This is my third time running for mayor of New Haven. I have decided to run again because I believe New Haven needs a change. Although the opposition candidates have changed since the last elections, the issues I care about are not very different from those I have run on in the past.
I have made crime a major focus of each of my three campaigns. As the economy worsens, more people — especially teenagers and young adults — lose their jobs. Often this lack of work comes with a spike in crime attributed among other things to a need ways to provide for their family and boredom.
We can attack this problem in three ways. We can create jobs to counteract the effects of the recession. We can create community centers to provide activities for our young people. We can increase community policing, making police visible on the streets and members of neighborhoods they serve.
Crime in downtown is worse than before. People are scared to leave their houses at night. It is unacceptable.
Next are high taxes. Over the past two years, taxes have nearly doubled and utilities have more than doubled. At the same time, many New Haven residents have watched their variable mortgage rates balloon making mortgage payments increasingly expensive.
We need to lower taxes in New Haven so people can afford to live here. Lowering taxes requires decreasing the budget. My plan includes both cutting expensive, unnecessary programs and overpaid department heads, and increasing the city’s sources of revenue by asking Yale to pay its fair share. Until a few years ago, Yale was paying the city $2.1 million each year. Recently, they have increased their voluntary contribution to $4.1 million annually. However, to pay their fair share, they would need to pay closer to $25 million. Each day the University makes over $6 million in interest from their endowment; they can afford to pay the city a bit more.
As mayor, I would also look to help out small businesses. It is incredibly costly for small business owners to purchase insurance for their stores and their employees. I would therefore open up the municipal insurance to small business owners and allow them to buy into the same policies members of the city government enjoy. Doing so will help them to lower the cost of health care for their workers. This will, in turn, help them become more competitive in an increasingly global market. In addition, giving small business owners access to municipal insurance will give New Haven more buying power in the insurance market. As a result, health care costs will be lower for all of us.
Finally, I would like to find new, innovative ways to make New Haven more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. As Europe is at the forefront of this movement, I would examine its systems to find out what is working there and try to institute these ideas in New Haven.
After all, New Haven needs a change.
Ralph Ferrucci is a truck driver and a candidate for mayor of New Haven.