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Green Party Of New London Chooses Candidates

Greens Pick Board of Education and City Council Nominees; Show Support for Finizio

The roof of on Bank Street was the setting for the Green Party’s monthly meeting on Thursday night as members chose their candidates for the Board of Education and City Council.

Daryl Finizio, who is challenging Councilor Michael Buscetto III for the Democratic nomination for mayor in a primary this month, paid a visit to the meeting.  “I will challenge as a progressive alternative to  Buscetto,” he said.  Depending on who wins the primary, either he or Buscetto will most likely win the election because New London’s Democrats outnumber Republicans by about five to one, Finizio said.  He encouraged Greens to tell their Democratic friends to vote for him in the primary.  After Finizio urged his supporters to “keep the energy growing as much as possible,” the Greens voted almost unanimously to officially support him.

For City Council, the Greens are fielding three candidates: Joan Sullivan, Jessica Cartagena and Ken Hanson.  Sullivan and Cartagena spoke to the Greens about their positions.  Sullivan noted her opposition to the proposed sale of .  “Different socioeconomic groups use it,” she said.  “Not everyone can afford to go to the beach.”  Cartagena said that it was important that New Londoners see young people in the community who care about change.

For the Board of Education, the Greens nominated two candidates: Ronna Stuller and Mirna Martinez.  Stuller is the first Green to actually hold a seat on the New London Board of Education, and she will run for that seat again this year.  Martinez, a former teacher now raising young children, wants to see school children integrated more into the city.  She hopes to use New London’s art galleries and cultural activities as an “alternative classroom.” 

Tim Hanser was voted campaign manager.  He has recently returned to New London after teaching in New York for several years.  He said that “there are a lot of new faces.  This means the party is growing.”  Hanser stated that his goal is to grow the Green Party, and he sees a good mix of experience and youth in the Green Party membership.

The Greens also discussed drafts of the party platform and the education platform.  The party platform draft includes sections on roads, parks and public safety.  The Green Party hopes to develop a safe, vibrant city with more focus on rebuilding the “grid” system that existed before urban renewal created an “asymmetrical mishmash of varying gauges.”  The Greens also hope to see more people use local parks and the city provide “access, things to do for the active, and places to sit for the sedentary.”  The city and its parks should be policed by cops walking beats rather than sitting in police cars, in order to develop a greater rapport between citizens and policemen.  The Greens also want non-violent drug offenders to be the police’s lowest priority.

The Greens are hoping to find a space where they can put a campaign office that is centralized and visible to the public.  More information on the party is available at: http://www.nlgreens.org/wordpress/.

Fr. Russ Carmichael September 02, 2011 at 11:16 AM
I do not see one call for the creation of jobs or economic development? May be it was just not reported? I see develop and spend on recreation (play-time)? Are these folks aware 40,000 jobs out of Connecticut this year alone and more to go? The city cannot keep up with caring for what it has; and they want to keep Riverside Park, when our United States Coast Guard, needs the space and is a major contributor to the economics of the Hodges Square and the rest of New London???
Kathleen Mitchell September 02, 2011 at 11:39 AM
Russ, Read the Center for Disease Control's many studies regarding the need for recreation and open space and recreational opportunities (NOT "play-time), especially in urban settings and then you might better understand the Green Party's position. You might also be interested in reading Michelle Obama's Let's Move program which also explains the importance of recreational opportunities. In addition, there is absolutely no evidence that the Coast Guard Academy "needs" any portion of Riverside Park since they presently have a 103 acre campus, 70 acres of which is designated as Open Space,and approximately 25 acres of vacant land available to them. Further, there are no statistics anywhere that indicate that the CGA "...is a major contributor to the economics of the Hodges Square and the rest of New London." Unless, of course, you can cite some sources that indicate otherwise.
Ronna Stuller September 02, 2011 at 11:54 AM
Thanks for the great article, Christy! (One small spelling correction: Mirna (with an "i") Martinez.)
Thomas Cornick September 02, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Fr. Grifter why not lead the charge and find gainful employment, where you are from.
Wayne Vendetto September 02, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Russ, as Kathleen stated, it is really far fetched to suggest that the CGA, "needs" Riverside. There are two strong and viable alternatives to taking the park that the Academy has refused to look at, and neither include using any of their 70 acres of open space to achieve that goal. One solution is to build on the 20 acres of undeveloped land they own on the former Farnsworth St which they recently renamed Eagle Dr. The second is a recently released proposal by Lori Hopkins Cavanaugh, which would provide the Academy with almost 40 acres of land to build anything they desire, including the football stadium they plan for Riverside Park. Riverside can be saved, the CGA can expand, and a win/win solution can be achieved. To say the CGA needs the park is pure spin, and could not be further from the truth
Clark van der Lyke September 02, 2011 at 03:08 PM
However the real question is "Does New London really need Riverside Park?" The only "socioeconomic" group that would ever qualify as a group at the park only happens when you offer free hot dogs or pizza. That would have the same draw on any street corner in New London.
Christy Wood September 02, 2011 at 03:21 PM
A great book that explains the necessity for open spaces and diverse urban spaces is "The Death and Life of the American City" by Jane Jacobs. Highly recommended!
Christy Wood September 02, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Also check out "New Urbanism."
Justin September 02, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Open spaces dont create jobs. New construction, concessions, groundskeepers, janitors would all be local hires. Id say that boost unemployment and the local economy more then any recreational opportunity.
Ronna Stuller September 02, 2011 at 04:32 PM
It is very interesting (and gratifying) that you recommended "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." Perhaps not so coincidentally, I purchased 7 copies of that very book and gave one to each of the newly-elected City Councilors in early 2010. (Marty Olsen did tell me, a few months later, that he'd read and enjoyed it.) I recently read "The Economy of Cities" which is a must read for anyone interested in promoting jobs and economic development. On a slightly different (but related) note, I keep a 1911 map of New London in my living room and look at it often. The city was densely built, and the population increased by 30% between 1910 and 1920 (to a level almost identical to today's population- 25,688), neither of which would have been possible without job growth. Yet Riverside Park was about triple its current size! I find that very interesting....
Clark van der Lyke September 02, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Thanks, but both my wife and daughter hold masters degrees in library science, so I have all the book recommendations I need at the present time. Riverside is a nice piece of land and rather than reading another book I recommend a trip to the Connecticut College Arboretum. It is close by and open to the public. No hoops, but the trees even have their names on them and it is excellently maintained.
Ronna Stuller September 02, 2011 at 04:42 PM
The fact that Riverside Park is underutilized does not mean it is not needed. I've looked at a lot of strategic school profiles as well as other data on New London children's health and fitness levels, and we have an epidemic of obesity and (despite having some very talented athletes in town) and a woeful performance on fitness tests (worse - much worse - than the much decried academic scores). We also see significantly more behavior problems from children who live in neighborhoods with inadequate access to open space. To me, the real question we should be asking ourselves is "How do we make Riverside Park more accessible, so that it can be better utilized by the people who need it?"
Amalita Grimes September 02, 2011 at 05:37 PM
My family recently came to the shore from all accross the country to have a 5day family reunion of 65-70 people. I was desperate to have it in New London. Riverside park was exactly what we needed for our 2nd day-- and all day family picnic. Water views (though access would have been better), great location (we arent afraid of the 'ethinicity' of the area),shade, nice peacful feel. Too bad there also was no infrastructure such as a pavilion, grills, a few paths...etc. So we took it to mohegan park in Norwich. Im not saying there were not other locations in New London that would have worked--we were shown alot of spaces. But none of them as unique or as peaceful as Riverside. When I drove through, the loss potential saddened me and I wondered what would make a city abandon such a space. The only answer I could come up with is systematically and purposefully allowing it to degrade so that in a devalued state you can then point to how useless it is. Our reunion ended up being predominately in Mystic (because they were relentless aggressive about making sure it did not end up in new london) and my family dropped thousands and thousands of dollar into THEIR economy. The money we spent alone in Mystic could have more than paid for a pretty amazing start on renovating Riverside Park. The fact that New London seems to be unable to see past their own noses always surprises me. Old song: 'don't it always seem to go, that you dont know what you've got till its gone."
Wayne Vendetto September 02, 2011 at 05:38 PM
There are many properties in the City of New London that are in need of repair Clark. With your logic we should just get rid of them. Unfortunately, that would come at great expense to our tax payers, as they are public buildings, and replacing them would be very costly. If you could point out one City of New London building that is excellently maintained, you might have a leg to stand on. I should also point out, that every park in the City that is used on a regular basis, has a summer lunch..
Amalita Grimes September 02, 2011 at 05:46 PM
Marty Olsen was the man who showed us around..He is intensely proud of New London and is working hard to make it what it is suppose to be. (though he refusese to have press conference and articles in the paper tooting his own horn) Though he is not a darling democrat, nor on the Green's radar and he is currently persona non grata to the Republicans--he voted to save Riveside Park, which cost him politically. Ive seen the passion in this man (he drives the neighborhoods almost every day-- he listen to everyone and works hard to make decisions that reflect the greater good, not just his personal passions) Marty in the Middle is exactly the person to fulfill the Green desire to make new london " a safe, vibrant city with more focus on rebuilding the “grid” system that existed before urban renewal created an “asymmetrical mishmash of varying gauges.” I agree that Finizio way better than Buscetto. He's adorable but deadly the way lawyers tend to be. I have enjoyed him pummeling buscetto. :) But my money will be on Marty this fall.
Wayne Vendetto September 02, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Summer lunch program. I would also point out that Toby May was grossly under used, untill an outside organization generously donated a state of the art playground complex in addition to a major landscaping project . Ocean Beach,was also falling apart, about to be sold, and attendance was at record lows untill the SOB's stepped in. Many thanks to all who had the foresight to come to the aid of these parks. Our citizens and our quality of life are better off because of these people.
Wayne Vendetto September 02, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Greens Harbor beach should also not be left off the list. What was once the butt of jokes, is now a thriving, attractive and active park soley because of the efforts of New London Community Boating. The New London Parks Conservancy, also took another gift to the City, Williams Park, and transformed it from a run down eyesore, into something the City can be proud of. None of these projecst would have been accomplished, were it not for foresight and outside volunteers.
Wayne Vendetto September 02, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Amelita, you hit the nail on the head in terms of lost revenue and the intentional neglect of what could be a major asset to our city. What a hell of a commentary on the city's lack of insight.
Bob Stuller September 02, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Amelita, I agree with Wayne that you hit many nails on the head with your comments. However, I think you were mistaken as why Marty Olsen is persona non grata to the Republicans. It began when Marty was voted in as Mayor. [Disclaimer: As a Green, I am not familiar with the inner workings of the Republicans. As an outsider, I can see that they operate in a top-down manner.] Before I heard that a coalition of 1 Republican, 1 Green and 2 Democrats had formed to elect Marty ceremonial Mayor, we heard that Rob Pero was going to take a second year as ceremonial Mayor. Customarily, the Deputy Mayor & the Mayor swap positions but somewhere within the Republican ranks, Adam was pushed aside. I think that there were a lot of councilors that were weary of Council meetings that ran until 11pm when chaired by Rob & were desperate for change. Thus was the coalition born. Hopefully, if I got this story wrong in whole or in part, we can hear from someone with more "inside" perspective. That said, there are Greens that are supporting Marty. He is certainly on my short list.
Michael Hubbard September 02, 2011 at 08:25 PM
It is my hope that the New London electorate turn out in great force for the primary election in September and again for the election of a strong Mayor in November. I will put any of my disappointments aside if my candidate is not elected as long as the majority speak. Remember to vote, and think about how this city can be improved by whomever is or is not elected in November.
Bob Stuller September 02, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Michael, I'm with you but, frankly, I am not hopeful. The Charter Revision Comm. had specified a majority election but Council saw fit to take that out. Plurality elections with 5 candidates are a crap-shoot. The chances of any candidate getting over 50% of the vote are slim. As soon as we see a candidate win an election with 49% or less of the vote, we should hold a séance to determine what the 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-place candidates' voters would have done in a runoff or a ranked-choice election.
Fr. Russ Carmichael September 02, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Mr. Cormick hipster: I am game-fully employed right here; and last I new I was from here, if that is any of your business... We also employ five New Londoners... Not to bad for a semiretired guy... What do you do?
Amalita Grimes September 03, 2011 at 06:14 AM
thanks for the clarification. I had heard that story of how Marty became the current mayor. ..to add to that i think it was Marty's independence--his ability to think critically and then act on what was truly important without being plugged into 'the matrix' that has been created by two party system that irked the republicans. Good to see some Greens taking a look!
Lori Hopkins Cavanagh September 05, 2011 at 07:36 PM
According to Ronna Stuller, the Green's have chosen to support Finizio in the primary only, at this time.
Fr. Russ Carmichael September 05, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Greens don't vote Democratic party primary?
Ronna Stuller September 08, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Only registered Democrats are permitted to vote in the primary. Voters registered unaffiliated can switch their registration to Dem up to the day before the election and vote in the primary, but any member of a different party (including Green) has a 3-month waiting period.
Fr. Russ Carmichael September 08, 2011 at 08:53 PM
Thank you Ronna...

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