At least one of the wishes of Ward 1 Alderman Mike Jones ’11 has come true.
At its twice-monthly meeting Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen approved the aldermen who would serve on the city’s commissions and councils. Jones ended up with the community group he wanted: the New Haven Food Policy Council.
The Board of Aldermen committees, on the other hand, have not yet been selected by Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield. Jones said he wants to join the finance and legislation committees, but the current chair of the finance committee Ward 23 Alderman Yusuf Shah in an interview last week doubted Jones’ qualifications.
Before Tuesday’s appointment, Jones has done little with food policy. The only mention of “food” on his Ward 1 blog is a response to the board’s vote to allow residents to raise hens on their property: “This is especially imporant [sic] in an urban area like ours where so many people have comparatively little access to healthy, sustainable foods.”
Now, he said, he will represent Yale students who work with food. Head Events Coordinator at the Yale Farm Isabel Polon ’11 said that if Jones wants to do a good job, he needs to “dedicate a lot of time and research” because food legislation is a “complicated issue.”
“It’d be nice to see Mike Jones’ face at the farm,” she said. Although Jones said he has visited the farm in the past, he said he “still learning” about food policy issues.
The Food Policy Council has not done “terribly much,” Jones said. He added that he is “not entirely sure what can be done within the constraints of state law and the city charter.”
The council’s Web site said it serves to “works to strengthen the local food system by connecting its various sectors,” working to provide New Haven residents and schools with healthy food that is produced locally.
Both he and Ward 9 Alderman Roland Lemar said most of the appointments were determined in the Democratic Caucus meeting that occurred directly before the general meeting. Majority Leader Ward 21 Alderwoman Katrina Jones read the names quickly, having the board approve them all at once. The meeting ended in about 30 minutes, with little occurring except the unanimous approval of an act to allow city employees to donate some of their salaries to the efforts in Haiti.
After the meeting, Jones, who smiled as he walked among his fellow aldermen, explained that there are a “ton of interesting people” on the food council, including some from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale. He added a number of Yale people have interests in the council’s efforts through work on the Yale Farm.
Tuesday’s meeting was the second for new aldermen such as Jones. The aldermanic chambers was warm and cheerful as many of the 30 city officials filed in from the Democratic Caucus meeting held directly before.
The meeting opened with a different face leading the meeting. Board of Alderman President Carl Goldfield was on vacation so President Pro Tempore Charles Blango stepped in. Blango performed his role with minimal hiccups: only once did he jump to discussion before an item was moved.
The Legislation Committee, which oversees the city’s zoning, is set to meet Jan. 28.