I want to thank the News for their continued attention to the Ward 1 aldermanic election, though I disagree on several fronts with their characterizations of the race between myself and Vinay Nayak ’14. In particular, I want to respond directly to the idea — present in both Thursday’s News’ View and in John Masko’s op-ed “Defining Justice for Ward 1” (Sept. 7) — that the needs of Yale students are largely met and are distinct from those of other residents.
As long as students feel unsafe venturing outside their college, leaving their bikes outside, or crossing a street; as long as students cannot afford to shop, eat or live downtown; and as long as students come to Yale in spite of New Haven instead of because of it, there is work for the Ward 1 alderperson to do on their behalf.
Further, we cannot allow such work to fall on the Ward 1 alderperson alone. Both students and other residents have visions for the future of this city, and many have taken action to realize them. As alderwoman, I will work to build a local government that not only encourages that initiative but also substantively incorporates residents’ input into its daily functioning.
Working for a better Ward 1 need not come at the expense of working for a better New Haven. Over the three school years and two summers I’ve spent here, the hundreds of conversations I’ve had point to a common goal. We all want a New Haven that is safe, vibrant and inclusive. I look forward to working with members of the Board to accomplish this, and I am particularly excited to continue working with Ward 2’s Frank Douglass and Ward 22’s Jeanette Morrison, our neighbors on campus.
To pretend that what happens in this city doesn’t affect us is one of the most privileged things that students can do. I don’t believe it is selfish or insular to work toward making New Haven a place where Yale students genuinely want to live, or to think that Ward 1 is a place where that can happen. In the coming week, I will release more policy on my website outlining my proposals for improving governance in our city.
Maybe building a more democratic government in our city isn’t flashy, but my experience leads me to believe that it is necessary to changing Ward 1 and New Haven for the better.
The writer is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College and a Ward 1 aldermanic candidate.