Alyssa Rosenberg’s article concerning Dan Kruger’s campaign for Ward One Alderman (“You don’t want Kruger working for you,” 9/22) seeks to discredit him by making a long list of false assumptions about his positions, many of which are antithetical to his true vision for New Haven and Yale.
Rosenberg asserts that “Kruger encourages students to limit the extent of their real involvement in the city.” Nothing could be further from the truth as far as Kruger’s advocacy goes or a more accurate characterization of Healey’s tenure as Alderman over the past two years. Indeed, Kruger has made a firm commitment to involving Yale students in the political process of New Haven, while he promises to actually represent our interests as opposed to following on Healey’s track record of policy making in isolation from the Yale community.
Rosenberg’s attack on Kruger centers around two issues: Healey’s effort to pass the Domestic Partnership Amendment, which she feels rebuts Kruger’s allegation that Healey has failed to communicate with constituents or mobilize them to support the issues they care about; and secondly, Kruger’s desire to work with, and not against, the Yale Office for New Haven and State Affairs.
While it is true that Healey did work to pass the Domestic Partnership Amendment, his failure on this issue is a good example of what can go wrong when an Alderman maintains no contact with the great majority of his constituents. For a measure which would have had the overwhelming support of the Yale campus, Healey was able to muster no more than 15 people to support his position at the first hearing on the amendment, and this in the face of over 300 determined opponents.
Surely if Healey had reached out to the Yale campus, and fulfilled his obligations as an elected official by informing us about an issue that is close to many of our hearts, things would have gone very differently; and perhaps those “turncoats” on the Board of Aldermen who defected from supporting this issue shortly after the first hearing would not have done so.
This example is important not only because of this particular disaster but also because it casts light on the nature of Healey’s approach to his position and constituents. Rosenberg quibbles that Healey’s failure to inform Yale students about the issues at hand via e-mail or a news letter is not even worthy of concern; but this only proves the saliency of Kruger’s point. Because Healey has failed to involve his constituents or communicate with them, he has not been an effective advocate of our interests, while it is very doubtful that he even knows what our concerns are considering the lack of any significant effort on his part to listen to them.
Rosenberg’s second objection to Kruger’s campaign only confirms the above while raising new questions about Healey’s suitability for the office he holds. Rosenberg views Kruger’s identification of Bruce Alexander, Yale’s Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs, as someone he looks forward to working with as cause to lambaste Kruger for a weak commitment to the City.
Here we get to the heart of the matter: Healey and his supporters view Yale as an obstacle to the improvement of the wider community and as the enemy of the city, while Kruger believes that a constructive partnership is the best way best way to move New Haven, and Yale, forward.
While Healey has taken a confrontational position, voting for a bill requiring Yale to pay taxes to the City that under State Law it does not owe, Kruger would work with the University to promote new programs for the enrichment of the community.
For example, Kruger takes the proactive position that Yale could play a much greater role in improving the educational system of New Haven and proposes to work with the University to establish initiatives such as a “joint Yale-New Haven fifth year, post graduation Urban Education Program,” with the specific goal of getting more Yale graduates in New Haven classrooms.
This is the kind of program that Kruger can work with the University to bring into fruition, while Healey is in no such position. Instead of serving to further cooperation between the University and the surrounding community, as his position uniquely affords him the opportunity to do, Healey has cultivated a relationship based on hostility. Kruger will change that and will be a better advocate of our interests, and of those of the City as a whole, for it.
I know that Dan cares greatly about New Haven and Yale, not about one to the exclusion of the other. He will communicate with us and listen to what we have to say concerning issues that we care about and that directly affect our lives, while he will bring original and specific ideas and an independent voice to our City government. As Rosenberg said, “Think carefully.”
Henry Hancock is a junior in Silliman College.