EDITED TO ADD: A preface — this is a little harsh. I am sure Paul Chandler is a great guy and sincere in his efforts. But the narrative around this election is frustrating, because it elevates Chandler to the symbol of a new New Haven politics. This, to me, is almost offensive to the sincere and sustained commitment Alder Eidelson has shown this city — and, equally importantly, obscures the artificial nature of Chandler’s campaign. Paul Chandler was in the right place at the right time, which is great, but Eidelson has been here all along. It’s unfortunate a happy coincidence could decide tomorrow’s election.
I don’t live in NHV’s Ward 1, but you might have heard I’m pretty passionate about tomorrow’s aldermanic election. Not sure who to vote for tomorrow? Here are a couple of reasons you should support Democratic incumbent Sarah Eidelson.
The Chandler campaign relies on the fundamentally dishonest image it projects. Chandler’s columns and press materials emphasize his connection with New Haven and the passion for good governance that pushed him to run. This is a great story, but belies a few key facts: after a lengthy interview process, Chandler was chosen (from a pool of ~6 candidates) by the Yale College Republicans, who picked him specifically because of his supposed bipartisan appeal. The bipartisan “grassroots effort” Chandler and his supporters extol is nothing but carefully calculated partisan AstroTurf — Chandler extols bipartisanship and being an “independent” voice but he would not be running were it not for Republican students on campus.
Maybe that’s why I’ve seen Chandler walk out of on-campus recruiting interviews at UCS; so much for his commitment to New Haven. (Especially edited again to add that I don’t think my earlier criticism of PC re: on-campus recruiting was fair. My criticism here stems from my belief that someone motivated enough to run for alderman in New Haven should be willing to stay in New Haven regardless of the outcome of that election, and support New Haven politics, development, activism, etc. I can’t know what Chandler was doing in UCS, so the assumption I was making about his intent is unfair. That said, I would love to know if Chandler has made any statement about his post-grad plans if he doesn’t win (I can’t recall one), like Sarah’s commitment to stay in New Haven win-lose two years ago year. That said, I am keeping my original comment in, because I wrote it originally and wouldn’t want hide my tracks dishonestly.)
Not so bad? Sure, I’ll grant a man the right to hedge his bets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Chandler campaign utterly lacks professionalism. Campaign reps lied about receiving an endorsement from Senator Rob Portman, then lied about today’s endorsement in the Yale Daily News. On the night of the primary, Chandler and his campaign representatives literally randomly walked uninvited into the Yale Daily News building so that they could be sure to be quoted in the paper, as though this is somehow the best and most appropriate way to interface with the press as a political candidate.
I love surprises, but this is just unprofessional. This isn’t a game. If the Chandler team can’t run a serious campaign, how can we expect Paul Chandler to interface with the board of aldermen? This is especially important, since Chandler will be representing Yale students. We need an alderman who defies the bad reputation Yalies get, not reinforces it.
Chandler’s campaign is riddled with contradictions. He’s an Independent, but he’s excited to become the Republican minority leader on the board of aldermen: the face of a political party he attempts to distance himself from.
More importantly, Chandler has been to few (if any?) board of aldermen meeting. He justifies this by saying most of the dialogue goes on behind the scenes. This justification, in turn, contradicts his main criticism of Sarah Eidelson: that she hasn’t spoken at these meetings! If most of the dialogue goes on behind the scenes, why does it matter if Sarah speaks/does not speak at the meetings themselves?
Chandler’s platform is ridiculous. The board of alderman has little purview over education reform, his pet project, and his plans to make the New Haven Green “more accessible” are ridiculous: it is LITERALLY RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM YALE. IT IS LITERALLY THE DISTANCE FROM CALHOUN TO DURFEE’S, where, coincidentally, there is also not a crosswalk — but not like you’ve noticed, because it’s super accessible already!
Paul’s platform focuses on making things better for people in Ward 1, but Sarah’s policies elevate New Haven’s neediest, creating spillover effects that make us all better in the process. I haven’t always supported her on campus, but a vote for her opponent, Paul Chandler, is a catastrophic step back. We all deserve better.