Editor's note: Hamden resident Robert Kissel wrote this letter to Housing Authority of New Haven Executive Director Karen DuBois-Walton, who attended Wednesday's meeting on the Woodin Street fence.
Dear Dr. DuBois-Walton,
I should like to articulate an apology to you, and to the other invitees from the Housing Authority of New Haven, and the City of New Haven, for the discourteous, boisterous and rowdy behavior which was displayed last night by my frightened neighbors.
I am sure that Mayor Jackson also expressed this for the Town itself, and am also quite certain that you understand the underlying fears and anxieties which
are its only excuse, but I felt, this morning, that it still needed to be said by one of the frightened residents of the area closest to the proposed New Haven street connection to Woodin(g) Street in Hamden.
One of the last people to take the floor (if there was any floor-taking at that meeting at all!) chided me for rebuking the crowd for their misbehavior; however, a number of residents, total strangers to me, made a point, after the meeting, of coming up to me to THANK me for expressing, angrily and loudly, the annoyance and chagrin that THEY felt at the rude and uncouth behavior displayed by many attendees. One woman said to me, indignantly, "I was ASHAMED of us."
Although Mayor Jackson chose to take on much of the blame for this, for not organizing the meeting a bit more formally, I cannot allow this. It was a shocking display of bad manners and a revolting lack of restraint and self-control on the part of the attendees that caused the meeting to deteriorate, so early on, into the unpleasant and pointless venting of already-recognized anxieties and fears.
Naturally, the unruly portion of the crowd made those of us who came, not only to EXPRESS but to LISTEN as well, invisible and inaudible, but I am certain that I am speaking, not only for myself but for at least HALF of the attendees in tendering deep regret for this indecorum.
I hope I may rely upon you to convey these sentiments, on my behalf, and on the behalf of my other neighbors who--while we may still resist your building proposals, want you and other visitors to Hamden treated with respect and welcome--to Mayor DeStefano and to the other representatives who came to address us. I hope that, once the injuries we did you and our other guests have healed, you will continue to communicate with us and seek a peaceful resolution of the issues which now seem so insurmountable.
Very truly yours,
Robert S. Kissel