To the Editor:
I applaud the Ward 1 Committee’s endorsement of Rebecca Livengood. Having had the pleasure to work with Rebecca on several campaigns throughout the past two years, I’ve witnessed her dedication to New Haven firsthand. The best route to stronger town/gown relations is not spattered PR work, but rather a sustained economic commitment by the University to all New Haven residents. Rebecca has always been at the forefront of key campaigns toward this end, whether encouraging the University to pay a fair share contribution to bolster our failing schools, to provide reasonable wages for University employees, or to ensure a community voice in development plans for the Hill neighborhood and beyond. As a student not on the committee (and who doesn’t even live within the Ward 1 bounds), I nonetheless celebrate Rebecca’s nomination: She will be an asset not only to Ward 1, but to all of us as students and New Haven residents.
Emily Jones ’06
March 28, 2005
To the Editor:
As a first-time Ward 1 Democratic Committee member, I arrived at the endorsement meeting feeling excited and enormously empowered to have such a tangible influence in the democratic process. Very quickly, however, I realized that the result of the endorsement had been decided long before the debate or the deliberations began.
There are undoubtedly many pros to the current endorsement process. By its very nature, the Committee is composed of a particularly well-informed and dedicated group of voters. But the Committee’s design has also ensured that it is disproportionately composed of unusually activist people. In the case of Ward 1, that means members of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, a group in which Rebecca Livengood is very involved, and that has also been recently criticized for alienating students of all political persuasions.
In the weeks before the endorsement meeting, conversations with both candidates and their supporters revealed their politics to be extremely similar. To me, it came down to a question of priorities on the issues, and of the type of past experience I felt the candidate needed to accomplish his/her goals. I voted for Dan Weeks based on these personal priorities. Unfortunately, because of the current system, the entirety of Ward 1 (except 41 highly politically active individuals) might never face this choice and might never be able to voice their own priorities. While I very much respect the opinions of my fellow committee members, they simply do not correspond to the priorities of the Ward. A process so unrepresentative of the interests of the Democratic community of Ward 1, so undemocratic, as the current process, is undeniably flawed. Should Dan Weeks opt not to continue his campaign based on the endorsement decision made by the Ward 1 Committee, several important issues will go undebated, and the voters’ freedom to choose the candidate that best represents their interests will be considerably narrowed.
Dan Weeks’ idealism and commitment to New Haven clearly match that of his opponent, but more importantly, he presented the committee with attainable short term goals and concrete methods for achieving them. While Rebecca Livengood has extensive background in community organizing, Dan’s experience in government at the state and local level far surpasses that of his opponent. I sincerely hope that the voters of Ward 1 step forward to support Dan’s continued candidacy, if not for the sake of his strengths as a candidate, then for the sake of a more pure democratic process.
Alana Tucker ’07
March 27, 2005