Toni Harp: Remember To...

Nov 6, 2013

New Haven Mayor-elect Toni Harp. Structure by Eric Epstein.
Credit Chion Wolf

The New Haven public had suggestions for Mayor-elect Toni Harp at Artspace New Haven's City-Wide Open Studio event this campaign season. A large blackboard, installed in the exhibition room, advised: "New Mayor: Remember To..."

I'm the trash can bass drummer for a marching band called The Hartford Hot Several, and when we played at the event, Toni Harp and her entourage came by to check out the exhibitions, ranging from paintings installed in PODS (mobile storage containers), to a walk-through sculpture of firewood stacked higher than most people's heads.

Back at the blackboard, people filled in the blanks with comments like:

  • "Lower Taxes!"
  • "Donate Blood"
  • "Owe No Favors"
  • "Forgive"
  • "Stop Kissing Ass"
  • "Pay Your Taxes!"
  • "Walk The Talk"
  • "Provide FREE Parking!"
  • "Dance"
  • "Keep Music In Schools"
  • "Give $ To Artists"
  • "Keep Libraries Open"
  • "Plow ALL The Streets"

As our band put down our instruments and indulged in some grilled cheese sandwiches from a food truck, I noticed that Harp had, at the urging of her handlers, posed in front of this large chalkboard. They snapped a few shots, and I did too, figuring I should hold onto the photo in case she won.

She did win - She's the first new mayor in New Haven in 20 years, and the first female and African-American mayor the city's ever had. What advice from the people she'll take? We'll find out.

What advice do YOU have for Harp? Comment below.