Alyssa Rosenberg has a great piece in today’s YDN sharing her experience of the support she and her coalition, Project Orange, received from Ward One Alderman Ben Healey and her critique of his challenger, who’s running against him in the general election as an independant. Alyssa demonstrates what Ben attested to in last Tuesday’s debate: that Ben motivates and mobilizes students in our ward not through mass e-mail or newsletters – as Dan is saying he should – but by working with and empowering students on the grassroots level to fight for change in the city which is our home.

A few other moments which stood out from the debate:

Dan maintained, at various points, that
1. Ben imposes needs on students rather than finding out what they want, whereas Dan’s agenda is based on what’s really important to students.
2. Students need Tweed – New Haven Airport to get jet service.
3. If you asked most students “what Tweed – New Haven airport was, they wouldn’t have any idea.”
It seems to me only any two of these assertions, logically, can be true.

Dan tried to demonstrate his devotion to poor kids in New Haven by discussing his work as a gym teacher in one of their schools and joked that “They gave me a run for my money – literally and figuratively.” Many of Dan’s supporters in the room laughed. I guess those of us supporting Ben didn’t get it.

Dan said the New Havener he most looks forward to working with should he be elected is Yale’s own Vice President Bruce Alexander, and tried to smear Ben based on a derrogatory comment made by a supporter of Ben’s, who isn’t in his ward and doesn’t work on his campaign, on his website (not mine) criticizing Alexander. Ben sensibly replied that he doesn’t take responsibility for every comment on a website of someone who supports him, and challenged Dan to explain an e-mail sent to Dan’s supporters by his campaign manager which read, in part:

the incumbent guy is a tool of the unions, he gets a ton of money from them, and he consistently votes against yale on everything. he thinks that the workers should get whatever they want, and he is a HUGE supporter of the strike…

the problem is this: because he is a union supporter, we’re afraid he’s going to have a bunch of strikers at the debate tomorrow and that they will drown out Dan and generally be jerks…

i’m just trying to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a big picket inside. Second floor, Slifka, bring your friends/suitmates, go yale!

Besides the misunderstanding of the way Yale’s union work (the debate was held in a neutral, non-struck space) and classist assumptions behind them, and the unwarranted and nasty attack on Ben’s integrity, the e-mail includes a flat lie: that Ben’s received money from organized labor. When asked to respond, Kruger suggested that he had no responsibility for the words or actions of his Campaign Manager.

As has been noted, Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs didn’t do well on primary day. It has a lot invested, it would seem, in the November election, which pits an incumbent who’s a strong ally of the growing movement throughout this city for just partnership between Yale and New Haven against a challenger who argues that rather than paying taxes on its for-profit properties, Yale should simply make donations to support projects New Haven suggests to it that Yale approves of. Should be an interesting race.

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