NORWALK, Conn. – Seeking to build a better Norwalk “brick by brick, block by block, child by child,” Councilman Matt Miklave (D-District D) says he has a plan to raise his profile as he fights to be Norwalk’s next mayor.
“I’m going to go out and knock on 10,000 doors in Norwalk,” said the lawyer, known primarily in District A. “It’s a pretty small electorate. It’s retail politics at its best.”
Miklave is vying to be the Democratic party nominee against former District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel and former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling.
“I have no illusions about the path before us,” he said Saturday as he spoke to supporters at his mayoral campaign kickoff. “I know that my opponents are capable, ambitious men. I know they will challenge my vision. But I also know that failure is not a sin. The sin is complacency. The sin is believing that good enough is good enough.”
The candidate said he likes Republican Mayor Richard Moccia, but was pretty hard hitting as he advocated for Performance Based Budgeting to “hold our public officials accountable for their actions.”
“In the last two years we have seen our share of scandals, misguided spending and finger pointing,” he said. “Oak Hills Park ran out of money 90 days after they repeatedly claimed they had plenty of money to get through the winter. The city clerk’s office is under investigation for missing money, money that was missing for years, and no one noticed. We now know the Board of Education underpaid the city’s insurance fund by one or two million dollars a year for four consecutive years. The city did not notice.”
He asked, “Who’s responsible for that? Who is responsible for these epic failures? The silence from this administration is deafening.”
Still, skepticism is rampant in some quarters. Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-District D) issued an op-ed essay this week, wondering, in part, why Miklave “quietly voted for the (budget) cap without commenting on its merits or why he was voting for the results of such a ‘flawed process.’”
“I voted for the cap because I thought the cap was the appropriate amount of taxes,” Miklave said. “… We don’t vote for the budget. I’ve criticized the budget.”
Kimmel is a “three-time quitter,” he said, spelling out the councilman’s history of leaving the Democratic caucus in 2002 after losing 14 to 1 to Miklave in the election to be council president; getting elected to the Board of Education and then leaving it; returning to the council only to leave the Democratic caucus again in 2011.
“I understand because he’s supporting the mayor and he’s caucusing with the Republicans, he wants to beat the Democrats in the fall,” he said. “I understand that’s what he’s trying to accomplish.”
Another knock on Miklave comes from members of the public, who are suspicious of the presence of Norwalk Association of School Administrators President Tony Ditrio as the treasurer of his campaign.
“We don’t need a Mayor who, if elected, will owe lots of favors to municipal employee union heads,” said Lwitherspoon in a recent NancyOnNorwalk comment.
Miklave finds that startling.
“I welcome support from all quarters,” he said. “The fact of the matter is for 30 years I I have been a labor negotiator, primarily close to management. The fact that people think I am now close to unions is now a little ironic.”
Correction made, 1:29 p.m., March 25.