NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s what we have for you in political notes this Monday:
- Internet abuzz with the news of Tanya McDowell’s arrest
- Manresa Association hits goal
- Rilling raises eyebrows with attempt to raise money to support charter revision
- Duff honored by Norwalk Land Trust
- GGP’s Hawaii mall cited after fatal accident
Homeless mom arrested in Norwalk – did you hear?
There’s no such thing as bad publicity, some say.
If that’s the case, then you may be pleased to hear that the Tanya McDowell story is floating around the Internet as if it were news. As a result, Norwalk is now honored with an entry on Snopes.com.
CountercurrentNews, in a post dated Sept. 4, states, “The 34-year-old, who was homeless when she was charged last year, said she wanted the best education possible for her son.”
“Homeless Mother Who Sent Six-Year-Old Son To Better School In The Wrong Town Sent To Prison For Five Years,” the headline screams.
Snopes, viewed as propaganda in some quarters, has it right.
“McDowell’s arrest and sentencing did not occur in 2016, she was not sent to jail for enrolling her son in a Connecticut school, and she was subsequently arrested for more serious offenses involving drugs and prostitution,” Snopes reports.
Casey Smith, in a comment on NancyOnNorwalk, said:
“First of all, the reason that Ms. McDowell came to the attention of the Norwalk District is because her child was listed as living at an address belonging to a friend in Norwalk that happened to be in a Norwalk Housing Authority public housing project. It was not because the child was from Bridgeport. The child was not related to that resident in any way. It was a violation of the HUD lease agreements and the resident had to move elsewhere, I was told. Several people also said that if Ms. McDowell had simply registered at the local Norwalk Homeless Shelter, her child would have attended the exact same school without a problem.
“Secondly, it was the Norwalk Housing Authority that discovered the problem and brought it to the attention of the law enforcement, not the BOE. The case went downhill from there. Finally it wound up with the mother being convicted on other charges and the child being placed with other relatives.”
These are the facts as known by NancyOnNorwalk.
Perhaps the comments section below can now feature some thoughts about the death of journalism?
Manresa gets halfway to goal
The Manresa Association, a community organization seeking a resolution of the use of the dormant NRG power plant that looms over Norwalk Harbor, is halfway to its goal of raising $75,000 to get the city to back an Economic Impact Analysis of the property, a press release said.
The city would fund the other half of the $150,000 cost of the analysis, if the Association comes up with its $75,000.
“The metrics provided by the Economic Impact Analysis will be used to apprise the public and city officials of the financial, social and economic implications of the various possible uses for this landmark property,” Mayor Rilling said in a press release.
The fund-raising effort received an early and positive response from a group of Wilson Avenue businesses known as The Curve, Manresa Association President Charley Taney said in a press release. The group consists of LaJoie’s, LeBlanc’s, FGB Construction, Baywater Properties, Seaman Construction, Grasso Construction, FGB Construction and F&G Construction. Collectively, The Curve contributed over $13,500 to the campaign.
“We felt it was important for the South Norwalk business community to show its support for the Manresa Association, which is has only one objective: to ensure a future for the huge NRG property that is environmentally safe and contributes to the quality of life in Norwalk,” the release quotes Jim Murphy, leader of The Curve and LaJoie’s general manager, as saying.
“The Economic Impact Analysis is a critical first step in determining the future of the 125 acre Manresa property, that sits directly on Long Island Sound. This study will provide an objective analysis that will enable Norwalk leaders to make an informed decision on a range of potential options for the property,” Taney is quoted as saying.
There are more than 900 households represented on the Manresa Association. Taney said he is optimistic that area residents will contribute the balance needed to reach the $75,000 goal before the end of the year, so the study can begin in early 2017.
Yes 4 Norwalk… Or, no, no, no
It’s a scandal – Mayor Harry Rilling sent out a letter trying to raise funds to convince the public to extend mayoral terms, which he will possibly benefit from.
So goes the thinking among some Norwalk circles.
Rilling, in a letter dated Oct. 5, sought to get people to attend an Oct. 13 fundraiser for Yes 4 Norwalk, a committee formed to support the charter revision questions submitted by a Charter Revision Committee and approved by the Common Council.
“Donations raised will help fund a public education campaign so voters are informed on Election Day. Your contribution helps to pay for direct mail, lawn signs, voter contact, and other important activities. So please join me in supporting our Charter Revision and Yes 4 Norwalk,” Rilling wrote.
The questions are:
- Shall the term of the Mayor and Town Clerk be changed from 2 to 4 years?
- Shall the offices of City Treasurer, City Sheriff, and Selectman be eliminated?
- Shall the annual salary of each Common Council member be set at two percent (2%) of the base salary of the Mayor?
- Shall all Charter references to members of the Common Council be gender-neutral?
The Council authorized these questions in July on a 9-3-1 vote, with Democrats John Igneri, Eloisa Melendez, Nick Sacchinelli, Michael Corsello, Travis Simms, Bruce Kimmel, John Kydes, Thomas Livingston and Faye Bowman voting yes, Republicans Doug Hempstead, Rich Bonenfant and Shannon O’Toole Giandurco voting no, and Democrat Steve Serasis abstaining.
Rilling did not send the letter on official City of Norwalk stationary.
“As Mayor and a resident of Norwalk, I fully support this measure because I truly believe this will enhance the great gains we have made in our city,” Rilling wrote. “But in order to assure victory we need your help. This is why I am asking you to support Yes 4 Norwalk’s efforts to pass these important questions by making a contribution now to the Yes 4 Norwalk fund.”
Rilling has been in support of a 4-year term for mayor since running the first time in 2013. In 2014, he said that he hoped charter revision could be on the 2015 ballot, which would have also had him running for re-election.
Former Mayor Richard Moccia supported 4-year terms, although he said in 2011 that he recognized that the support could be perceived as self-serving. “Let’s put it on the ballot and let the people of Norwalk decide,” Moccia said in a debate.
The Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce supports the charter revision.
The letter states that Yes 4 Norwalk has Norwalk Federation of Teachers President Mary Yordon as its treasurer.
Yes 4 Norwalk has competition coming – there’s a “No” group set to make an announcement.
Norwalk Land Trust honors Duff
The Norwalk Land Trust has recognized State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) for his role “ushering through the Senate important legislation safeguarding Connecticut’s open space, air and water,” presenting him with a citation in a ceremony held at Fodor Farm, a press release said.
“Bob has been an Advisory Board Member of the Norwalk Land Trust for over 10 years,” said NLT President John Moeling in the release. “He has helped us acquire and protect the White Barn Nature Preserve, the Farm Creek Nature Preserve and others, and is working with us now to complete a Wildlife Sanctuary on our Hoyt Island property in Long Island Sound. Bob knows we need natural open space in the midst of our lives and our work and deserves the recognition the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters has accorded him.”
That was a reference to Duff being named a “2016 Legislative Champion” by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
In 2015, as a developer sought approval for a conservation development on the White Barn Theater property, Duff led passage of legislation that prevented taxpayer-purchased open space from being used to fulfill the open space percentage allocation required for cluster developments. Duff has been recognized as a “Clean Energy Champion” by the New England Clean Energy Council for his leadership on clean energy policy.
“The Norwalk Land Trust has done a phenomenal job of protecting open space in Norwalk,” said Duff in the release. “Protecting 90 acres of open space in a geographically small, dense city helps preserve Norwalk’s character, and their work on behalf of our environment will be felt for generations. I am proud to have been recognized by this exceptional organization.”
General Growth Partners cited after man falls to death
The City of Honolulu has issued GGP Ala Moana, an affiliate of General Growth Properties, a notice of violation after two men fell four stories on Oct. 9, killing one and critically injuring the other, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.
A railing collapsed, causing the fall, the paper reports. Inspectors subsequently found rust in the railing.
GGP is the company looking to build a mall, The SoNo Collection, in South Norwalk.