Pubdate: Sun, 21 Oct 2001
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 2001, New Haven Register
Author: Angela Carter


NEW HAVEN - Thomas Fagan, along with three other plaintiffs, was 
unsuccessful in suing the city for moving several bus stops away from the 
Green when the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale opened at Chapel and Temple 

So the Libertarian-leaning Republican has decided to fight his battle from 
within the system.

He's running for Board of Aldermen in the 10th Ward.

"If we can't do it legally, we'll do it politically. Moving those stops was 
wrong," said Fagan, a self-employed researcher and online magazine editor.

Fagan, with two failed General Assembly campaigns in his recent past, is 
vying for a seat also coveted by first-time office seekers Democrat Edward 
Mattison, 60, and Green Party contender Allan Brison, 63.

Mattison, a former deputy corporation counsel in the late Mayor Biagio 
DiLieto's administration, was appointed to finish the term of Robert 
Schmalz who moved to Boston last month.

"I'm for individual responsibility and individual liberty," said Fagan, 51, 
who plans to push for lower taxes and a citywide referendum to gauge 
support for the medicinal use of marijuana, if elected.

"Whether it's tobacco, alcohol or any other drug, if you're a rational, 
competent adult, you have the right to do what you want to your body."

He also pledges to get rid of downtown parking meters.

"We're using the fact that people have cars as direct access to their 
purse. This fascist attitude is just crazy," said Fagan, who ditched his 
car because of insurance rates, two thefts and towings. "I give up," he said.

He wants to make up the lost meter revenue by trimming staff in the city 
Traffic and Parking Department. "We'll get more people coming into the city 
spending money with less municipal employees."

Fagan's platform is far afield from that of Mattison, founder of the 
nonprofit South Central Behavioral Health Network. The agency helps those 
grappling with mental health disorders and substance abuse.

Mattison said he interacted with the Board of Aldermen under DiLieto on 
social welfare issues, as the city's attorney for the welfare and police 

The aldermen finalize the city budget each year and have to approve 
transfers or budget amendments. Mattison wants to play a role in the next 
term in "maintaining services to poor people in a fiscally difficult 

As other lawmakers help him tackle the legislative learning curve, an issue 
that he dealt with in the late 1980s is still on the table.

The board is considering an ordinance amendment that would reserve 
construction-related contracts under $100,000 for small and minority- owned 
firms and waive bonding requirements on work less than $50,000.

"Small businesses don't have bonds. It's a significant cost," he said.

When Mattison was deputy corporation counsel, a legal challenge was 
mounting against a former set aside ordinance, which the court ultimately 
declared unconstitutional.

"I'd like to see us figure out a way to make it clearer," he said of the 
ordinance language now under review.

Mattison said that he would focus on unifying three distinct segments of 
the ward, if he can hold on to the seat Nov. 6.

An isolated pocket known as Cedar Hill is cut off from the rest of the ward 
by Interstate 91.

"Economic development is needed in the Cedar Hill area. I think we're all 
in this together and we've got to make every part of the ward work," 
Mattison said.

Meanwhile, an easy-going Brison who sports a signature ponytail, hopes to 
capitalize on what he describes as "an increased public awareness to 
machine politics and political corruption."

Ralph Nader's unsuccessful yet historic bid for the presidency and Alderman 
John Halle's victory in a 9th Ward special election have given local Greens 
like Brison a supply of momentum.

"I think our organization cuts across class lines. We do have an uphill 
battle," he said, considering there are about six registered Greens in the 
ward, compared to 137 Republicans and 1,270 Democrats.

The stay-at-home dad left his computer programmer-analyst career to home 
school his two daughters. "It makes being a parent more real. It's taught 
me patience, for sure."

The New Jersey native is active with People Against Injustice, a criminal 
justice advocacy group that monitors the courts and campaigns for a 
moratorium on the death penalty.

A former Democrat, Brison jumped to the Green Party nearly a year ago 
feeling that the major parties weren't representing the interests of residents.

To drive his point home, he cites the demise of manufacturing companies, a 
failed Long Wharf mall plan, the proposed re-opening of the English Station 
power plant in Fair Haven and touting New Haven a destination retail center.

"The Malley Co. building was torn down, now it's an empty lot.

That's what these projects leave us with," he said.

As a legislator, Brison said he would oppose pending utility projects that 
would install natural gas and electrical power lines through New Haven 
Harbor and the Sound to Long Island.

But he would support an ordinance amendment introduced by Alderman Matt 
Naclerio, D-17, that would mandate a fee for laying power cables in public 
spaces. Brison also said he would back extending the Farmington Canal 
Greenway into the city.

Both Brison and Fagan favor elected boards of education.

All three candidates agree that the neighborhood must strike a consensus 
over the controversial expansion of Worthington Hooker School.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom