In the two weeks since Fish Stark ’17 launched his bid for Ward 1 alder, his campaign has heated up around campus.
Stark formed a campaign committee in early March, making him one of the earliest candidates in recent history to announce their candidacy. Since then, he and his campaign have begun accepting donations and become increasingly active in promoting his cause around campus. Stark will face current Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 in the race, who declared her candidacy for a third term last week.
“The main thing right now is just getting Fish in front of as many people as possible,” said Sergio Lopez ’18, Stark’s campaign manager. Lopez said the campaign’s early announcement allows Stark to meet with more people and to do so while being an official candidate.
Though some donors have come forward, Stark said he has not begun actively fundraising. With the first financial filing deadline coming on Friday, he said, he has received nine donations — eight of which have come from Yale students — since the campaign launched.
Campaign treasurer Hedy Gutfreund ’18 said these donations have mostly come from five-dollar pledges made at the launch event two weeks ago.
Stark has also begun a series of weekly Friday night dinners in residential college dining halls to discuss policy ideas and strategize ways to bring the Yale and New Haven communities closer together. Last week’s dinner took place in the Pierson dining hall — 10 people attended, six of whom Stark said he had never met before. The group discussed topics ranging from biking in New Haven to youth services in the city.
The dinners are organized via a “grassroots” structure, as Stark described it. Each residential college has a small group of organizers affiliated with the Stark campaign, each of whom are tasked with spreading the word about his campaign and inviting their friends to meet with Stark.
In addition to his student outreach, Stark said he has met with all three candidates for Yale College Council president. Ben Martin ’17, one of the candidates, said Stark approached him to propose adding a clause to his platform encouraging interaction between the Yale and New Haven communities. Martin said Stark was interested in the way in which the YCC president can help to facilitate that interaction. Still, Martin chose not to add the proposed clause.
Candidate Andy Hill ’17 also met with Stark, and the two also discussed how best to connect Yale and New Haven, Hill said.
Hill said Stark “seems to be well-suited for the post of Ward 1 alder,” but he has decided not to make any official endorsement in the race.
The platform of Joe English ’17, another presidential candidate, did include a proposal to encourage interaction between Yale and New Haven after speaking with Stark. English’s platform calls for the establishment of a pre-orientation program that would allow Yale students to volunteer in local schools; he also encourages the YCC to host festivals that bring local artists to campus.
Stark had no official opponent in the race until incumbent Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 announced her bid for a third term. Lopez said Stark will not run a negative campaign against Eidelson.
“The campaign is not about whether we do or do not like Sarah,” he said. “It’s about who has the better vision for New Haven.”
Eidelson said that she has not made significant headway on her campaign yet, noting she has instead been focused on the student elections for the Board of Education.
“I have not filed papers yet — I plan on doing that and having my official campaign announcement toward the end of the semester,” she said. “I have been letting folks know in the course of my regular communication with them about what’s going on in the city that I’m running, and I’ve been having initial conversations with people about what they want to see.”