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.