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Mangiacopra no champion of mayor’s breakfasts

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidate Vinny Mangiacopra lashed out at Mayor Richard Moccia Wednesday over the way Mangiacopra says the mayor starts his day.

What fries his bacon? Moccia’s breakfast habits.

Mangiacopra and fellow candidates Harry Rilling and Matt Miklave were in front of about 40 people at the NEON (Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now) Community Town Hall when moderator Bruce Morris asked them to name three things they would do differently from Moccia.

Mangicopra said he had found out about a month ago that Moccia meets his friends for breakfast every morning, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Norwalk Inn.

He would never do that, he said.

“I don’t like breakfast,” he said. “That’s something that’s going to be different about me: I don’t like breakfast. Nor do I need to hang out with my buddies during the work week and have breakfast, and fill them in. One of them was a zoning commissioner. One of them was another commissioner. One of them was another commissioner over here. That’s how this city is being run right now. In this city. In 2013. People are having breakfast for two hours during the middle of the work day.”

Asked to confirm or deny that, Moccia said in an email, “My private life is just that, private. Who I have coffee with is my business.”

Rilling was more serious in his hard-boiled approach to the question.

“I wouldn’t be out there just cutting ribbons,” he said. “I would be leading by example. I would be managing by example and supervising by example. I would be holding my department heads accountable to submit reasonable budgets and to hold themselves within those budgets. … Right now, you do not have a government that listens.”

Miklave started by saying he would start day one with an economic team to build a jobs creation program and would involve large amounts of Norwalkers in establishing budget priorities.

Then he tried to settle the mayor’s hash with a promise for “accountability and civility and transparency at City Hall.”

“We’re not going to have the Police Commission violate the Open Meetings Act anymore,” he said. “We’re not going to have council members voting by secret ballot by email anymore. We’re going to comply with the law because we expect people to comply with the law. We are going to hold ourselves to that standard. Every single city employee will have to certify yearly that they have taken a one-hour course on ethics and responsibility and civility, so every single city employee is accountable to the public.”

19 comments

Norwalk Lifer August 1, 2013 at 6:15 am

The mayor has breakfast every morning from 9 to 11 with……,

Every morning?

What time does the Mayor start work? 12 noon?

And my private life is my private life?

Well, I would argue that every concerned citizen who has a suggestion for how to improve this city, spend a few dollars to buy a bagel and coffee at the Norwalk Inn, so they can meet with this mayor to further their ideas. Afterall, Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Regards
Norwalk Lifer

Joe Espo August 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

Might be that Vinny doesn’t like breakfast because eating his pablum is too messy. Perhaps mommy should step him up to Captain Crunch.

Daisy August 1, 2013 at 9:29 am

No, once you get elected to office, your private life ISN’T private. And the voters and taxpayers have a right to someone who at least works when City Hall is open. I know he’s at ceremonies and functions til all hours of the night, but still, it’s part of the job.

D(ysfunctional)TC August 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

Vinny, get a job and grow up already. You look pretty stupid with this allegation, which is an outright lie from your part. You probably don’t realize the mayor’s job is 24×7 and on occasion it does require that you not be in city hall and instead be out in the field. You sound immature even for your own age.

Joanne Romano August 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

How many of you don’t eat breakfast and how many of you don’t get a lunch break? This is the most petty conversation I have heard in a very long time. And, not one that should be a part of a candidates campaign! This has nothing to do with party politics on my part. This has to do with getting down to what each candidate has in their sights for the future of Norwalk. Not who with nor what they will/will not have for breakfast or lunch. This whole thing is getting out of control with personal attacks and just plain crazy accusations. Get a plan folks, bring it to the citizens and let us decide who we feel is the best candidate for the job! Don’t pander to a particular party, it takes more than one group of people to make up a city as diverse as Norwalk and it takes more than one group to get elected. You need to cover all the bases and you need to realize what the taxpayers care about and not picky little things that most people who are not on these blogs even give a second thought to. Please by all means trash me one more time, I have tough skin and after all these years I’m used to it…but also keep in mind, this was not a political response but genuinely an observation from conversations I have had with many people who still contact me for help or information/opinion and are pretty much disgusted with the bickering and down right negativity. They are looking for ideas and plans, not a trashy novel …Oh and by the way…Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day!

oldtimer August 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Old habits can be hard to break. Many years ago, Moccia started out in Norwalk politics as a protégé of Lou Padula, who held court at the Norwalk Inn and rented a room to Moccia in a house he owned nearby.
If Moccia’s “private life” includes two hour breakfast meetings with various commissioners every day that would seem to support the story we heard from a recently replaced zoning commissioner. Meeting over breakfast outside of the office avoids creating a record of meetings he might prefer to keep off-the-record.

NorwalkDinosaur August 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm

@Joanne Romano, people do enjoy breakfast – it’s called getting up early and doing it before you go to work. Having off the record scrambled eggs with your buddies and strolling into City Hall around 11:30AM, daily, is not OK when you are Mayor. No wonder nothing gets accomplished at City Hall.

piberman August 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Actually the Norwalk Inn serves pretty good breakfasts. Mayor Moccia reportedly works 24/7 so who would really deny him breakfast with friends and advisors, including John Riley of the Hour ? Would citizens be happier if he munched on bagels at Dunkin Donuts ?

In the old days Mayor Esposito always worked the halls of City Hall available to one and all. He knew everyone by name, even the kiddies. When once asked how he ran the City by walking the halls he replied that he strives to hire good people and learns about problems by people coming in to talk to him. That was the day before e-mails. And he held taxes almost flat for 7 terms in looks increasing like Norwalk’s “Golden Age”. Mayor Esposito understood the essential role of a City mayor – talking to people and learning the problems. He never promised this, promised that. Maybe he was on to something – listening to people. Its old school politics. As to “running the City’ or being the “City’s CEFO” that’s not how its done. Except on television. Mayor Moccia is cast from the same cloth. He doesn’t claim to “run the City” or be the “CEO”. But he’s approachable. Even at the Norwalk Inn.

A decade ago we had a mayor who spent time at the desk. That didn’t go over too well with the voters. He had grand visions of making “real change” and leading a “revolution”. But when he was elected “things changed”. It wasn’t so easy to “remake City Hall”. Never is. So the same Dept. Heads remain and life goes on. “Moving Norwalk forward”. Everyone vows to “change City Hall”. But it stays the same. Maybe that’s the real problem – inertia.

Joanne Romano August 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

NorwalkDinosaur-Do you know what time the Mayor goes to work in the morning? Do you know for sure that he hasn’t already been to work hours before he goes out to have breakfast? No you don’t and neither does anyone else! If we all followed him around we wouldn’t have time for our own jobs. I don’t know about anyone else but most of us have jobs that expect us to concentrate on our work and not on whats going on outside the walls of the office. I can tell you that I work across the street from the Inn and he’s definitely not there from 9-11…maybe an hour at the most and not every day and who cares who he chooses to have breakfast with anyway? Does anyone dictate who any of us have breakfast with? I change places each morning depending on my schedule. I have conversations with many people each day as I am sure most people do . Usually its with friends but many times with others who just stop to chat. To get my day started and do things I can’t do during the day I have a couple cups of coffee at home and then choose my breakfast spot on the road. A mayor is on the job 24/7 no matter who they are and most times miss dinner with their families doing city business. The point of my post was to bring out the nonsensical reference to where the mayor eats and who he chooses to eat with. I would hope any mayor would sit down with advisers/those who are able to give him insight. I challenge any mayor to sit in his office 5 days a week without taking a break to relax and regroup. Anyone says differently must be made of steel because a city the size of Norwalk is stressful no matter how good you are. Would you therefore begrudge city employees a coffee break, lunch break etc. and will you also dictate who these employees choose to spend their breaks with? If so, I certainly am glad you aren’t my employer because that would definitely be a short lived job. My time is my time, yours is yours and if the mayor, no matter who that might be chooses to spend his break time with friends then so be it. I think there are alot more important things for the candidates/whomever is the next mayor to concentrate on than when the mayor takes his break and whom he chooses to spend that time with.

Norwalk Lifer August 2, 2013 at 5:36 am

Unfortunately, most of us do not have the luxury of a two hour breakfast session, not matter what the content of such a session. And for that matter, city hall is where the business of the people should be conducted, not at a breakfast.

Noone I know has the luxury of a two hour cool down session like this on a daily basis, and it is not the precedent that is needed given the work to be done in Norwalk. Yes, there are a lot more things of importance to be discussed, but first let’s all get the forum correct, before we start conducting business over breakfast with familiar faces for two hours every day.

Regards
Norwalk Lifer

Daisy August 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

Most of us don’t even have the luxury of a ONE HOUR breakfast. I have to guzzle mine while I work. I wonder if he has to pay for breakfast? I do.

Joanne Romano August 2, 2013 at 11:01 am

While we can go back and forth on this til the cows come home, again he is entitled to a lunch break, coffee break etc. the time he chooses to take these breaks is up to the individual. The person/people he chooses to take his break with again is up to the individual. Do you also want to know when he takes a bathroom break and who is in there with him? Get over it folks, it was a ridiculous comment from the start and everyone seems fixed on a 9-11 breakfast break, Boy I would hate it if you were witnesses in a murder case since the only thing you are going by here is hearsay… Since the mayor most times is at city hall prior to the doors opening it doesn’t seem this is such a big deal for anyone to understand, grasp and get over it!

Norwalk Lifer August 3, 2013 at 6:36 am

Dear Ms. Romano:

I recall your admonishment to treat others as you would yourself be treated, your analogy to a murder trial is completely out of bounds here. Every one here has the right, and the privilege of commenting as they should. “Getting over it” is another way of saying “move on”, I am moving on, I do not like nor do I condone a two hour unofficial session at a motor inn every day to sway and inject a city official with a particular set of ideas, viewpoints, and judgements. Your reaction might be sanquine to such a forum, but most of us who understand the elements of a democracy, from the Grecian ideal to the French model of liberte, as our democracy is founded on, understands clearly the real value of advise and dissent. Democractic ideals are messy, but if you are going to the reaction of those who have decided to comment on this, then I would argue, that while you look out your office window every day at the Norwalk Inn, you decide for yourself, if it was a Democrat sitting there, holding court with a minion of special interests or rather “good friends”, “Good friends” reserve their time together when they are not engaged in professional business. I know no other profession where this is permissible except for politics.

Do not admonish people here who are questioning the actions of this mayor, and if you are so inclined, I would invite you to state clearly where you know of an employment opportunity where a two hour breakfast is allowed. With decorum in mind, I find your arguments about “hearsay” wanting, you have stated yourself that you have personal knowledge of the mayor not doing this, but then again, Ms. Romano, isn’t that indeed hearsay also?

Clearly if this is the case, then we need to remind our next mayor, that such actions are not viewed in the best of light, and I wouldn’t care if it was a Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, Martian, or any other political affliation.

Regards
Norwalk Lifer

Joanne Romano August 3, 2013 at 7:37 am

Norwalk Lifer, no where did I condone a 2 hour breakfast/lunch etc. What I am saying is that I honestly don’t believe it is so important where ANY mayor takes a break for whatever meal nor is important who he/she chooses to share it with. and sir/madam, I don’t care what party they belong to. The concerns of the taxpayers do not have a party line moniker they are all the same and all are concerned. I merely stated that candidates for mayor should be focusing on the concerns of the residents and not on where when what or how someone chooses to take a break. That’s the problem these days, just because someone is a R or a D everyone assumes that they are attacking the other party…no so much my friend…I simply feel that the residents of this town prefer to hear what a candidates long term goals are, how they plan on bringing their goals to fruition and why we should vote for them. Isn’t the ultimate goal here to be as knowledgeable of a candidates ideas, plans and how they are going to manage if elected, a city the size of Norwalk? An informed voter will decide the future of Norwalk so I think all candidates (R or D) should be concentrating on doing just that! Petty, Nasty politics does nothing to endear voters to a candidate. Remember, negativity breeds negativity. But I do respect your calling me out even though we can agree to disagree!

Norwalk Lifer August 3, 2013 at 8:10 am

Good Morning Ms. Romano:
I am a patient observer of opposing arguments, what I see here, is the following:

An admonishment that this not true and hearsay, with a recommendation to disregard the charge.

A diminishment of the charge.

A right to privacy while in the officious position of city business

And a pivot towards the real problems this city, it’s residents, and it’s elected officials face.

I can agree with the last statement, of course, I can. But I would also state that the means and methods of achieving results might be inexorably tied to the results.

Nasty, petty politics notwithstanding, I would state that the voters in this town should decide what the issues are relative to their contribution to this city.

There is no argument that this is not the most pivotal focus of this campaign season, but if an individual wishes to engage the voting poplulace, a populist candidate is required.

To read the statements and the underlying frustration of those who have enlisted themselves to make their city better due to the secretive actions of a mayor, does not enlist the confidence nor the sensibilities of those of us, who are transparent in our professional lives.

I am sorry you can’t see this point, but I will once again state, the comments of this candidate do not necessarily enlist my vote by his name; it is another piece of information that allows me to cogently and objectively place my vote with the right candidate.

There is nothing negative in these words, they are the careful and thoughtful rendering of opinion based on the words and experience of others that I read here.

Regards
Norwalk Lifer

Don't Panic August 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

The point is not necessarily when and where and with whom Mr. Moccia is having a meal break. The point is the persistent appearance of conflict of interest. When in public service, it is vital that the public’s business be conducted with propriety. This klatch suggests policy setting and personnel decisions beyond the normal process. Would his daily breakfast sessions really last fo r two hours if he were kicking back all by himself?

Daisy August 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

in the old days he only took an hour for breakfast with those guys – can’t imagine he’d be dumb enough to up it to 2 hours when the public is watching his every move – and commenting on it

LWitherspoon August 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

It is remarkable that with all the issues facing Norwalk, there is to young Vincent’s unfounded allegation that the Mayor breakfasts for two hours each morning from 9-11 AM.
.
That said, the Mayor’s response seems a bit tone deaf. Was the Mayor asked who he has coffee with, or simply whether or not he has breakfast for two hours every morning at the Norwalk Inn?

LWitherspoon August 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Correction: It is remarkable that with all the issues facing Norwalk, there is attention paid to young Vincent’s unfounded allegation that the Mayor breakfasts for two hours each morning from 9-11 AM.

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