It hardly needs to be stated that Alderman Brian Jenkins’ Minority State of the City address Monday night was remarkably offensive and mostly untrue. Anyone who witnessed or read about the speech can testify to its outlandishness.
In a fit of rambling vitriol, the Ward 28 alderman and chairman of the city’s Black and Hispanic Caucus hurled a string of unsubstantiated insults at New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and the Yale administration, at one point referencing a “Yale-DeStefano axis of power.”
Primarily, the speech is an embarrassment to Jenkins himself — along with his unwarranted jabs at Yale and the city, he misstated the age of the University by a century and botched Marie Antoinette’s most famous quotation. More disturbing, however, the speech marks a potential setback to the ongoing efforts of both Yale and New Haven to better their historically divisive relationship.
What is far more encouraging is the response the speech has drawn from Jenkins’ colleagues on the Board of Alderman. Alderman Willie Greene, also a member of the caucus, called on Jenkins to resign his position as chairman of the caucus.
Whether Jenkins resigns or not, he should retract the numerous inaccuracies in his speech. Thankfully, his words seem to represent the views of neither the caucus or the city’s Board of Alderman, and thus they are more easily dismissed.