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Garfunkel lists targets for budget cuts, is against more ‘big boxes’

Norwalk Democratic convention 071613 206

Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel said Norwalk has enough big box stores.

NORWALK, Conn. – For the four Norwalk Democrats who want to be mayor, it’s two weeks to show time. The candidate quartet will be placed before Democratic Party voters Tuesday, Sept. 10, and one will be chosen to go head to head with incumbent Republican Richard Moccia, who is seeking a fifth two-year term.

Just as there is no shortage of candidates, there are no shortage of issues this year. NancyOnNorwalk has been addressing those issues with the candidates over the past few months, and we recently asked them to weigh in on a few of the topics that have generated plenty of comments on this site.

Andy Garfunkel, who ran against Moccia two years ago and came within 850 votes of knocking him off, was the first to respond to the emailed questions, and gave some definitive answers.

NoN: Are you for or against putting a BJ’s on North Main Avenue, and how do you feel about bringing big box stores to Norwalk?

AG: We have enough of the big box stores located in Norwalk. These stores do not generate enough tax dollars to our economy to offset the single family homeowners’ burden. The time is long overdue to entice and recruit the establishment of businesses that will bring skilled labor/professional jobs into our community. Although BJ’s is a good company, the location of the proposed store could prove to be a traffic nightmare on Main Ave.

NoN: When you are mayor, will you actively seek out people with relevant expertise for board openings, or do you believe it is a good idea to appoint the average citizen?

AG: When considering appointments, I will make it a practice to match the best candidate to the position available and the most beneficial to the residents of the city.

NoN: Can you name three items in the current budget you would have cut or reduced?

AG: Department heads, employee salaries and multiple departmental expenditures. We need to focus on generating more tax dollars with development and income from tourism.

NoN: It appears the Norwalk Housing Authority is making a bid to take over Head Start. How do you feel about that?

AG: Need to see the proposal and consider the cost comparison as well as whether the Housing Authority has a capable staff to oversee this program.

NoN: There’s always a danger when there’s a primary election of the candidates damaging each other in their bid for the nomination. There have been reports of negative campaigning, like the robocall poll, and there have been a number of barbs between candidates and their supporters. Are you concerned about winning the battle and losing the November war?

AG: Haven’t seen the negative campaigning you speak of. Only you have mentioned the topic. Of course, the end results should never be out of sight.

NoN: Do you intend to fully and actively support whoever is chosen Sept. 10 in the race against Moccia?

AG: I would like to, but that remains to be seen.

5 comments

M Allen August 26, 2013 at 9:41 am

Is Garfunkel actually trying or did someone hold a gun to his head and force him to run again? His campaign has a feel of just mailing it in.

YourDaddy August 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

I agree on BJ’s. The thought that BJ’s will IMPROVE traffic on Main Avenue is crazy. Let’s just synchronize the traffic lights without adding BJ’s to the mix. When we jam up the main roads (like on Connecticut Avenue), all we do is force the traffic into our neighborhoods.

rburnett August 26, 2013 at 10:49 am

Interesting answer to the last question. “I would like to but that remains to be seen”??? I wonder how the other candidates feel about THAT answer.

NorwalkSage August 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Those are “definitive answers”? They smell like boilerplate rhetoric. One example – “The time is long overdue to entice and recruit the establishment of businesses that will bring skilled labor/professional jobs into our community. ” Uh huh. So what would you do to entice these businesses and steer them to parts of Norwalk that would be “traffic friendly”? And how would they be enticed in spite of the state’s business-unfriendly environment?

piberman August 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Especially noteworth is Mr. Garfunkel’s statement challenging Common Council Doug Hempstead’s statement that the well established tradition in Norwalk is that there are no qualifications for serving on any City Commission. The P&Z and BET each illustrate the limitations of that approach – ineffective zoning and the highest paid municipal salaries of any city in the state. Its encouraging for a candidate to suggest we may well have a department head talent deficiency in City Hall.

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NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

About Nancy

Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.