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03.04.2015
The windows were icing up before the plane even touched ground at JFK and once we landed, it was easy to see that there was some pretty good ground cover on the landing strip [pics here]. The drive from New York to Connecticut had icy roads and poor visibility – thankfully, I made it home safe and sound!
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Delcon Industries is a premier structural restoration, waterproofing, coatings and primary (tank repair) secondary containment system specialist. Delcon has extensive experience with utilities, chemical plants, educational and religious institutions, as well as hospitals and office facilities. I teach Business full time at the Nova Scotia Community College and part time at Dalhousie, Mount St. Although no one social class or interest group was able to dominate the political sector on a variety of issues, Dahl emphasized that there were indeed inequalities in New Haven. The argument about New Haven in the 1950s, a city seen at the time as evidence for the great future made possible by urban renewal, is especially poignant in terms of how things turned out there. The contrast is stark: Charlene Johnson, three months pregnant, emerges from her bivouac, worrying about the winter that lies between her and her due date. In 2005, Yale enjoyed a tax-free endowment of just over $15 billion after a 22.3% return on its investments in 2004. In the face of these meager handouts and the increase in unemployment for low-income people in New Haven's inner city due to the Great Recession, gangs and gun violence also have increased. By late October 2011, the homicide rate was the highest it had been since 1994, with two months remaining in the year.
However, there were some glimmers of renewed hope in 2012: a handful of neighborhood insurgents, backed by the resources of UNITE HERE, a nationwide union, won enough seats on the 30-member Board of Aldermen to become the dominant political force in the city in early 2012.
The huge irony of this expensive highway removal is that the highway was built with state government money at the insistence of the New Haven downtown growth coalition precisely to provide a barricade against low-income neighborhoods such as The Hill and to help clear the way for Yale's medical complex. The battle by New Haven leaders to obtain the state subsidy for the original highway, which was opposed by state highway officials because they knew it was not needed, will receive detailed attention this document. With New Haven's poverty and Yale's dominance as the backdrop, I turn to Dahl's study and its deficiencies, as shown by my later research, which is based on interviews and the mining of archives that Dahl either ignored or did not have access to at the time. Dahl began his study by examining lists of what he called social notables and economic notables, meaning members of the local upper class and the local business community.
The president or chairman of the board of any corporation with property in New Haven assessed in any of the five years 1953-1957 at a value placing it among the fifty highest assessments in the city. Any individual or group of individuals with property in the city assessed in the years 1953-57 at a value of $250,000 or more.
This grab bag of large businesses, small businesses, and individual real estate holders cannot tell us if there is a cohesive downtown business community, as there in fact was at the time.
With his 231 social notables and 238 economic notables in hand, Dahl then compared the two groups and found only 24 people who were in both categories. But there are many methodological flaws in Dahl's quick little study, so his conclusions are inaccurate. A family's class status can be determined most accurately by its club memberships because the private clubs of the area are graded according to the prestige of their members. The selection of these three clubs is supported by the large overlap among them in their membership. Furthermore, the people who attended the debutante ball, thereby satisfying Dahl's sole indicator of upper-class standing, were in good measure members of the three clubs.
Overall, then, I am saying that the social notables in New Haven in the late 1950s were a network of overlapping social circles consisting of roughly 1,350 families, who made up about 0.8% of the population in New Haven County. Once I had a good fix on the social notables, I next developed a network definition of the downtown business community by ferreting out the interlocking directorships among all businesses in New Haven in 1959 with $1 million or more in assets. Amusingly, the First New Haven National Bank was said to be at the heart of the power structure by one of Dahl's informants, Harold Grabino, a graduate of Yale Law School who worked for the Redevelopment Agency. Grabino says that generally in the South Central Project the city will lease the land, not sell it, but in the case of the First New Haven National Bank, the First National Bank said it wanted to own the property in the South Central Project, so it will get it. It's also important that I found Yale to be connected to this network in three ways, something that would not be expected from reading Dahl.
Charles O'Hearn, assistant to the president of Yale, was a vice president of Firestone Tire and Rubber and a partner in the investment firm of Scudder, Stevens, and Clark before joining the university staff. Fred Fairchild, emeritus professor of political economy, is on the boards of United Illuminating, and Connecticut Savings Bank.
Kent Healy, professor of transportation, is on the board of the Connecticut Company, a bus company owned by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, on whose board he formerly sat. The second way Yale is connected to this network is through two of the most prestigious corporate law firms, which Yale used for its legal business. When it comes to Dahl's question about the overlap of social and economic notables, well, the directors of the central firms in this business network were very likely to be members of the local social elite as defined by their membership in one or more of three social clubs. Of the 319 local directors and law partners encompassed by the entire network, 56 percent were in one or more of the three social clubs. Conversely, of the 132 persons meeting none of the upper-class criteria, 42% are treasurers, managers, and vice-presidents who only sit on the board of the company they work for. A similar picture of social and economic elite overlap emerged when I compared Dahl's own list of economic notables with my club membership lists.
Putting aside the fact that Dahl's two lists were ridiculously small and totally inadequate, why didn't they overlap even more with each other and with my lists of social and economic notables?
First, when it comes to the debutante lists, Dahl was wrong to assume that people from 1951 can be compared with economic notables from 1958. There were 14 names on his list who would have been on mine if they had not died or left their directorships between 1958 and 1959.
Eight people on Dahl's list are major executives with businesses whose headquarters are in other cities.
There is another, very delicate, problem with including these minor business figures on a list of economic notables that is to be compared with a list of social notables.
In summary on this issue, Dahl's study of the overlap between local social and economic elites in New Haven had different results from most other studies for several reasons. Although Dahl's research on the overlap of economic and social notables was an inadequate and invalid sociological mishmash, that is not the end of the argument because his overlap study was only a minor part of his overall project. Dahl's big concern in his book, due to his claim that the only serious way to study power is through reconstructing decisions to see who influenced whom, was on three different issues that he picked in a completely arbitrary fashion based on their visibility and apparent importance within the city as a whole. Dahl's conclusion from his investigation of these three issue-areas is that neither type of notable was significantly involved in the decision-making process in New Haven. To reconstruct these decisions is to leave little room for doubt that the Economic Notables, far from being a ruling group, are simply one of the many groups out of which individuals sporadically emerge to influence the policies and acts of city officials. But the research that led to this conclusion isn't any better than his work on the overlap of social and economic elites, as I will now demonstrate.
The area of political nominations was chosen because nominations determine which persons eventually end up in office. But political nominations are not in and of themselves a substantive issue-area in the way that public education and urban renewal are. The nomination process also had a formal bias against participation by economic and social notables. In short, there was no way most of them could be directly involved, but there is evidence that they were indirectly involved through campaign finance and talks with the mayor, and in other ways as well, as I will show with the two substantive issues Dahl studied.
Dahl chose to study the school system in good part because it was the largest item in the city budget, accounting for between a quarter and a third of all city expenditures.
But none of Dahl's findings on education has any theoretical relevance because there is no evidence that these minor issues were of any concern to the New Haven power structure. So, as Dahl also notes, the main concern of the local business leaders vis-à-vis the school system was the control of its expenditures. The third issue studied by Dahl was urban renewal, the federally financed program that made it possible for cities to buy and clear whatever land the city leaders defined as slum land, and then resell it to developers, businesses, and universities. Dahl found that the number of social and economic notables involved in urban renewal was 27 times greater than would be expected by chance, particularly as members of a government committee that was officially said to be an important advisory group for the program.
The lack of involvement in the issue-area of urban renewal is surprising, for it is an area in which all urban theories, including growth-coalition theory, would expect businessmen to be intensely active.
Even the largest and most prestigious institution in the city, Yale University, was found by Dahl to be relatively powerless as compared with the mayor and the city government. Although the university is sometimes regarded by suspicious citizens of New Haven as an obscurely powerful force in local politics, in fact it is in a weak political position.
Based on the results of most studies of urban renewal programs for the years 1950 to 1970, it would seem that Dahl's findings in New Haven represent a unique case. It sounds crude, I know, and many readers will gasp, but I think Mayor Lee was carrying water for the growth coalition and Yale University in terms of the substance of the program.
Why was the New Haven program the largest in the nation by 1972 in its per capita grants, receiving $1,018 for each of its citizens while its nearest competitors, Newark and Boston, were averaging only $453 and $409 per person, respectively? For Dahl, the answer to all three questions is to be found in the special skills of Mayor Lee and his aides. In contrast to this typical pluralist interpretation, which puts its emphasis on the actions and abilities of individuals operating in the political arena on a decision-by-decision basis, my restudy of the program suggests very different answers to all three questions.
First, the downtown business community and Yale backed the program earlier and more intensely than anyone else. Second, the program moved into full gear when it did because of legislative, legal, and administrative decisions at the national and state levels. Third, the large amount of money that New Haven attracted was due almost entirely to Yale University, which supplied needed expertise and major financial backing in a variety of ways, including its purchase of a local high school so the land could be used for a new undergraduate college. Although Dahl is quite wrong about the eagerness of the business community, and the reasons for the program's emergence in 1954-1955, and the reasons for its large per-capita size, he is completely right that Mayor Lee and his aides played a very important role in carrying out the program. By the time Dahl began his study in 1957, the program was almost completely in the hands of the Democratic mayor and his appointees, who of course gave little credit to the work that had been done by business leaders and Republicans a few years before. The New Haven case therefore suggests that a well-organized and highly skilled government administration may be the necessary final ingredient for obtaining outside monies in some cases.
New Haven, situated on the coastal road between New York and Boston, was founded in 1637 as the center of a little theocratic Puritan colony that reluctantly became part of Connecticut in 1665. However, that gets far ahead of the story because Yale did not become a significant economic factor and negative force in New Haven until the 1930s.
Tax exemptions are so taken for granted for private universities that they are not usually recognized for what they are — a state subsidy to the university and its students. But all that was in the distant future as New Haven became a port city and then a strong industrial city known for its coaches, carriages, watches, and tools, and later its firearms. New Haven was still prosperous in 1899 when city officials had the temerity to put land used for dorms and cafeterias on the tax assessor's list, but Yale refused to pay and then won its case before the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors.
However, there really wasn't that much money at stake when the argument was first joined because Yale only encompassed two or three city blocks.
At the same time that Yale was growing, and taking land off the tax rolls, the city of New Haven was declining for quite separate reasons. Faced with the Great Depression at the same time as it was losing industry and middle-class citizens, New Haven had a budget crisis in 1932. The past and future of New Haven were spelled out in 1937 in a prescient book called New Haven's Problems: Whither the City?
The 40-year comparison for the years 1936 and 1897 confirms the belief that this city is actually undergoing radical transformation in many respects. It is open to debate whether all the rights granted by the town in 1792 to a feeble college with two professors, and two acres of land, or later in the 1830s when it owned eight acres, apply with equal force to the elaborate services afforded by a modern city with the grantee become an elaborate group of institutions, national in their affiliations and services, richly housed and endowed and owning more than 800 acres of a little city's best land. As a responsible corporate citizen, Yale should understand, as Harvard does, that paying living wages and adequate pensions, curbing its physical expansion, and making contributions to municipal revenues commensurate to the demands made on them by nontaxpaying students, faculty and staff, is far less costly than the ill will its current policies engender.
In a more complete and detailed indictment of Yale's role in New Haven in the twentieth century, Hall (2002) points out that Harvard has been making payments to Cambridge, Massachusetts since 1929, making that city far more livable.
For even more on Yale and its difficult relationship with New Haven, see "Poison Ivy" (Bowie, 2009), which examines Yale's own view of its civic obligations. For ongoing information about Yale's financial operations and how it treats its employees and the people of New Haven, see The Yale Insider, which is produced by the labor unions at Yale. By the early 1940s, it was clear to the city planners that Yale, for all its unwillingness to pay the equivalent of municipal taxes, had to be a primary engine for any future growth that might occur. Even before Yale began to grow again in the 1950s, however, the downtown business community had a very great interest in the urban renewal plans and programs that were being developed at the national level.
Every one of the studies done by the city, the local Chamber of Commerce, and Yale planners in the early 1940s started with the same kind of analysis made by Arnold Dana in his 1937 book, then added four specific points.
This recommendation was made even more explicit in a 1944 report on housing by a leader within the New Haven growth coalition, Douglas Orr, a prominent architect. Ten years after Orr delivered his report, his recommendations were carried out exactly in the first urban renewal project, as I will show in a later section on the 1950s. While expense was certainly a major consideration, and could only be solved for New Haven and most other cities by the infusion of federal government money, the lack of a political strategy and the absence of willing public officials were not major problems at all.
Once the harbor was deepened and the new land was available, chamber committees devoted much of their attention to the exact location of the turnpike and to ensuring that the state would make adjacent lands available for parks, industrial development, and the new food market. While the chamber chipped away in the late 1940s on issues of immediate concern to the downtown growth elites, Yale turned its attention once again to its own growth, coming to conclusions that dovetailed perfectly with the earlier recommendations by Rotival and Orr. Because of the shortage of all kinds of housing in the community, the students at the university's professional schools have to put up with some demoralizing makeshifts. Yale's formal acknowledgement that it would need more housing for its students became a context for future planning. However, the interest Yale showed in the housing project did not lead immediately to a high-level administrative committee within the university. The role that Tyler played in the urban renewal program throughout the 1950s makes it very important to establish his central place in the New Haven power structure in detail because he provided Yale with a personal tie to the Redevelopment Agency and to the very heart of the downtown growth coalition.
In addition, Tyler was a member of the Lawn and Graduate Clubs, and was a guest at the cotillion ball in 1958-59, so he fits Dahl's definition of a "social notable." He also was the chairman of the Regional Planning Commission of South Central Connecticut, an organization formed in 1948 at the urging of the Chamber of Commerce to coordinate planning with the smaller cities around New Haven.
Tyler did his work on the housing issue through a committee of the Alumni Council called the Committee on Graduate and Professional Schools. A subcommittee on housing has been exploring the possibility of having the University act as the developer of the area which will be released by the City of New Haven when it extends College Street from George Street to Congress Avenue.
The importance of Tyler's friendship with Griswold and his October, 1953, report to Yale's space committee becomes even more apparent when it is added that he and his law firm became counsel to the city on redevelopment matters in 1954 and that he was appointed to the Citizen's Action Commission that oversaw the program. Two major points contradictory to Dahl's history of New Haven urban renewal are established by this sequence of events between October, 1951, and October, 1953. Yale's importance to the program was increased even more in 1952, with the election of Bush to the U.S. Bush's claim that he did everything he could for urban renewal in all of Connecticut receives empirical support from the calculations I did on per capita commitments by state based on data through 1972.
Despite the interest in urban renewal on the part of Yale and the downtown business community, the program nonetheless moved along very slowly in the early 1950s.
Before considering these problems further, however, it is necessary to take a closer look at Yale employee Richard C.


As arguments over urban renewal at both the local and national levels were heating up, the time for the biennial mayor's election was coming around. At the airport, there were signs saying that the airtran was not running and so buses would be provided to take passengers to Federal Circle, where shuttles were running to the car rental lots. It refuted Hunter's (1953) claim that a relative handful of business leaders dominated Atlanta, and even more importantly, it "offered analogies with national politics that few other cities could provide" because of its "highly competitive two-party system" (Dahl, 1961, pp.
The downtown business community could often block proposals it disliked which directly affected its economic interests, but it seldom took an initiatory role. However, they were "dispersed inequalities," meaning that no one group had all of the different types of resources, such as social standing, legitimacy, wealth, knowledge, and public office, that could be utilized to exercise power.
And all around are Yale's stone walls, elegant colonial churches and smart people walking past boutiques and coffee shops, carrying their course books. Although few Yalies can bring themselves to believe it, Yale contributes significantly to the basic problems caused by deindustrialization. The 29th murder of the year occurred a block from the university's main science complex, in what was considered one of the safest neighborhoods in the city (whose residents include the president of the university). Within a week, the chief of police had resigned, and neighborhood policing had been restored. In one sense, the pressure to remove the highway suggests that things have come full circle, except that this time it is being done in the name of helping neighborhoods — even though it will mostly benefit big real estate interests. Thanks to Dahl's professional decency and courtesy, I also had access to transcripts of the interviews he and his assistants conducted in the late 1950s. This overlap is much smaller than what has been found in studies of larger cities (Domhoff, 1970; Domhoff, 1983). My own analysis of the social upper class and the local business community provides a very different picture, one that is consistent with research studies of other cities. Conversely, a man, woman, or a nuclear family is ranked by those conversant with the elite's system of values in terms of the clubs to which one belongs. The Lawn Club, with about 500 local members, and the Graduate Club, with a little over 400 local members, have 113 members in common.
Of the 198 couples or individuals who attended the ball in 1958 and 1959, the years for which I was able to obtain attendance lists, 70 percent were in at least one of the three clubs and 29 percent were in two or more.
I also looked at the local corporate law firms to see if they interlocked with the banks and corporations, as I expected they would based on my past studies. According to Grabino, nothing gets done without the First New Haven National Bank saying so.
First, 11 of its trustees, officers and professors were directors of local businesses, providing Yale with 15 connections to 13 companies. Jones and Company, a producer of coal, coke, and petroleum products, as well as corporations outside of New Haven. Robinson, Jr., a Yale trustee and a Hartford lawyer, is a director of Southern New England Telephone, as well as a director of several companies in Hartford. Isleib, an investment officer in the treasurer's office, is a director of Connecticut Savings Bank and C.S. Dudley, emeritus dean of the engineering school, is on the board of the National Savings Bank. Westerfield, emeritus professor of political economy, is chairman of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association and a director of Tradesmen's National Bank. Pfisterer, professor of architectural engineering, is on the board of the New Haven Trap Rock Company. Third, Yale is connected to the rest of the business network through the fact that most of the partners in the five main law firms were graduates of Yale Law School; many of these people could be called on for information or to carry messages. This point is made most simply by a look at the board of the First New Haven National Bank; 24 of its 25 members were in at least one of the three social clubs. Those individuals with two or more directorships were even more likely to be in the social elite. They are executives who are part of the local business establishment, but they are not members of the upper class as I have defined it. They appeared on his list because their companies had real estate holdings, factories, or retail outlets in New Haven. They appear because Dahl chose to include all bank directors, even though he did not choose to include all directors of industrial corporations. Their holdings are relatively small in relation to those of the major institutions in New Haven. I have to make the point very carefully because Dahl misused it to try to discredit my study. First, he had a narrow definition of the local upper class that may have included out-of-towners and deceased people, making his list far smaller than it was to begin with.
His meager overlap findings were sometimes cited uncritically by gleeful pluralists, but not very often. He did not bother to ask either local business elites or knowledgeable observers of the city for their opinions, as Hunter (1953) and others did (Bonjean & Grimes, 1974, for a summary). Almost anything one might say about the influence of the Economic Notables could be said with equal justice about a half dozen other groups in the New Haven community. Dahl found that leaders within the two parties determine mayoral candidates without the help of either social or economic notables. They are a procedural device to determine which particular individuals will hold specific positions, which is not the same as a conflict over which policies will be carried out.
It was a rule of both parties that leaders had to live in the city, but most notables lived in the suburbs and were not eligible for party office. Moreover, he argues that the schools play a large role in the lives of most citizens at one time or another. In fact, most of the economic and social notables lived in the suburbs, where they had access to better school systems. Unlike most cities in most states, school finances in New Haven were controlled by a Board of Finance appointed by none other than the mayor.
Dahl says he chose this issue because of the great amount of money involved and the potential interest of the program to the business community, but it was also the case that the issue was receiving a large amount of newspaper and magazine coverage at the time Dahl was framing his study.
However, according to Dahl, New Haven's very large urban renewal program was made possible by the efforts of Mayor Lee, who took office in 1954 when the program was at a standstill. Yale was the largest landowner in the city, had one of the two or three largest payrolls in the community, and provided a significant portion of the consumer spending in the downtown area through both employees and well-to-do students.
Like academic people everywhere, Yale faculty members are politically heterogeneous and jealous of their individual autonomy; they can be counted on to raise a cry for academic freedom at the first suggestion from an incautious university administration that they are expected to have a single political line on anything. They organized an urban renewal coalition in New Haven when they came into office in 1954 and they convinced the federal bureaucracy in Washington to give them more money than any other city because they were very good at what they did.
Dahl didn't understand this fact for three reasons: he didn't have access to written records, he didn't interview widely enough, and he accepted the claims made to him in interviews with Mayor Lee and his aides.
The program did not advance in New Haven or anywhere else until the federal urban renewal law was changed by Republicans in 1954, and it could not go forward in New Haven until (1) the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors ruled on the constitutionality of urban renewal and (2) the state highway commission finally agreed to pay for the unjustifiable highway that New Haven was demanding without being willing to pay any of the cost. Most of all, Yale provided a crucial link to the key money-dispensing agency in Washington through one of its trustees, Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut, who was a member of the urban renewal committee in the Senate (and yes, the father of one future president, George H.
Not only did they craft a wily political and fiscal strategy that worked very well until the mid-1960s, but they played a brokering role within the growth coalition as well. In the 1960s, the program was to move even further from the business community, becoming for a short time the province of a strong and relatively well insulated Redevelopment Agency. In 1716 it attracted a tiny college established elsewhere in 1701 that came to be know as Yale University, which from the start was seen as an antidote to the liberal nonsense happening at Harvard (founding date, 1636). Still, some of the city's later problems were set in motion on that date in 1716 because Yale, like other private American institutions of higher education, was granted an exemption from property taxes.
When city leaders made similar noises about 10 years later, noting Yale had the benefit of many city services, the No. But its gradual growth early in the 20th century, and its growth spurt in the 1920s, raised its total exempt acreage to 175 in 1936, which represented one-third of the total exempt land in the city. It had been by-passed as a port city when the railroads became ascendant in the second half of the 19th century, and it slowly lost its industrial base in the 20th. The banks would not lend the city any more money and the Board of Alderman had to raise the tax rate.
Half a century ago, as already noted, there was here an exceptionally flourishing manufacturing and commercial shipping town, with Yale College highly important but not the greatest of the city's establishments. The issue was not raised again until 1969, when Mayor's Lee's successor asked Yale for money yet again.
It was Yale's construction plans, Yale's yearly budget and payroll, and the consumer spending by Yale students that would underpin the economy henceforth. I base this claim on local archival records and my interviews with many of the participants in the urban renewal program between 1940 and 1957. First, it would be necessary to provide better highways so that suburban shoppers could come to the downtown business district.
Orr numbered Yale, its medical school, the hospital, and the telephone company among his clients.
However, Dahl considers such planning just so much hot air because nothing happened until 1954, when Lee became mayor. Those issues were not even addressed by New Haven leaders before 1953 because they could not develop their plans further until decisions had been made, first, at the national level about deepening the harbor and, second, at the state level concerning the exact location of the new shoreline Connecticut Turnpike (Route 1 at the time, now I-95). This deepening also yielded a by-product of great subsequent value — 195 acres of new land along the western side of New Haven harbor east of the railroad station.
These preliminary problems to further renewal and redevelopment were not finally resolved until the 1950s.
When the long-argued Housing Act finally made it through Congress in 1949, with its provision for urban renewal, the New Haven Chamber of Commerce was one of the first organizations in the city to argue for the creation of a Redevelopment Agency, just as the national-level Urban Land Institute had suggested cities do in order to compete with and by-pass local housing agencies. The process began in 1947 when the trustees ("the Yale Corporation") appointed a top-level committee to explore the university's future needs. It called for a 10-year growth program that would require $80 million in gifts ($645 million in 2005 dollars), including $20 million for new buildings. This is particularly true of medical students, often housed far from the hospital where they might have night duty. When planner Maurice Rotival returned to New Haven in 1951 at the request of the Redevelopment Agency to update his earlier plans, he again proposed that the Oak Street area between the hospital and Yale be considered for the first project. I think it contradicts his claim that Yale had little interest or involvement in the local urban renewal program. Instead, the president appointed a New Haven corporate lawyer, Morris Tyler, who had graduated from Yale and Yale Law School, to serve as a liaison between the Redevelopment Agency and the university. First, he was one of four senior partners in Gumbert, Corbin, Tyler, and Cooper, the only law firm among the 10 most central firms in the downtown business network that I outlined earlier. After two meetings with the Urban Redevelopment Unit of New Haven the proposition looks promising. First, the contact between Yale and the city preceded the election of Lee as mayor by two years, contrary to almost all accounts of New Haven's urban renewal history, including Dahl's. Instead, the opportunity went to a local member of the growth coalition and his friends outside the city, who did an end run around Yale by complaining to regional urban renewal administrators that the bidding was rigged, a tactic that deeply embarrassed and angered Yale officials. First, there was a Republican in the White House for the first time since 1932, which meant that the top appointees to the Housing and Home Finance Agency were Republicans. Accepting what he was told by Lee, Logue, and their assistants, whom he interviewed in 1957, well after the events of 1953 to 1956 were shrouded in the fog of memory and mythmaking, Dahl first blames these delays on the Republican mayor, William Celantano. This was the election won by Lee, who then remained as mayor until 1969, finally retiring reluctantly in the midst of the many problems that befell the city and his programs. A bus ride and shuttle trip later, I walked into enterprise to get my car and I realized that I was still carrying my winter coat! Our workers are highly qualified and we excel at the more difficult jobs that others shy away from. Moreover, it was relatively "easy" to "penetrate" the "political stratum," defined as the small number of citizens who are highly active in politics (Dahl, 1961, pp. Yale and its faculty members are islands of increasing privilege and isolation in a sea of misery. And it blows round the spires and quadrangles of Yale University, one of America's richest Ivy League colleges. It started taking a large amount of prime downtown land off the tax roles in the 1920s and 1930s while refusing to give any compensation, just at the time when New Haven was starting to decline as a manufacturing center. The number of murders fell from 34 in 2011 to 17 in 2012, and Yale agreed to provide most of the funds for New Haven Works, a city program that trains local residents for entry-level jobs that have been set aside at Yale, the utility company, and other firms.
The whole episode highlights once again that New Haven is one of many failing cities whose neighborhoods were destroyed over a 50- to 60-year period by greedy elites intent on preserving their land values through the use of city, state, and federal subsidies to build convention centers and other venues that end up losing money (Sanders, 2014). In the context of my archival discoveries on the role of a Yale University trustee in lobbying the federal government for urban renewal funds, not to mention the evidence for the Chamber of Commerce's total support for the local program, Dahl's own interviews end up as some of the best evidence against his argument. The social notables were 231 families that had attended the local debutante ball at the New Haven Lawn Club in either 1951,1958, or 1959. He concludes that the most important businesspeople in New Haven are not part of the local social elite.
Memberships in appropriate clubs are evidence of validated status and they symbolize for the initiated "who one is." (Hollingshead & Redlich, 1958, p.
The country club, with some 650 local members, had 76 overlaps with the Lawn Club, and 56 with the Graduate Club. According to him, it is "at the top of the power structure." The First New Haven National Bank's building is in the area which will be covered by the South Central Project.
Seven of the connections are with five of the most central organizations, making Yale very close to the center of the overall network.
Thirteen of the 25 were in two of the three clubs, and two board members were among the seven economic notables who were in all three clubs.
Of the 91 New Haven residents on two or more boards, 80% were in at least one of the clubs, and 40% were in two.
There are also small companies at the periphery of the network whose directors do not have upper-class standing.
Of the 139 local businesspeople who were both on his list and in my business network, 70 percent were in one of the clubs. While it might be possible to argue that these people have power in New Haven through their local managers, I do not think they belong on a list of local economic notables that is being compared with a list of local social notables. Dahl biased his list with bank directors without providing any rationale for this decision, and the result is a list of economic notables which included small bankers with no connections to the dominant economic institutions or the exclusive social clubs. It begins with the fact that the social notables of that day were anti-Semitic (and more generally, anti-ethnic) WASPs. He said that I, not the New Haven social notables, excluded Jews and Italians (Dahl, 1979).
Second, his arbitrary definition of economic notables insured that he had many minor property owners who were not part of the actual business community.
The main focus of his book was on the degree to which people in either of his two categories involved themselves in one or more of three different "issue-areas" that are discussed in the next section.


Most importantly, he says that elected and appointed government officials, and especially the mayor at the time, Richard C. To make nominations relevant, it therefore would have to be demonstrated that nominations affect policy outcomes and that they are relevant to the local business community. Isolating eight different decisions that occurred between 1953 and 1959, including an eye-testing program, a program to deal with juvenile delinquency, new procedures for teacher promotions, and proposals to increase appropriations for school libraries, he found that in all but a few instances the successful participants in these decisions were officially and publicly involved in the school system (Dahl, 1961, p.
This meant that the business elites could control the school system if they were appointed to the Board of Finance, and of course they were so appointed. In fact, by the time Dahl did his study New Haven was considered to be the ideal example of what is possible through urban renewal.
Many of the local business leaders, and almost all the partners in leading law firms, were graduates of Yale, and the mayor had been the university's public relations man for the previous ten years (of which more later). Certainly no administration in recent years has even hinted at the existence of a Yale party line. In fact, it is all wrong except for one point: Mayor Lee did have to sell the program to small businesspeople and voters. 12) rightly says, showing the balance and reasonableness that makes his views the left wing of the possible in the academic community, the mayor received what he desired: publicity and the hope for higher office.
When difficulties with specific projects developed, serious weaknesses in the local business community were exposed.
In the relationship between local power structures and city administrations, it is more likely that the power structures can find and support those with political skills than that politicians can create power structures to support them.
In other words, it was uptight, starchy, moralistic, and conservative from the start, and did not change much until the 1960s, under the administration of Kingman Brewster, a moderate Republican who guided the university through some very perilous times, without any thanks, of course, from most Yale grads, known to the in-group as Old Blues. This may be a sensible strategy if the subsidized students are local children and develop ideas and skills at the university that later benefit the community. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mirroring other urban areas, there was a small move toward the suburbs by the rich, but by and large the rich and the poor lived in reasonable proximity to each other and their work, and the 100+ members of the Yale faculty lived within a few blocks of the university (Rae, 2003). 2 man in the Yale administration, Secretary Anson Phelps Stokes, wrote a spirited defense modestly entitled "What Yale Does For New Haven." In addition to noting the high culture and consumer spending Yale provided, Stokes also said that Yale saved the city money by educating local boys that otherwise would have to attend state-supported schools. This was particularly the case with its once-illustrious carriage manufacturers, destroyed by the automobile.
Today New Haven is rapidly becoming an institutional, professional, technical, and garment-making center with shipping an almost negligible issue and manufacturing interests slowly decreasing in importance as a source of income to the city. Yale responded by helping convince the state legislature to provide money to cities with universities in them. Yale's ability to attract government research institutes, medical facilities, and similar organizations would be critical.
The officers and directors from many of the most central organizations in the business network played prominent roles. Second, the remaining industry should be moved to cheaper land on the outskirts of the city.
The location of the turnpike had crucial consequences for future New Haven development in terms of how traffic would be routed into the downtown area.
At that point, the food market's land near the Oak Street area was finally free to be redeveloped. The committee was headed by Prescott Bush, at the time a partner in the important Wall Street investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman, and a trustee of the Yale Corporation. Other housing is also needed for student nurses, married divinity students and their families, and members of the student bodies of the Schools of Fine Arts and Music. He further suggested a mixture of institutional uses and high-rise apartments for students. The area in question is ideally located being a twelve-acre plot bounded on the north by George Street, south by Oak Street.
Second, Yale was connected to the downtown redevelopment efforts at its highest levels by Tyler, the absence of interest in New Haven on the part of Dahl and most Yale faculty notwithstanding.
This is the kind of issue internal to the power structure that did cause tensions and delays, and did require all the patience and diplomacy that Lee and his aides could muster, but it is hardly the big theoretical deal that Dahl makes of it. Upon arrival in Washington, Bush was appointed to the Banking and Currency Committee, which was chaired by his good friend and fellow Yale trustee, Ohio Senator Robert H.
Even without New Haven included in its total, Connecticut was second at $132 per person, surpassed only by sparsely populated Alaska's $166, and still well ahead of such nearby and similar states as Massachusetts ($110), Pennsylvania ($95), New Jersey ($72), and New York ($70). Second, the Republicans also held control of both houses of Congress in 1953-54, which meant that the bureaucracy was likely to be very responsive to requests from a Republican Senator on a committee that had so much influence on the fate of the agency.
However, as shown in the "Power at the Local Level" article on this Web site, the major problem was the lack of money at the national level due to the resistance to the program by leaders within the real estate lobby.
So it is important to look at Lee and his career, including his close association with the business community and Yale.
Located 80 miles east of New York City and 47 miles south of Hartford, the city is best known as the home of Yale University. It was the mayor and his aides who initiated new programs, then sold their programs to the business community, Yale, and the general populace. In addition, it always has paid dirt-cheap wages to its thousands of staff employees, leading to strikes and tensions in the last few decades.
But this meager list hardly gives us an accurate picture of the local upper class, as shown shortly.
It included 54 of the 60 million-dollar firms and all five law firms with four or more partners. I asked him why the First National was at the top of the power structure and he suggested it was perhaps because of its control of investment money for redevelopment. For example, the Secretary of Yale, Ruben Holden, second only to the president in power on the campus, was a director of the Connecticut Savings Bank.
So, even his poorly constructed list of economic notables has a large overlap with the social elite when an adequate operational definition of the upper class is used. Third, a list of social notables that has a large number of Yale personnel cannot possibly have major overlaps with a list of full-time economic notables. Second, he had evidence that the committee on which many of them served was a passive body that did the mayor's bidding; it was primarily a rubber-stamp committee with a symbolic function. But Yale was seen by Dahl as separate from the local business community and at the mercy of the mayor's wishes.
After all, he was taking land from the small businesses and pushing many ordinary people out of their housing, all the while minimizing the tax bill that eventually came due in the 1960s, when his gamble for a revived downtown failed to pay off.
And the young professionals on his urban renewal staff had a chance to utilize their skills, and the Democratic Party could hand out patronage plums to local supporters. Its leaders were unable to bring land owners and shop keepers together in such a way that they could keep a few dissidents, often smaller businesspeople the bigwigs had treated shabbily, from hampering the work of the outside developers.
In fact, as will be shown, members of the Yale community, including the future dean of the law school, were important backers of Lee's successful run for mayor in November, 1953. However, to the degree that the students are either upper class or from other parts of the nation, then the local taxpayers are subsidizing the already rich and people from other locales. This argument overlooked the declining number of local boys at Yale as well as the fact that the state taxpayers, not just those in New Haven, would pay if these boys went instead to state-supported schools. To make matters worse, the middle classes, aided by the automobile, were moving to the suburbs and the surrounding countryside, which meant that many downtown retail businesses were losing customers to suburban shopping centers. During the 1930s it accounted for 51% of all local construction, with no other organization or sector accounting for more than a few percent.
Not only was he a Yale graduate, he came from an unbroken line of Yale graduates who dated back to 1727, and his father had been a Yale professor.
Quite contrary to Dahl's claims about the lack of interest and energy on the part of business leaders, the records of the Chamber of Commerce, the City Plan Commission, and the Redevelopment Agency show that business leaders had a long-standing interest in urban renewal and had been developing plans for it since the early 1940s (Domhoff, 1978, pp.
Its location also would determine where the large food market would be relocated, a relocation that had to occur before the Southwest Area of which it and Oak Street were a part could be redeveloped.
He thinks the Redevelopment Agency was a Democratic initiative by Lee and his colleagues to put the Republicans on the defensive. Although most of the projected buildings were to be placed within the existing framework of the campus or on available adjacent land, that would still stimulate the construction business and help the building trades. Representatives of the Redevelopment Agency then met with top Yale officials in October, 1951, and a process of cooperation was set into motion. As he told me when I interviewed him, he and Griswold had been very close friends since college. The fact is that no federally funded programs got off the drawing boards until the program was changed by the Republicans in 1954 to meet the growth coalitions' demands (see also Domhoff, 1978, pp. The book won a prize as the best book in political science for the year it was published and was one of the most widely cited books in the social sciences for the next 20 years. Politicians were therefore alert to "citizen desires" and would try to be responsive if they could see an "electoral payoff" (Dahl, 1961, p. The idea that these clubs are good indicators of upper-class standing is also supported by the fact that some of their members, including many out-of-town members, are also members of exclusive clubs in larger cities, which my earlier studies showed to be institutions of the national upper class (Domhoff, 1970, Chapter 1; Domhoff, 1975). The 10 most interconnected firms were all financial institutions and public utilities, with the exception of one law firm.
The assistant to the president of Yale, Charles O'Hearn, was on the board of the First New Haven National Bank, which of course links Yale directly to the heart of the New Haven business community. Third, I found that almost one-third of the people on the 1958 and 1959 guest lists were Yale administrators or professors.
Therefore, because many of the small bankers and small real estate owners were of Jewish or Italian heritage, they could not possibly overlap with a debutante list of WASP exclusionary anti-Semites. As I learned to my amazement from this and many other kinds of distortions, it is not always pleasant to disagree with pluralists, even when they are generally decent people like Dahl. Fourth, because of the religious or ethnic backgrounds of many of the small-business economic notables, there was no way they could appear on a list of social notables due to the ugly exclusionary practices of WASPs up until the 1960s and 1970s, when they slowly began to open up their social clubs to successful businesspeople they had previously considered their ethnic inferiors (Baltzell, 1964; Zweigenhaft & Domhoff, 1982). Mayor Lee and his appointees on the Board of Education were the most important of these officials. But contrary to Stone's emphasis, by far the biggest end result was that Yale and the business community received land and poor people were moved out of their neighborhoods. Most of the top business leaders ended up sitting on the sidelines while Mayor Lee and his aides, along with Senator Bush, did the essential coordinating work with the federal government. The money the state legislature gave to New Haven helped the city, yes, but it also served as a continuing subsidy for Yale. Now under the market bill just passed by the Legislature, the city for $70,000 will acquire from the State Highway Department, for purposes of development, all of the harbor fill land not needed.
Moreover, Yale expressed a desire for off-campus housing for students in the medical and other professional schools, which as I've already stated, were near the Oak Street area.
The fact that Yale expressed interest in the proposal at this meeting was absolutely essential from the point of view of the city because local urban renewal agencies could not make applications to the federal government for assistance unless they could show there was some private institution willing and able to purchase the reclaimed land.
The committee had oversight responsibilities on the urban renewal program, and Bush immediately began to take an interest in the program. Unless Mayor Lee had some kind of contagion effect, this fact argues more in favor of some statewide influence on urban renewal in Connecticut cities than it does for the extraordinary powers of one local mayor.
In addition, many of Yale's black staff reside in the same neighborhoods in which a high percentage of the murders occurred; one dining hall employee told a reporter that he knew a majority of the 25 young men who had been killed by late summer. The largest bank in the city, the First New Haven National Bank, with half of all commercial bank assets, had 26 connections with seven of the other nine central firms and 52 connections to 28 organizations overall through its 25-person board of directors. The full picture of the interlocks between Yale and the downtown business community is presented in Table 1. These Yalies may well be part of the social elite, but they cannot be reasonably expected to be present in large numbers on a list of economic notables. It recommended a tax rate that the elected Board of Aldermen (a gaggle of 33 members from the far-flung city wards) could raise, but not lower, and it prepared budget estimates for departments that the aldermen could cut, but not increase.
Finally, although the university is one of the biggest property owners in New Haven, it also happens to be far and away the largest owner of tax-free property; hence Yale officials are highly sensitive to community hostility and fearful of any action that might embroil the university in local controversy. If the poor people were African-Americans, they were jammed into public housing and other ghettoized housing besides.
The local citizens suffer so that Yale students from all over the world, many of them very well to do, can pay lower tuition.
In 1937 the mayor asked the university to put vacant land back on the tax rolls and promise not to take any further property for 10 years.. University officials still could not conceive of the possibility that municipal services, just like electricity and janitorial services, are a cost of running a university. One of his banking partners was a trustee before him, and his brother-in-law was to be a fellow trustee in the 1950s.
Another was on the board of the third-largest commercial bank, the second-largest savings bank, and two other local corporations. He was one of the sponsors on the 1954 legislation that made the program more attractive to real estate interests, and he brought representatives of the Housing and Home Finance Agency to Connecticut to explain the revisions in the law to the state's mayors shortly after they were passed. The result of dispersed inequalities, the permeability of the political stratum, and political competition was a pluralistic distribution of power — not a ruling class, dominant class, or power elite. In short, the debutante lists that serve as the sole indicator of upper class standing in New Haven are even shorter than they first appear when it comes to a serious comparison with economic notables.
In this case, Dahl relied on a draft rebuttal by his former student and hatchet man, Nelson Polsby, who later altered what he wrote on the basis of my critique of it (Polsby, 1980). This outcome is now admitted and deplored by a later Yale pluralist while acerbically assuring one and all that Dahl, not me, had the right analysis of how urban renewal unfolded (Rae, 2003).
This time a new Yale president said he could not provide any money or promise to limit growth, but that he would put some of the vacant land back on the tax list. His niece was married to the university's secretary, Rueben Holden, who was mentioned in the section on local social and economic elites because he was the second-most important campus administrator after the president and on the board of a large savings bank (see Table One).
Yet another partner was on several other boards.) Fourth, Tyler's firm represented several of the major banks and businesses in New Haven as well as doing some work for Yale.
Urban renewal in New Haven is a long and important story, so it deserves a separate section. Moreover, one of Bush's former banking partners was treasurer of the university at the time, as well as a director of one of the large commercial banks in New Haven.
Dahl essentially followed Polsby in making these false and unfair accusations, suggesting to me that perhaps Dahl didn't even read my book very closely.
There was nothing, but nothing, that Mayor Lee could do for the schools without the approval of the business elites. Small wonder that later commentators rarely invoked Dahl's study of the school system as evidence for pluralism.



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