July 31, 2007
By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer
A group of Hartford City Council candidates has formed a challenge slate to compete with the candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party and backed by Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
The six challengers - Andrea Comer, Eric Crawford, Maria Diaz, David Morin, Paulo "Paul" Mozzicato, and Beatriz Ramon - have filed papers with the city's registrar of voters office and are now gathering signatures to be placed on the ballot for the Sept. 11 Democratic primary. By forming a slate, their names will all appear on the same line on the ballot, underneath the endorsed slate.
"We certainly are a group of folks that, in my mind, stand for wanting reform - wanting change," said Comer, a member of the board of education and a project manager for the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
The city's Democratic town committee at its convention two weeks ago endorsed a council slate of five incumbents and one newcomer. The slate was backed by Perez, who also was endorsed by the party.
The city council has been faulted for what critics describe as an abdication of power to Perez. Those who watch city politics say the challenge slate was born out of frustration with the council.
"If people are looking for reform and a new direction, I think they should look at six people who have really put a lot of time and energy into making this city a better place," said Mozzicato, co-owner of Mozzicato's Bakery on Franklin Avenue and a vocal advocate for small businesses, which have been hit hard with higher tax bills. "The slate is an independent group of people. We all seem to agree that Hartford is moving in the wrong direction, and we think it should be moving in a different direction."
The council slate endorsed by the Democratic town committee consists of incumbents James Boucher, Kenneth Kennedy Jr., Pedro Segarra, Calixto Torres, rJo Winch and newcomer Matt Ritter, the 25-year-old son of former House Speaker Thomas D. Ritter.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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