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Sound Bites: Candidate accuses Elicker of campaign violation

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Molly Ingram
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker

Good morning. Democratic New Haven mayoral candidate Shafiq Abdussabur filed a complaint against incumbent Mayor Justin Elicker, claiming he used his city-paid phone number to solicit reelection campaign donations. 

Using city property to raise funds for a reelection campaign violates several state statutes and a New Haven City ordinance. Elicker responded to this complaint, saying the phone line, originally connected to his personal cell phone, was paid for by the city until last January. 

Democrats Tom Goldenberg and Liam Brennan are also running to primary Elicker, alongside independent candidates Mayce Torres and Wendy Hamilton. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

National Grid announced a proposed 16% rate increase on Long Island. Average residential gas bills will increase by $28.52. National Grid said it hopes to increase revenue from Long Island by $228 million and from New York state by $414 million by 2025. The proposal needs approval from the state Department of Public Service to go into effect.

Nearly 50 pets were rescued from a Fairfield home due to poor living conditions. The Fairfield Police Department began investigating the house in April after a dog was found covered in feces and urine near Steep Hill Road. Out of 25 dogs and 22 cats recovered, three animals were brought to a local animal hospital to treat their impoverished conditions.

A settlement will help expand dental coverage to 5 million New Yorkers on Medicaid. In the 2018 case Ciaramella et. al. v. Bassett, Medicaid recipients sued the state Department of Health for denying them dental coverage. New Yorkers will now have easier access to afford crowns, root canals, dentures and routine preventative care.

Connecticut spent a record breaking $2.53 billion on pension payments in 2022, due to a surge in state employee retirements. In 2021, the state spent $2.32 billion on pension payments. Over 45,000 retirees reside in the state and earn $42,000 in pension earnings on average. State Senator Paul Cicarella (R-Wallingford) received the most profit from pension earnings, earning $411,000 in 2022.

Advocates want to improve the safety of Long Island trails, streets and sidewalks. According to Vision Long Island, a regional preservation and quality growth organization, residents are unable to safely walk or bike near Gordon Heights, Deer Park and Hempstead Village due to speeding cars and abandoned or lack of sidewalks and crosswalks. Traffic data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Long Island had the deadliest roads in New York, with nearly 1,000 fatalities from 2016-2020.

More Connecticut students are homeless since the 2020-21 school year, according to data collected by the state Department of Education. The attendance rate of students experiencing homelessness was 80.4% that year; that increased to 84.2% in the 2022-23 school year. Researchers from the Apartment List Research Team suspect the rise of homelessness amongst students is due to rising housing costs.

Lawmakers are reconsidering a bill that would allow the hunting of 50 black bears annually in Litchfield County, following a non-life threatening attack on a 74-year-old woman on April 19. The bill stalled in March but because of increasing human-bear encounters, some legislators are hoping to pass the legislation soon. Over 700 human-bear interactions have been reported to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in 2023 so far.

Construction of a new 928-spot parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center began in April and may impact train operations for commuters. This $81 million project is expected to be complete by the end of summer. Elevator and escalator repairs and the demolition of the existing parking garage are expected to be complete by 2024.

There won’t be enough time to implement early voting in Connecticut this year. Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas told Eyewitness News that despite widespread support for early voting, Connecticut voters will have to wait until the 2024 presidential election to begin early voting. Once it is implemented, residents can vote as early as 14 days ahead of the Monday before Election Day Tuesday.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.