3 aldermen want board to back Lee

Ward 1 Alderman Ben Healey ’04 and two of his colleagues in the city legislature are pushing for an official resolution endorsing Yale Corporation hopeful W. David Lee DIV ’93.

Healey and aldermen Edward Mattison LAW ’68 and Nathan Joyner sent a letter March 13 to Board of Aldermen President Jorge Perez calling on the 30-member body to support Lee in his campaign for a spot on Yale’s highest policy-making body.

“We submit the attached resolution — because we believe in strengthening the integral tie between New Haven and Yale,” the three aldermen wrote.

Lee, the pastor of New Haven’s Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, is running against Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Women’s Table at Yale. Alumni will vote on the two candidates over the course of the next two months.

Yale President Richard Levin declined to comment directly on the proposed endorsement.

But, he added, “I have never endorsed candidates in the city of New Haven as long as I have been president.”

Mattison said yesterday that the University often neglects its responsibilities in New Haven in favor of its role as an international research institution.

“Since we’ve had Rick Levin as president, we have seen a substantial movement by the University to be a better citizen of New Haven,” Mattison said. “However, much of that movement is concentrated in the Office of New Haven and State Affairs.

“We need someone on the Yale Corporation who represents New Haven. We can’t just rely on Rick Levin.”

In the resolution, the three said Lee’s presence on the Corporation would help bridge a gap between Yale and New Haven.

“His victory will strengthen the essential bond between the city and the University for the greater good of both,” they wrote.

Lee also has the backing of several prominent alumni and politicians, including Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. On Wednesday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 added his name to the list of supporters in a letter endorsing the controversial candidate.

Several aldermen, including Healey and Mattison, already announced their support for Lee at a Jan. 25 fund-raising event. At the event, the aldermen and several other politicians and alumni posed for a photograph with Lee, which the minister later used in an advertisement he published in the Yale Alumni Magazine.

But at least one of the politicians who appeared in the photograph, Ward 26 Alderwoman Lindy Lee Gold, does not support Lee. Gold told the Yale Daily News in March that she was “duped” into supporting the minister because of his vague and confusing campaign materials.

The aldermen’s resolution will likely be referred to committee at a meeting Monday. If approved there, the board may pass it with a simple majority vote.

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