To the Editor:

In “Shalek makes Ward 1 new goal” (9/15), Ward 1 Aldermanic candidate Nick Shalek is quoted as saying “economic growth can be a force of significant progress when it’s coupled with appropriate attention to responsible development, environmental sustainability, and the concern of New Haven citizens.”

Though it is difficult to take issue with this statement alone — indeed, Shalek’s considerable inexperience as a politician is not evident in his careful word choice — the candidate’s business-first platform undercuts his alleged commitment to sustainability.

While truly sustainable development has been a source of great motivation for advancing global environmental stewardship, too often the language of sustainability masks “business as usual” practices behind a thin, green-tinged veil. Although Shalek claims to fully support the environment, his open-door economic policy clearly indicates where his true loyalties rest. Furthermore, in reading the candidate’s Web site, I was disappointed to discover Shalek’s complaint about “the excesses of community groups making demands” of business. By allowing any business to establish itself in New Haven without agreeing to abide by environmental standards, we compromise our already fragile urban environment.

At a time when America’s national environmental policies and practices are being systematically weakened or eliminated, the importance of selecting progressive local leaders with strong, demonstrated commitments to ecological sustainability is clear. I hope all students in the ward will remember the long-term needs of our community and environment when voting for a Ward 1 alderman this year.

Claire Gagne ’06

Sept. 18, 2005