Saturday, September 27, 2008

Block Party Postponed

The email is sent to the Beaver Hill Mailing List

Due to the 60% forecast for rain Sunday, and the current wet conditions, your block party organizers consulted with the oracle at the Weather channel and have agreed top declare the party officially moved to Sunday Oct 5, 2008, 2 -5 PM.

Please advise any of your neighbors who may not have email access.

Please plan accordingly and we hope to see you on the new date.

Don’t forget to bring a favorite dish to share and money for our legendary raffle!

Monday, September 22, 2008

This weeks meetings

Hi All:

These are some of the meetings that I will be attending this week:

Monday 9-22-08 - Legislation Committee - 6:30pm - Aldermanic Chamber - 165 Church St.

Wednesday - 9-24-08 - Tax Abatement - 7pm - Aldermanic Chamber - 165 Church St.

Thursday - 925-08 - Firing Range Committee - Whalley Ave Sub Station - Corner of Whalley & Norton

All of these are open meeting so I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Letter the BOA sent to the DPUC

August 18, 2008

Donald W. Downes, Chairman
Department of Public Utility Control
Ten Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051

Re: 08-07-10 (CBD) SCG Overearnings Rescheduled Hearing (HR 1)

Dear Chairman Downes:

We are writing to you today regarding the proposed rate increase for Southern Connecticut Gas Co (SCG).

We ask that you do not approve such a measure at this time. As members of the legislative body of the City of New Haven, we have the opportunity to hear from people from all walks of life and economic situations.

The overwhelming message we are receiving is that people do not know how they are going to pay their heating bills this coming year. Further, for SCG to get a rate increase at this point in time, when there are numerous numbers of families in Greater New Haven facing losing their homes through foreclosure or personal bankruptcy, would push people out of their homes much sooner and create serious problems for communities. We also are aware of many people who could face making the unthinkable choice of heating their homes or putting food on their table.

In addition, we represent numerous business owners and managers in New Haven. They report to us of the prohibitive costs of doing business in the region. Utilities are a constant item at the top of their list of these prohibitive costs. In order for the city, region and state to maintain and hopefully grow in the coming years we need to be competitive in all aspects of the cost spectrum.

Please consider all of the above when making your decision and trust that you will reject any increase at this time.

Yours truly,

Fire Department reoganization hearing

There will be a hearing on the re-organization of the New Haven Fire Department on October 7th at 6:30pm in the aldermanic chambers at 165 Church Street, 2nd Floor.

NHI Coverage

NHRegister Coverage

September 1, 2008

Carl Goldfield, President
New Haven Board of Aldermen
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510

Dear Mr. President:

We would like to call upon the CAO’s office, for a plan from of action report on the possibility of reorganizing the New Haven Fire Department in order to achieve cost saving.

Yours truly,

Carl Goldfield Mordechai “Moti” Sandman
Alderman – Ward 29 Alderman – Ward 28

WHERAS the City of New Haven in it’s FY 2008-2009 budget allocated over $31million dollars for the Fire Department line item

WHERAS the City of New Haven has publicly announced the strong possibility of layoffs in the very near future

WHERAS According to the 2005 data (the latest figures available) calls for service to the City of New Haven Fire Department were 85% for medical service and 15% for fire suppression.

WHEREAS due to this inequality we as that the CAO look at the cost saving – if any – in removing or reducing the minimum staffing requirement. While it would not be a decision made lightly to reduce the staffing in the Fire Department, it is critical to provide the information necessary well in advance of the next contract negotiation to ensure that the best decision is made for public safety and public finances.

WHEREAS MMA Consulting Group, Inc. of Boston Mass issued an Operational Review of the New Haven Fire Department in August 2002

WHEREAS in the above mentioned report there were a number of options for the New Haven Fire Department to follow

WHEREAS both the recommended options included the expansion of our medical services currently provided by the Fire Department

WHEREAS the City of New Haven has a limited amount of Fire Department employees trained in Advanced Life Saving (ALS)

WHEREAS the City of New Haven currently does not bill medical insurers for medical services provided

Therefore be it resolved that the CAO or his designee report to the appropriate committee of Board of Aldermen of the City of New Haven regarding the refocusing of the Fire Department. Options should include the status quo, refashioning the department into a “First Responder” Department, reducing the size of the department, and such other options as might make sense.

Further be it Resolved that the Chief Administrative Officer or his designee report to the committee who the City can create a system for billing for services rendered, both currently and in any proposed new services.

Further be it resolved that with any restructuring appropriate consolidations be made and looking at the possibility of removing or reducing the minimum staffing requirement

Further be it Resolved that the CAO or his designee should present the requested report within 90 days of the passage of this resolution.

SCG Coverage

Coverage of the SCG fight


Fighting SCG on overeanings and on Increases

My comments to the DPUC hearing 8/29/08

Dear Honorable Board of Commissioners:

I come before you this morning to express my feelings of disgust with SCG overcharging us ratepayers & strongly protest any increase in rates. I represent a number of interests. I am a homeowner in New Haven that heats our home with natural gas. I am representing my family business of which I am part of the 3rd generation. Lastly I come before you as a member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen where I represent the 28th Ward.

As a homeowner I know how hard it is to pay my SCG especially in the winter. In an effort to be more energy efficient a few years ago I had installed new windows in my home – with argon and low e. We keep the thermostat down as low as my kids can take it. We wear sweaters and slippers in the home so we don’t have to turn up the heat.

As a manufacturer still based wholly in West Haven we are a substantial user of natural gas. We have consultants that track the natural gas & fuel oil markets and advises us when it is more advantageous to use one or the other. Additionally we purchase our natural gas in bulk from someone other the SCG. We are competing in an international business climate and on top of the fuel increases and on top of raw material increase we have to contend with some of the highest utility rates in the nation. This makes us less competitive going up against companies in other states never mind compared to overseas. One of our Stratford Connecticut bases suppliers closed their doors this past January – one of the primary reasons was the high utility rates cut their margins and they were unable to raise prices enough to survive.

As an Alderman in New Haven I meet people of all walks of life – rich, poor, middle class; black, white, Hispanic. Across the city folks from all walks of life - regardless of race or economic class – people are worried about paying their heating bills.

This all being said to then hear that SCG are overcharging us that is horrifying. People fear that they will not be able to pay their heating bills and SCG knowingly overcharges us.

I appreciate that the DPUC is holding this hearing, and hope that we can look at the underlying problem answering how & why this overcharging happened. I believe that the monthly bill we get from SGC in unnecessarily complex and most consumers have no idea as to what they are looking at.

I understand the need to maintain a strong public utility – but the utility should not be allowed to take advantage of the market.

We need to simplify the monthly billing statement. Take out the alphabet soup abbreviations. A simpler statement will enable the average consumer to review their bill and really comprehend what & why they are being charged and SCG will be less likely in the future to be able to overcharge.

In closing I ask that you the DPUC order SCG to refund us what they overcharged us with interest (as they charge people who are late in payment). Additionally I ask that this commission look into the possibility of lowering the current profit rate to something that is more bearable.

Police Letter

Hi All:

This is the letter that we sent out to both the PD & City asking them to get together July 7, 2008

New Haven Independet Story

New Haven Reg

NHReg Follow up

It is no secret that the City is in strained financial circumstances, that labor costs are the largest component of the City’s budget and that taxpayers are at the end of their ability to absorb substantial budget increases. For the sake of the City’s taxpayers and workforce we need to adjust our labor contracts in a manner that will fairly compensate our employees, encourage operational efficiencies and avoid bankrupting the city.

The City is currently negotiating a new contract with the police union. This will be the first in a series of contracts that are up for renewal and we feel that it will create a new template. We will be asked to approve the contract and we request that all of the parties involved in its negotiation give serious consideration to the following items:

I. Retirement – Police Pension
A. A greater contribution from police employees to the Police Pension Fund
B. A change to the minimum years for Police Officers to utilize accumulated sick and vacation time from 15 to 20 years of service prior to retirement
C. A cap on pensions to 100% of an officer’s base salary
D. We note that an alternative to items B & C. is to close the Police & Fire Pension Fund and move the fund to MERF.
II. Health Care
A. Institute higher employee deductibles and/or co-pays

III. Work Rules
A. All Sidebar Notes should be either incorporated into the negotiated contract or eliminated. There should be no more sidebar agreements in the future.
B. Change the work week schedule from “5-2, 5-3” to “5-2, 5-2” or “4-10.”
C. Eliminate hold-downs for extra duty.
IV. Bad Boy Clause
A. A Police Officer who is found guilty of a work related felony will lose his or her City pension.
B. An innocent spouse will have his or her portion of the offending police officer spouse’s pension protected, as per pending legislation in front of the Board of Aldermen.
V. New Officer Compensation
A. We would like to see a higher base salary for new officers. We acknowledge and appreciate the service that our officers provide to the city in putting their life on the line every day. This raise in base salary for the rookie officers will enable us to attract & retain our new officers by giving them the ability to earn a good wage commensurate with the job.

Laundymat on Whalley in Walgreens Plaza

The WEB has started a sub committee called Whalley Avenue Revitalization (WAR) that reports their activities to the WEB on a monthly basis. This group consists of:

The president & executive director of WASSD
A representative from the City Office of Economic Development
The Police District Manager
The president of the WEB
Two resident representatives of the WEB (one of which is the co-chair)
An Alderman

We focus on the issues facing Whalley Ave and how to overcome them. One issue was the cleanliness of the street. WASSD increased their payment by maximum amount allowed by their charter and will do so for the next 2 to 3 years to bring in enough revenue to service the district properly. The city is coming forward with funds and city resources to augment what WASDD is doing. Simple things like fixing the street lights that are out to trimming trees that have not been trimmed in years. The city is also helping out with façade program money that many other parts of the city already get.

All of the stakeholders mentioned above are working on a vision for Whalley to make it a place where everyone will want to shop & dine at and feel safe doing it. This is a massive undertaking and it will take time for some of the grand vision changes but small changes have taken place. The closing of Newt’s Bar on the corner of Whalley and Winthrop and the rebuilding of Chucks Luncheonette are some of the immediate changes.

When the shopkeepers on the strip know that people care they will start to take pride in their work. For the first time in years Minories is taking care of his property and has started working on a new façade and signage for his store. This was in good part to the combined efforts of WAR. We are not stopping with him.

An integral part of this all is making sure that we get quality stores to move on the strip. I agree that we can not have any more “brown bag” liquor stores or connivance stores that sell crack pipes, Philly Blunts and other drug paraphernalia with impunity. We also need to make sure that the stores don’t become hangouts (like L & A Deli, Whalley Pizza, Sam’s Store, just to name a few).

WASSD is working on a “Leakage Study” – a study showing what the residents of the area are buying outside the area because they can’t be serviced here. It is my hope that this study will be taken seriously and we can fill some of the open storefronts with what the community and WASSD wants and needs, and that the property owners look at what they are putting in and not just jump on the first call.

In order to change Whalley we need to put a higher caliber establishment in that takes pride in their store and neighborhood. If it can't happen with this store let us make it happen in the future.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Hi All:

I have not been posting as frequently these past few weeks but I have been up to some interesting tings. I will start posting them over the next few days.



Get a tree planted in front of your home!

The Urban Resources Initiative (URI) is pleased to announce the launching of their GreenSkills Program. This is an internship program that brings together college and high school interns to plant street trees.
Trees for Your Tree-Line
Do you want a tree for the tree-line in front of your home? The GreenSkills interns will plant the tree for you. Your only obligation is stewardship. Keep the tree watered and it will add beauty and shade to your home.
The GreenSkills interns will fulfill the tree requests that residents have made to the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees or to the URI office.
URI staff will contact the resident prior to the planting to make a site assessment, discuss species selection, and explain the necessary follow-up maintenance.
Reserve your tree now!
This is a free service to you. Your only obligation is to water and take care of the tree.
Interested residents can contact the Parks Department or contact URI at 432-6570 or e-mail