoning variance to build over the allowable footprint back in June of 2006 - it was rejected.

The rejection only meant that he is not allowed to over build but he IS allowed to build within the zoning laws. I have been in touch with LCI - who runs the building department and will make sure that they obey the law.

I will keep you posted as this develops.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Passover

Just want to wish everyone a (belated) Happy Passover - I am out for the last days of Passover and will be back on Wed.

Friday, April 6, 2007

New School Construction

We (the City) is also planning on spending $100 million for two new schools. We will be reimbursed for part of the funds but not at the levels in the past, in addition building materials are going up every month in cost, so it is not good to wait. I asked about this and was told that this is for a school in East Rock which has been waiting for their school very nicely and a science magnet high school. I am not totally convinced. What do you think?

The Budget Part II

The Budget Process Part II:

We had a couple of intense budget workshops (workshops are hearings open to the public but the BOA hears testimony from invited guests only) over the past few weeks. We now have heard from all of the departments in the City on each of their particular portion of the budget.

We also heard about the Elderly Tax Freeze which is going to be revisited this Monday April 9th at 5:30pm in the main chamber.

I have heard from many of you and for the most part I am being told to hold the taxes down however we can. I believe that I am asking the question’s that need asking (see quotes in the New Haven Register & the New Haven Independent, you can do a search for my last name in the past 30 days and read the articles there, and I will try to post a link here as well).

A few months ago I voted for and strongly supported a spending bill that would put additional cops on our streets as well as additional clerical staff at 1 Union Station. I questioned the Chief if we still needed the clerical staff or could we out source some of the work. He said that even with the new hires we are still down from our historical highs in the late 1990's. I do not accept an answer of “This is what we had and this is what we should have again” but here I feel that it is urgently needed.

I asked questions about our Fire Department’s budget – including if we expect to reduce overtime and if we can – in some way – reduce our staffing commitments to the Fire Union. I didn’t get the answers that I liked, but unfortunately there is not much we can do.

When we met with Public Works – I asked about capital improvements for Beaver Pond Park. I was told that with this new study we have “bite size pieces” that the City’s budget can handle in the next few years. I will keep on top of them to see that this happens.

This then leads me into our budget process and what - if anything we can do to reduce spending.

Most of our budget is personal and personal cost driven. 91% of the NHPD budget is personal and direct personal costs (health care, pension, etc.) Similar numbers are seen throughout the budget. In addition we serve as a pass through for millions of dollars of Federal & State funds. This doesn’t cost us but it is a line item in our budget and increases the bottom line.

We signed some very generous contracts with our unions’ in the past year and these will be in effect for the next few years so there is no real hope in reducing the expenses associated with them for this or next fiscal year.

Remember on the 18th is our budget 101 class and the 19th is time when you can be heard as taxpayers 6pm City Hall, see you there!

Friday, March 23, 2007

New Date for Budget 101

OK folks,

It is looking that the best time to do the Budget 101 class is Wednesday April 18th. It is after Passover, Monday the 16th is a full BOA meeting, Tuesday the 17th is the WEB management team meeting and Thursday the 19th is the Finance Committee hearing that is open for public testimony. So after we have our little class I hope that everyone will show up and let us know what you think about the budget. Please note that we are doing this as a joint project with Carl Goldfield of the 29th Ward.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Credit Given Where Credit is Due

Hi Everyone:

I realized that I need to credit & thank Ina Silverman for all the work and help drafting and editing “Why the Mill Rate didn’t go Down” post.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poll For Budget Meeting

Hi there is a poll on the right of this post asking when we should have our budget meeting. If you have a particular date not listed please post a comment here. I need to move on this pretty soon.


WEB Management Team Meeting

Wow it was some meeting last night. We heard from a variety of speakers.

Connecticut Against Gun Violence - They are a group that advocates targeted gun control laws. They have two issues that they are working on now. One is to pass a law in Hartford stating that a person must report their gun stolen or missing within 72 hours that it should be know missing. This is because we have kids who have no legal right to own a gun committing crimes with guns. This brings up the question where are the underage kids getting the guns from? Many times a gun is traced back to a person who when confronted by the police says “My gun was stolen”. This brings up the question if it was stolen a while ago why is it only being reported now? This law is going to close that loophole because we know that many people are buying a gun legally and then sell it on the street and then when confronted they claim that it was lost or stolen. This bill failed last year in the House by 7 votes. The language was changed so that if someone who is away will not be held liable for not reporting the gun stolen from the time of the theft but 72 hours from when the person is aware of it.

The CAGV rep then spoke about a program that is trying to “Raise a Red Flag” asking the question Where are the Guns Coming from? If we are able to trace illegal drugs back to Turkey or Columbia why can’t we trace a gun back to who was the last legal owner? They are working with Hartford and will be working with the New Haven PD as well to raise awareness of this issue.

We then heard from an East Rock State Rep Bob Menga about Planned Development Districts (PDD) and the trials and tribulations that they went through to get their voices heard in the process. Do a search on to learn more about those and what they went through.
We in the WEB area are going to have Whalley Avenue set up with an overlay zone so we better keep an eye on what is going on and make sure that we are part of the process. From what I understand of PDDs that they give the City greater controller over the Zoning in the district but that in some cases it can loosen the regulation. What do you think of PDDs?

We then heard from a group about the trash haulers ordinance and asked for us to come out and support them tonight at the Legislative Committee hearing at 6pm in the Aldermanic Chamber, City Hall, 165 Church Street. I see the need for the regulation but we should have some leeway in allowing the haulers downtown in the early AM so we don’t clog downtown during the day. If we need real enforcement lets talk to the PD and Corporation Counsel and see what we can legally enforce and how to enforce it.

Our District Manager Sergeant Shea then gave his monthly breakdown of the robberies, burglaries, break-ins, shooting, reports of gun fire. They seem to be going down – but some of it could be weather related (crime drops in the colder weather), but some of it was part of the targeted enforcement that we are putting into place in the Whalley – Winthrop – Sherman area.

Then came the star of the night – Chief of Police Cisco Ortiz. Carl & I asked the Chief to come down to the meeting and speak to us about the recent FBI sting of a few New Haven Police Officers. He spoke about what happened and what is going to happen (for more details check out The Team asked some hard questions. Why the Comanders of the Narcotic Division weren’t not rotated as the officers were? What will happen to Drug Enforcement in New Haven now? I believe that the Chief answered the questions candidly and honestly – and when he was unable to answer he said that.
I am of the opinion that the overwhelming majority of the force are good hard working people who truly try to Serve & Protect us. I understand that there will most probably be more arrests and indictments, but I hope that we learn from the mistakes made here and that we can continue down our path of community policing and truly make New Haven a safer and more livable City in partnership with Sergeant Shea and the rest of the NHPD.

After that we got a report from Nan that FoBPP have a new partner in the Environmental Futurist of SCSU.

There were some new announcements –
The follow up meeting to the WEB Vision session will be held this Thursday at Hillhouse 7pm (I have a Finance Committee meeting so I wont be attending – but let me know what happens)
I am setting up a Budget 101 Workshop to explain the budget process and how the budget affects the taxes you pay. The tentative date & time is Monday March 26th 7pm at Hillhouse High cafeteria.

Condolences to Nan

I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Mrs. Nan Bartow on the passing of her father. She wrote to me that her father was a lover of Nature and I see he passed it on to her from all the work she does for Beaver Pond Park, the Environmental Council and all the other projects she so generously gives of her time to. I hope that we can learn from her & her father just a little bit.

Some Buzz about the site!

For those of you that are not aware this site was featured on Now with all that pressure of people checking out the site I have to get some serious posts up.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WEB Team Reminder

WEB Management Meeting tonight! 3-20-07

Please attend we will be having Chief of Police Cisco Ortiz joining us and update us on the recent arrests at 1 Union Station. In addition we will be hearing from an East Rock citizen group to talk about Planned Development Zones (PDD) in the city. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

City Plan Meetin Re I-95 & Other issues

Hi Everyone:

Below please find the link to the agenda for the upcoming City Plan Meeting for this Wednesday. I will not be making this one. But if any one goes please share your thoughts and insights with the group.


Meeting Room 1 & 2, 2nd Floor Atrium
WORKSHOP from 4:00 to 6:00 PM:
Tabled item:
1401-01 I-95 LONG WHARF IMPROVEMENT PLAN (Project #92-572), Evaluation of Alternatives proposed by Connecticut Department of Transportation through an Environmental Assessment Process.

Mill Rate!!

Why didn’t the Mayor’s proposed mill rate not drop as expected

The revaluation will be phased in over five years (to reduce the burden on residential taxpayers), so the full mil rate decrease that would normally result must also be divided by five. That is why there isn't a dramatic decrease in the mil rate with the phase-in, even if there were no budget increase.

The mayor's proposed budget is about 7% higher than last year.

Some of that increase replaces state and federal funds that Hartford and Washington cut, and some of it pays for debt service (we are in the peak years of paying off loans for the school renovation program), labor contractual increases, and the hiring of more police officers. The Board of Aldermen Finance Committee hears testimony about the mayor's proposed budget and then sets the final mil rate. The first Finance Committee budget hearing was on March 15, the next one will be March 22nd at 6:00p.m. at City Hall.

You can check out what you would pay under this proposed budget at look for the “Tax Calculator” and have your old and new assessment handy for you will have to enter them in to calculate the phase in.

Special Credit & Thanks to Ina Silverman - Ward 25 for her contributions to this post