As the city’s general election draws closer, Republican candidate Chris Marcisz is campaigning to represent the overwhelmingly-Yale Ward 1 on the Board of Alders, New Haven’s legislative body.
On Nov. 5, Marcisz will face off against Eli Sabin ’22, who automatically advanced to the general election after winning an uncontested Democratic primary in September. Marcisz, a Ward 1 resident of seven years, decided in May to jump into the race on a platform of “cleaning the Green” — a promise to improve public health and safety in the Elm City by emphasizing community policing, relocating bus stops to Union Station and addressing aggressive panhandlers downtown. Marcisz has also criticized the Democratic party for “wasteful spending” and voiced his concerns about a Yale student holding a seat in city government.
“There are many new challenges and areas for improvement needed in Ward 1,” Marcisz wrote in a statement to the News. “The board of alders has become a one-party echo chamber. And, as a resident I will serve as mature voice with new ideas to represent the ward.”
Marcisz grew up an hour from New Haven in Watertown, CT and relocated to the Elm City to attend Southern Connecticut State University. He has lived in Ward 1 for seven years and works as a caterer for Shabtai, a Yale-based Jewish leadership society.
In his statement to the News, Marcisz highlighted public safety issues that should be addressed by law enforcement and non-profit agencies alike.
In particular, Marcisz noted an incident on the Green last year when over one hundred people collapsed after smoking K2, a synthetic form of marijuana. He told the News that he plans to work with New Haven’s homeless population to help those suffering with drug addiction. In a campaign Facebook post, he promised to be an alder that shares Yale students’ and downtown residents’ safety concerns.
Marcisz’s post also cited a recent study by security company SafeHome.org, which found Yale to be the least safe college in Connecticut and among the least safe in the country. According to WNTH, SafeHome.org compiled data from the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and the U.S. Department of Education for its research.
“Our just-released annual security/crime report (Clery) shows our campus has very low crime rates, and almost no violent crime,” Salovey said in an email to the News. “Crime on our campus has been trending steadily down for more than a decade.”
Still, Marcisz said Yale has a long way to go to make the campus and New Haven a safe place. He plans to serve as a conduit between residents, non-profit workers and government officials to improve safety on the Green and in the downtown district more broadly, Marcisz said.
In the past, Marcisz has criticized what he called the “science of one-party rule” in Connecticut. He posted a graphic on Facebook detailing the Democratic party’s cyclical spending and taxation policies and suggested that Democrats place blame others for fiscal crises they generated. In his statement to the News, Marcisz criticized the Board of Alders as a “one-party echo chamber.” New Haven has not had a Republican mayor since 1953, and the last Republican alder retired in 2011.
If elected, Marcisz would add ideological diversity to the Board while ending a decades-long tradition of Yale students occupying the Ward 1 seat.
“Most residents I have spoken to believe that Yale students have historically treated the alder seat as a vanity project that they use to pad their own resume,” Marcisz wrote to the News. “I believe there is some merit to that.”
In an interview with the News, Sabin denied Marcisz’ premise that Yale students vie for the Ward 1 position in order to advance their personal or professional prospects.
“I care deeply about the city of New Haven,” Sabin told the News. “Everything I’ve done over the last several years has been about contributing to trying to make the lives of people who I grew up with in the city better.”
For his part, current Alder Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 acknowledged that the Ward 1 seat was not “designed for a young person,” but he highlighted that Yale student alders contribute both diverse ideas and University resources to the legislative process. Their seat on the board allows the city government to approach issues from diverse perspectives, Catalbasoglu said.
Between now and Election Day, Marcisz plans to continue campaigning on social media platforms. If elected, he will use social media to connect with Yale students, Marcisz said.
The general election will be on Nov. 5.
Mackenzie Hawkins | firstname.lastname@example.org