Climate activist launches protest write-in campaign for mayor

by Anastasia Hufham, Yale Daily News

Environmental activist urges New Haven residents to vote for the land in the city’s mayoral race.

Gabriela Campos, a lifelong environmental activist, has joined New Haven’s mayoral race as a write-in candidate, urging residents to vote for “The Land for Mayor” in protest of the city’s response to the Tweed New Haven Airport expansion and other environmental issues.

Campos’ campaign focuses on respect for the environment and New Haven neighborhoods. She proposes “listening circles” in each neighborhood, wherein heads of city departments would meet with community members on a regular basis to hear concerns and confront other issues. Her proposed agenda also emphasizes the need for food forests — similar to robust community gardens — sustainable architecture, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, ranked-choice voting and a coastal-resiliency plan in New Haven.

“I don’t even want people to vote for me, just to vote in protest,” Campos said. “Write in ‘the land.’ If we care for the land, our needs are met. If there are enough of us who vote for the land, they’ll have to listen.”

Campos grew up in Peru, where her environmental activism began. She remembers scolding a boy in her neighborhood for hurting caterpillars and recalls her family’s emphasis on respecting the earth. Her family immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, first to California and then to Connecticut.

Read the rest of the story here Climate Activist Launches Protest Write-In Campaign for Mayor

10,000 Hawks launches to address quality of life issues

by Rachel Heerema

The name 10,000 Hawks honors the numbers of raptors in the annual hawk migration that takes place over Tweed airspace & our East Haven, East Shore, and Fair Haven neighborhoods. 10,000 Hawks addresses quality of life issues, including air quality, noise pollution, traffic calming, walkability, habitat, long-term thinking, and planning for our neighborhood, children, and grandchildren.

The immediate threat is the proposed expansion of Tweed-New Haven Airport with additional runway paving and siting a new terminal in East Haven wetlands. These environmental degradations will have generational impacts.

Our first action is to call for a public meeting to learn the details of this profit-making giveaway of our public lands. Sign the petition and get involved: https://www.change.org/10000-Hawks-deal.

Contact Rachel Heerema for more information, 203-747-8606, rachel@greenrachel.com.

Sinking land could ground Tweed airport expansion plans | New Haven Register

Since 1931, Tweed New Haven Airport has sat on a spit of what was once salt marsh and wetlands straddling the East Haven border. It is wedged between New Haven Harbor where the Quinnipiac River empties, the Farm River mouth separating East Haven and Branford, and Long Island Sound. It is transected by other waterways — Tuttle Brook and Morris Creek.

And it floods.

Recent morning thunderstorms left water rimming the runways and pooling in adjacent residential roads.

It will only get worse.

Source: Sinking land could ground Tweed airport expansion plans – New Haven Register

Tweed New Haven Airport Redux

[Extracts from Yale Daily News article 4/23/19 by Natalie Bussemaker and Siddsrth Shankar]

For years, city and state residents and officials have debated whether or not to expand Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. But despite numerous pleas from local city government, no substantial progress has been made on the issue due to state and local laws that prevent the expansion of the airport’s runway from 5,600 feet.

In January, Mayor Toni Harp unilaterally terminated New Haven’s 2009 Memorandum of Agreement with East Haven, which limited the runway length, arguing that the restriction was illegal. And last month, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee passed a bill that would end the state’s legal restriction on Tweed’s runway length. Still, the bill needs to be approved by the full Connecticut House of Representatives and Connecticut Senate and signed by Gov. Ned Lamont SOM ’80 to become law. According to state Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, the chances that the bill will make it into law this legislative session — which closes in just over a month — are slim….

Looney said a “necessary precursor” for him to support any legislation that would repeal the statute restricting Tweed’s runway length is the development of a “community benefits plan.” According to Looney, the plan would address soundproofing, noise concerns and traffic reconfiguration, as well as mitigate the environmental impact of the changes to Tweed.

“There’s a number of environmental advocates in the neighborhood who are raising issues about what the environmental impact of airport development would be given the predictions of rising sea levels over the next 20 years, concerns about wetlands [and] concerns about flooding,” Looney said. “All of that would have to be addressed in any plan.”

Expansion proponents note that New Haven is one of the most underserved air travel markets in the nation and that a longer runway will open the door to flights to major cities.

Currently, Tweed only offers daily service to Philadelphia and once-a-week service to Charlotte, N.C. According to a Yale press release supporting Tweed’s expansion, expanding the runway would add 1,000 jobs in the region, generate $122 million in revenue and increase the state and local tax base by $4.5 million. According to Kevin Rocco, the chief executive officer of BioRez, Inc. — a medical device start-up in the city — the stalled progress on Tweed enhancements has come at the expense of efficiency and growth for businesses in the region….

“The responsibility is going to be with [Lamont] to help move a plan forward with a commitment of state resources and broad-based inclusion of community input, because the city’s had an opportunity to do so for several years and has not,” Looney said.

[For more about the environmental hazards of Tweed Airport expansion, see our March 2019 issue, par-newhaven.org/2019/02/26/tweed-airport-and-climate-change-the-environment-is-both-local-and-global]