Sunday, March 22, 2015

Toni Harp on Mayor Daniels (Transcript)

John C. Daniels was mayor of New Haven during a particularly turbulent time. His efforts, described by Mayor Harp at Battell Chappel on March, 20th, expressed gratitude towards his pioneering efforts. During his tenure as mayor, John Daniels initiated policies of community policing, which were commended by the Wall Street Journal as recently as about a week ago.

Mayor Harp was an alderwoman in the Dwight-Kensington neighborhood of New Haven while Daniels was mayor. She credits the success of the community policing to Daniels' pioneering attitude towards policy.

Here's what she had to say:

"Good morning everybody. It is nice to see all of you today. I hope tha thou will agree with me, it’s comforting tone together under these circumstances. I’ll confess, I did feel a bit out of sorts all week this week. With Mayor Daniels passing, part of our city’s foundation was shaken. While trying to absorb this loss, it’s clear the bedrock on which we all depend has shifted. So today we’re gathered together for comfort to remember and acknowledge the remarkable life of John Daniels. We’re together to honor his many contributions to this city. The city he loved. And today we’re gathered together this spring; We’ll need to say goodbye and release his spirit to the ages.

Mayor Daniels was the pioneering public servant. I’ve said it before and I’ve heard others say it, pioneers live exciting lives. They seek things before most others do. And for that reason, they see things different than most others do. I think pioneers are adventurers by nature. They explore where others haven’t been, and as a result have experience most others don’t have. All this gives pioneers a perspective most others don’t share: a unique point of view of the world others just don’t see. Pioneers also face challenges and hardships others simply cannot imagine. The road they travel doesn’t just get bumpy; there is no road to begin with. And pioneers often ace these extraordinary challenges alone.

I happen to think many pioneers question their faith with some frequency. HIs vision for New Haven was innovative and bold. And he worked to bring the city into the light of that vision. Community based policing in New Haven is attributable to John Daniels, who had the idea that standards for law enforcement should be set among the residents, and that any police presence should be a reflection and extension of those standards. Mayor Daniels’ idea was that police should work together with communities as a force for good, and not an occupying force.

John Daniels was an outspoken advocate for something that wasn’t very popular at the time: a needle exchange program. When that idea, if you think about it, was new and so controversial in this city, when city residents were sick with HIV and dying of AIDS at an alarming rate. The idea of conceding to individuals' battles to perhaps win an overall war was unique and bold. Intravenous drug users were still using drugs, yes; but with clean needles their risk of deadly infection was dramatically reduced. And I think the advances we made nationally, here in New Haven, was because of John Daniels’ bold vision and his political action to support that."

For the full audio, see below, [link]
Mayor Harp describes the life and accompishments of New Haven's first African American mayor, John C. Daniels, at his service which was held on March 20 at Battell Chapel. She touches on the subject of his work in building better relationships between community and police, as well as how he helped save the lives of victims during the AIDS epidemic which took place during his leadership. She describes him as a pioneer, one who was not afraid to go places where others haven't been. See Nhv.Org main site for a partial transcript.