City ails, for now

“This isn’t politics,” Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said. “This isn’t a game. This is real people, real life.”

But for the room full of residents, officials, local politicians and activists at the mayor’s annual State of the City address in City Hall Monday night, the news was no surprise. After addressing the challenges facing city — such as securing state funding, home foreclosures and the state of the job market — DeStefano’s 30-minute speech took a markedly optimistic tone. The city will pull through tough times, DeStefano asserted, as long as there is a focus on sharing the burden.

Mayor DeStefano delivers the State of the City address last night.
Joseph Breen
Mayor DeStefano delivers the State of the City address last night.

“There is no reason to be intimidated by the federal and state economic crisis,” DeStefano promised, “because the fundamental city economy is strong.”

In the speech, he called on city unions to make significant concessions in order to avoid layoffs, and he promised to provide local high school students with the economic means to attend college.

DeStefano, who announced he has taken a 3-percent pay cut, said he plans to hire 45 more police officers in the coming fiscal year and fund the expansion of the ROOF foreclosure prevention initiative.

Aldermanic President Carl Goldfield said he was surprised at how “positive” the speech was. Goldfield said he was glad to be reminded of the challenges the city has overcome in the last 15 years. He was especially happy to see that the mayor plans to avoid further layoffs, Goldfield added.

“We could all fall down and bemoan our fate, but that doesn’t get us anywhere,” he said. “I know that it’s a cliché, but I guess it’s a cliché for a reason: ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ ”

DeStefano’s speech was sprinkled with rhetorical questions meant to excite the crowd, which included ROOF employees and Edgewood School students.

“Things are going to get worse before they … do what?” DeStefano called out.

“Get better,” the audience murmured.

“That’s right, get better!” DeStefano repeated.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Rachel Plattus ’09 said she found the speech to be more stirring than she had previously expected, especially when it came to the mayor’s promise of college scholarships to local high-achieving public school students. The desire for a city-funded scholarship is something Plattus and other aldermen have mentioned to the mayor, but DeStefano has never discussed the matter officially with the Board of Aldermen, she said.

“This is something that the board has talked about for a long time,” Plattus said. “It was really exciting to hear the mayor talk about this.”

But Ward 2 Alderwoman Gina Calder said she was unconvinced by the plan. Calder said it is vital that the city encourage local youths to achieve their goals and obtain an education, asserting that she would like to know more about where the funds would come from, and how many young people would be affected by the plan.

Calder’s response was more pragmatic when it came to DeStefano’s assertion that there would be no more city layoffs if local unions make reasonable concessions before Feb. 16, the deadline for a labor agreement. (Last September, the city laid off 34 employees from across 12 departments and the Board of Education.)

At least, Calder said, it is probable that the city will go another year without further layoffs. Goldfield agreed; if unions make unselfish decisions, no one will be left out to dry, he said.

“If everybody is willing to take a little less, then we’ll make it through this,” Goldfield said. “We all understand that these are dire circumstances.”

DeStefano will release his recommendations for next fiscal year’s city budget on Feb. 26.


  • Alum

    Perhapsd this is a good time for the tired and corrupt old city to declare bankruptcy and start over. Throwing more taxpayers' money at the current crowd would be a criminal act.

  • Mrs.Silver


  • Divine Shabazz

    Brothers and Sisters, what are we going to do? Poor and oppressed people and communities of color throughout New Haven have been crying out for help, and what do we get from our Mayor? More lip service and staggering statistics. It is clear that our communities are caught between a new police chief with a Los Angeles mentality and knee-jerking, buck-dancing, boot-licking house Negroe politicians who forgot where they came from and why the people voted them in to begin with. The cast of characters include Aunt Jemimah, Uncle Tom, Sambo, and Uncle Ben (a few names have been changed to protect the innocent and identities). In fact, New Haven is plantation politics at its best. Some of us are in the House and some of us are in the Field. Rise up New Haven! Wake up and smell the coffee of politrikks the current administration is serving up.

    Without a doubt, John DeStefano is single handedly responsible for breaking our systems in New Haven. Now it is like beating a dead horse. Clearly, we are on a sinking ship. As President Obama has said, "We are headed off a cliff!" Despite our petty ideological differences in New Haven, one thing is for certain, city hall needs a transfusion fast! The Elm City needs to be resuscitated. A culture of fear and intimidation has been rampant in New Haven, to the point that people are fearful of losing what crumbs they may be receiving from the masters' table (City Hall). In addition, a foot has been on the neck of New Haven's Black community for over a decade. Even the Black churches fall under this yoke. Make no mistake, this form of leadership in New Haven has run its course. An uprising should have taken place in this city a long time ago. People Against Injustice can't bring about change alone. The Greater New Haven NAACP cannot bring about change to New Haven by themselves. Teach Our Children cannot do it alone either. In addition, the scores of unsung heroes, sheroes and grassroots organizations that remain unnamed in New Haven who champion the causes of the people cannot bring change to the system by themselves either. We need your help. They need your help. I say Let's Get Free New Haven! Calling all college students and young, gifted, and creative minds with fresh ideas across the city! The masses of our people want relief from the misery, pain and suffering the Destefano era has ushered in. We want freedom and we want it now!

    To those of you who think this message is iresponsible, I say to you stop being afraid to express yourself and let the DeStefano administration know how you realy feel about his reign, chokehold over our communities, and perpetual Mayorship of New Haven. That's what's wrong with this city now! To those of you who say that a possible heated Mayoral race between Destefano and a Black man like Bill Dyson, or even Darnell Goldson for that matter, is not about race, I say think again. The prospect of a Black man or Black woman running our city would do volumes for the masses of our young brothers and sisters symbolically and psychologically, particularly with how they view themselves. One only has to look at the new face of politics nationally to see that it's a good thing for the country. Why can't we "Hope" and pray for some of that "Change" locally?

    Let's draft Bill Dyson for Mayor of our city New Haven. Somebody, anybody get in our dear brothers' ear quick. This snake oil the Destefano administration has been selling to the people has gone on long enough!

    Get Free or Die Trying-William R. Dyson for Mayor-The Movement.

  • Alum

    The previous poster would have us sink from the mediocre to the abominable; Detroit, here we come!

  • Joe lyman hall

    a very strong message from Miss Devine Shabazz,truthful,delving,honest.
    An entrenched old school political machine operator that is Desteffano will require a very unified Black Community for starters. The big developers/church entities might be tough to enlist and stay the course that would be needed.
    .."to me, to me", one might say and throw the whole movement into the trash can, the infiltration and unsincere involvemnt from a supposedly disgruntled white developer/mover/shaker would only cause more harm…But a City wide effort of students, elderly, newly arrived folks of various races can get the job done..Will Mr.Dyson fly in the East Shore ? 17'th & 18'th wards - perhaps enough.East Rock probably
    But every ward would need to have workers
    You would run into the lackeys/cronies and municipal employs of this Gov't AND folks from North Haven who reep his kindness, Paid consultants from every where ,even the P.D. ,cutting off that free flow of money from the Alders that comes via Facade and business loans.

  • Ted wango tango

    The famous Alum of Detroit has come out swinging for it's glorious communities,
    unlike some grads who say they are helping the communities of New Haven ,but in all actuality are part of the problem, and it's possible the iron gate of hometown has slammed shut
    The Motor City Madman has spoken, and will be playing with a few of the Motown
    greats soon at the Palace

  • Pingback: เกมส์

  • Pingback: free online car insurance quote

  • Pingback: Oxford

  • Pingback: annual free credit reports

  • Pingback: good cheap auto insurance

  • Pingback: Hampstead

  • Pingback: quote auto insurance

  • Pingback: Waterville

  • Pingback: Tavares