Just two weeks before the election, Michael Pinto announced his candidacy for the previously uncontested position of Ward 25 alderman.
Pinto, an attorney and former economic development officer for the city of New Haven, announced his decision to run as a write-in candidate last Sunday in an email to Westville residents. He is heavily involved in Justin Elicker’s FES ’10 SOM ’10 mayoral campaign and said he came to the decision to run after many Ward 25 residents expressed a desire for an alternative candidate in the aldermanic race as he campaigned for Elicker. Incumbent Adam Marchand had previously been running uncontested.
Pinto said that over the course of campaigning for Elicker, he spoke to many Ward 25 residents who felt that Marchand had not been a responsive alderman. He cited the assaults in Edgewood Park that occurred over the summer as a time when Marchand went “awol” and did not respond to people’s inquiries. Marchand could not be reached for comment.
“Voters expect their alderman to be responsive and not ignore them,” Pinto said. “These issues are not sexy. They require you to call people back and respond to their emails.”
A Westville resident, Pinto said that he hopes to invest in Westville Village and make it a place where people will want to live. Though New Haven currently has a thriving downtown, Pinto said, he hopes to create new office spaces for start-ups in Ward 25.
Pinto said that because he and Marchand are both democrats, they agree on most key issues. However he disagreed with Marchand’s decision to sell portions of High and Wall streets to Yale this summer.
“Yale is an important partner to New Haven,” Pinto said. “I just found it problematic that the agreement didn’t guarantee public access.”
He also disagreed with Marchand’s decision to vote against receiving federal funds to conduct a study on building a trolley in downtown New Haven.
Ward 19 alderman Mike Stratton said that he thinks that Pinto has a good chance of winning. He credited Pinto for the resurgence of Edgewood Park and said that he is exactly what the Board of Aldermen because of his vision for the city.
Aldermanic seats in other wards are also contested. Democrat Aaron Greenberg and independent Andy Ross are competing for the seat in Ward 8 seat, where current alderman Michael Smart is stepping down after this term. Kevin Diggs and Patricia DePalma are running as independent write-in candidates for Wards 27 and 11 respectively.
Ross said that running as an independent means he is not beholden to a party and, if elected, will allow him to serve on whichever committee he chooses, since he is minority candidate.
Pinto said that his campaign should do well on election day, but that his main concern is still the mayoral race. He is currently chief organizer in the western part of New Haven for Elicker’s campaign and said that opportunities to canvas for himself are fairly limited.
“My main focus for the election has been organizing for Justin,” Pinto said. “I’m one part of a big team.”
Currently every member of the Board of Aldermen is a Democrat.