Republican Ward 1 Candidate Paul Chandler ’14 unveiled his policy platform over the weekend, pitching his vision for the Elm City just over two weeks before he squares off at the polls with Democratic incumbent Sarah Eidelson ’12.
The platform focuses on three broad issues: education, fiscal responsibility, and an assortment of quality of life issues in the ward, including transportation, bike safety and a revitalization of the New Haven Green. Chandler said he will hold a series of events following the October recess to engage students about his policy agenda before Election Day on Nov. 5.
“Even the broad issues affect Ward 1,” Chandler said. “The things that you see across the city are also being seen in Ward 1. Education is universally an important issue; sustainable and responsible government affects students when they’re paying for things at stores or paying their rent.”
Chandler said his plans for basic service improvements in the ward would be most immediately actionable.
He advocates placing a crosswalk between Phelps gate and the New Haven Green in order to make the green more accessible to Old Campus. In addition, he said he will explore filling the green with stand-up shops and businesses.
He also said he would work to improve street lighting on campus and in the downtown area to reduce crime and make campus more walkable at night. One of his more innovative ideas, he said, is to provide an accessible public transit option connecting downtown and Union Station. The Yale shuttle is often not reliable on weekends and on breaks, Chandler Campaign spokesperson Amalia Halikias ’15 said.
Chandler focused an entire section of his platform on education policy, which he said is largely an expression of his personal beliefs about education reform. Though most issues related to education fall under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education rather than the Board of Aldermen, he said, city lawmakers have a role to play when it comes to budgeting education programs and setting up services that complement the New Haven Public Schools. He also said he supports increasing Spanish-speaking resources to accommodate parents who speak English as their second language and enhancing after-school programs to provide supervision for the city’s young people at the end of the school day.
Another section of his platform — one that Chandler has already made a focus of his campaign — is sustainable and responsible government. He said he will advocate for a transition to a defined contribution pension plan to avoid the problem of underfunded pensions in the future. He also said changing the city’s assumed rate of return from 8 percent to between 4-5 percent would more accurately represent the returns the city gets on its pension investments and therefore elucidate the extent of the city’s pension crisis.
He said merging departments and commissions with similar tasks would ensure budget savings and that further sharing of resources with neighboring towns would improve efficiency and help allocate resources according to need.
Chandler said the policy ideas are not partisan but “very common sense.” He said the platform represents his broad ideals and gives Ward 1 residents a sample of the proposals he would back as alderman.
Ben Mallet ’16, Chandler’s campaign manager, said the platform is the product of weeks of research and meetings with groups across campus, including the Yale Student Environmental Coalition. He said the campaign will continue to reach out to cultural houses and other campus organizations to solicit ideas for Ward 1.
While the election presents Chandler his first opportunity to showcase his ideas for the ward, Eidelson’s re-election campaign platform is largely an extension of the work she has pursued on the Board. She said she is focused on continuing the agenda she pursued in her first term: youth services. She said the inventory of servives for young people in the city that she initiated last year just concluded and that the Board is moving forward with a proposal to create a “youth map initiative” that will allow city residents to browse existing youth services online.
“One of the goals of the comprehensive youth agenda is to expand and increase the services and programs that exist, but there also are a lot of wonderful programs that are already in operation,” Eidelson said. “I think youth and families don’t have access to information to know what’s out there, so first making that accessible is important.”
She said she is also committed to further enhancing the city’s return to robust community policing. Engaging students in the process of city governance is another one of her main commitments, she added.
Eidelson chairs the Board’s youth services committee.