Category Archives: John DeStefano

Hartford, New Haven Among Top Cities for LGBT Equality

by Categorized: Gay Rights, Hartford, John DeStefano, New Haven, Pedro Segarra Date:

Hartford and New Haven were among the top cities for LGBT people to live and work.

That\’s according to a new report by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation\’s largest gay civil rights group.

HRC\’s Municipal Equality Index looked at a number of criteria when determining a city\’s rating. New Haven achieved a perfect 100 percent score, based on its non-discrimination laws, relationship with the LGBT community and the strength of municipal services (it has both a human rights commission and a LGBT liaison in the mayor\’s office.)

Hartford earned a 92 percent score, though the city was awarded seven \”bonus points\” for its openly gay municipal leaders (including Mayor Pedro Segarra) and the services it provides to vulnerable parts of the LGBT community.

Hartford\’s weak point was law-enforcement, according to the survey. The city lost points because the police department does not have an LGBT liaison or task force.

Still, both Hartford and New Haven outpolled the two other Connecticut municipalities on the list: Bridgeport and Storrs (Mansfield.) Bridgeport received a score of 61, and Storrs received a 58.

h/t Meghan Freed and the Connecticut LGBT Law Project

Malloy: Clamp Down On Underage Clubbers

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, John DeStefano Date:

In the wake of deadly shootings in New Haven over the weekend, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says its time for the state to stop underage patrons from going to bars and clubs:

… officials said they will focus their efforts on trying to shut down clubs that allow patrons under the age of 21, citing the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old outside the Hartford nightclub \”Up Or On The Rocks\” in August.

\”These types of clubs are extremely dangerous,\” Malloy said. \”There is no reason to have underage people at these types of clubs.\”

\"DestefanoMayor John DeStefano, meanwhile, had a more far-reaching commentary on violence in the state. The New Haven Register reports:

“It’s curious to me in this state we stand on our high horse and say … ‘After Sandy Hook we should be banning all these assault weapons and such.’ True enough,” DeStefano said. “But it seems to me after these kinds of incidents, you know, look in the mirror in Connecticut and take action to save lives.”


CCM, Mayors Still Concerned About Malloy Budget Impact On Local Property Taxes

by Categorized: 2014 Election, CCM, Democrats, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John DeStefano Date:

Democrat John DeStefano has been preaching about the problems of the property tax for the past 20 years, and he says this year is shaping up as the worst yet.

In two decades as New Haven mayor, DeStefano says he has never seen a state budget that would raise his mill rate more.

As a result, DeStefano traveled to the state Capitol Tuesday to lobby against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal by pleading his case to top legislative leaders who are now reviewing and reshaping Malloy’s fiscal plan. Lawmakers are working behind the scenes on the $21.5 billion budget plan that they hope will be resolved before the legislative session ends on June 5.

Malloy’s much-criticized car tax proposal would cost New Haven $15 million per year, and various other proposed cuts would cause even more problems, DeStefano says.

“We have been talking in this building, as Democrats and Republicans, for 20 years about the problem with the state’s over-dependence on the property tax,’’ DeStefano told reporters at the state Capitol complex. “And here you’ve got a budget that, more than ever, makes the state dependent on the property tax – a regressive tax that takes money from people irrespective of their ability to pay.’’

“Let me be very clear,’’ DeStefano said, mimicking one of Malloy’s favorite phrases. “I’ve never had a budget that increases taxes in New Haven by 4 1/2 mills from the state. That’s true.’’ Continue reading

Big-City Mayors Blast Malloy\’s Budget Proposal On Honesty, Transparency

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Connecticut, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John DeStefano, John McKinney, John Rowland Date:

Big-city mayors blasted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s budget proposal Friday, saying it could lead to increased local property taxes and possible future layoffs of police and firefighters.

The mayors complained that the complicated budget is not transparent – one of the often-repeated hallmarks of the Malloy administration. They also complained that Malloy has proposed shifting so much money to public education that he has cut funding in many other categories that cities and towns use to pay municipal employees who patrol the streets and plow the snow.

Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia said the budget offers proposals that Malloy has historically opposed, including passing costs along to the cash-strapped cities and towns.

\”I honestly believe that if Governor Malloy was still Mayor Malloy of Stamford, he would be standing with us today,\’\’ Moccia told reporters at a news conference Friday. \”We are faced with rising property taxes. We are faced with providing millions of dollars for extra school security, extra police officers. … And yet, as pointed out, we get no assistance and we actually get reduction.\’\’

He added, \”This is not a budget for the cities. This is a budget for the state.\’\’

It was an unusual display at the Capitol as Democratic big-city mayors, including Bridgeport\’s Bill Finch, New Haven\’s John DeStefano, and Waterbury\’s Neil O\’Leary, all stood to say they did not favor the budget proposed by the Democratic governor. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is known for holding press conferences against budget proposals, but that was often Democratic mayors like DeStefano who were criticizing plans by Republican Governors John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell.

Despite working with Malloy as fellow mayors for years, both DeStefano and Finch supported Democrat Ned Lamont against Malloy during the 2010 Democratic primary for governor. 

 DeStefano added, \”This whole budget makes the tax structure more regressive, shrinks the tax-base of the job-producing centers of the state [in the big cities] and makes their financial positions more urgent.\’\’

But Malloy called a press conference Friday afternoon to specifically rebut the mayors\’ claims and complaints. He said the mayors need to make tough budget decisions in the same way that he has at the state level.

\”Change is hard, but we must partner together to set our priorities to find ways to give our middle class a much-deserved break,\’\’ Malloy said of the mayors. \”Listen, I ran a city for 14 years. It\’s not an easy job. I certainly understand it.\’\’ Continue reading

ICYMI: Outgoing DeStefano Trashes Malloy Budget

by Categorized: General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John DeStefano, State budget Date:

This ran in Sunday\’s Courant. Mayor DeStefano appears to be saying publicly what many Democratic municipal leaders feel:


By John DeStefano Jr.

\”Why, sometimes I\’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.\” — Lewis Carroll, \”Alice in Wonderland.\”

So here are the six impossible things to believe about Connecticut\’s proposed state budget.

First, believe that this isn\’t the state balancing its budget by raising city and town property taxes.

Second, believe that eliminating the funding for the payments in lieu of taxes on state property is good for our cities, where most of the state\’s jobs and buildings are located.

Third, believe the shell game of funding in the budget will really support desperately needed school reform in our state.

Fourth, believe that the car tax is going to just — \”poof\” — disappear.

Fifth, believe that someone in state government even thought to talk with your mayor or first selectman about any of this.

And finally, believe that there is a plan here to grow jobs in our dismal Connecticut economic landscape.

As is written in \”Alice in Wonderland,\” \”You would have to be half mad to dream me up.\” Dream on, Nutmeggers.



CCM\’s Jim Finley Says Mayor John DeStefano Turned New Haven Around

by Categorized: CCM, John DeStefano Date:

As a longtime employee of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, Jim Finley has been working in New Haven for the past 34 years.

He has since risen to be the organization\’s CEO, and he remembers the days when stores were closing in the Elm City.

\”In the early 1980s, the downtown was a mess – a lot of empty storefronts,\’\’ Finley recalled this week at The Russian Lady, a downtown nightclub where DeStefano announced to a packed crowd that he was not seeking reelection after 20 years in office. \”He\’s transformed this city. He\’s left a lasting legacy.\’\’

Even before he became mayor, DeStefano learned the ropes in New Haven as a municipal employee.

\”John grew up in city government,\’\’ Finley said. \”He knows city government inside and out, so he brought a combination of talents that you rarely see in a mayor. His institutional memory and knowledge are almost irreplaceable.\’\’ Continue reading

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Stepping Down After 20 Years Running Elm City

by Categorized: General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John DeStefano, State of Connecticut Date:

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, a former gubernatorial candidate and outspoken political survivor with a statewide profile, will not be seeking reelection this year after a 20-year tenure that led to a strong resurgence in the city\’s downtown area.

As mayor of a prominent city for 20 years, DeStefano is currently the best-known local official in Connecticut. He acknowledges that his ability to gain media attention has been helped through the years because the Channel 8 television station is based in the Elm City. In that vein, Channel 8 devoted the first 8 minutes of its newcast Tuesday night to DeStefano\’s retirement, saying it was the end of an era.

DeStefano, 57, has outlived all of his fellow big-city mayors through the years, including many colleagues who ran into criminal trouble like Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, and Waterbury mayors Joseph Santopietro and Phil Giordano. All four of those mayors have been convicted in court, and Perez is currently appealing his five felony convictions.

While DeStefano is a liberal policy wonk who rarely backs away from a challenge, insiders said that he \”saw the handwriting on the wall\’\’ as he faced a potentially difficult primary this year against state Rep. Gary A. Holder-Winfield. The state representative first won a seat in the legislature in 2008 and is expected to announce his candidacy soon. Another challenger, Alderman Justin Elicker of the city\’s East Rock section, has already announced his candidacy.

Some New Haven Democrats sensed a political weakness in DeStefano this year, after two decades, because he won a closer-than-expected reelection two years ago against an underfunded, independent candidate with relatively little name recognition. It was DeStefano\’s closest race since becoming mayor, and some local politicos were surprised it was so tight against a no-name candidate. Continue reading

New Haven Independent: DeStefano Won\’t Run Again

by Categorized: John DeStefano Date:

\"destefanoPaul Bass of the Independent has this scoop:

DeStefano is expected to announce Tuesday afternoon that he will not seek an 11th two-year term. The mayor sent an email to the general public Monday afternoon stating that he and his family will be making an announcement at 5 p.m. at The Russian Lady at 144 Temple St. (the former Playwright), the site of past election victory parties. The intention is to cast Tuesday’s announcement as a celebration, a capstone of a successful political career.

Earlier today DeStefano, after testifying on gun control in Hartford, sent out an email to press and supporters. It stated:

My friend -

Please join me and me and my family for an early \”State of the City\” briefing and reception tomorrow at 5 PM, January 29th at The Russian Lady, 144 Temple Street (formerly The Playwright).

Our college graduation rates are up 10% in the last year.  Promise scholarship students are sticking in college at encouraging rates.  Community policing is driving crime down and there is more to come.

Me, Kathy and our boys look forward to seeing you tomorrow for this very important event.

Very truly yours,