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!