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Morris, in bid to be Norwalk mayor, talks of ideas

State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140). (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – It’s coming, Bruce Morris said, of the mayoral campaign announcement he has promised.

“I may have more to say about this matter sometime between Wednesday and Friday,” the District 140 State Representative said in a Sunday email.

Morris on May 1, after a District B Democrats meeting that featured shots at Mayor Harry Rilling, gave NancyOnNorwalk a preview of ideas he said motivate his move to challenge Rilling for the Democratic Party’s endorsement in a primary this summer.

“A real mayor ought to be proactive and not so reliant on state dollars. What if those dollars go away? What if the state revenues are not continued?” Morris said.

Morris said he needs to prepare for his run by reviewing the studies and plans that have been done to attempt to steer Norwalk’s development, to see the current status of yesterday’s hopes.

“One thing I love about Norwalk is its diversity,” Morris said, talking about the different neighborhoods and their possibilities.

“I have never been in the position to look at each of these areas and how one feeds into another,” Morris said. “That’s what we need to take a look at. Parking has been an issue, whether it’s down on Wall Street or down in South Norwalk. There may a study out there, that I may not be aware of, that provides a plan for parking that will bring foot traffic down to both South Norwalk and Wall Street.”

The original Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan had the South Norwalk train station serving as an intermodal facility, he said.

“I haven’t heard about that in a long time so these are the things we need to review, find out where they stand. I have been supportive of the Webster Street block development as a major piece of connecting what you’ve got going on in South Norwalk. That would not be exclusive to what could happen down on Wall Street,” Morris said.

Each area of Norwalk could have its own theme to attract people and businesses, he said.

“Those are the types of things that as mayor, I would actually take a look at. I would take a look at this entire city,” Morris said.

Silvermine, Cranbury and Rowayton each have unique attributes, Morris said.

“People want a bedroom community in the outskirts of Norwalk and we need to protect that, because what I hear from people all the time, they feel they’re being pushed out of these areas. I want to protect that. You have those that want to protect the village feel of Norwalk. These are the kind of things I would want to look into,” Morris said, adding that he was not prepared to fully comment.

He’s aware of development plans because he sat on committees, going back 20 years, and, “I want to make them happen,” he said.

Morris sponsored legislation to get funding to study Martin Luther King Drive, which languishes as mostly empty industrial space, he said.

He had sat on Committees for some of the city’s plans and intends to review them, with a desire to enact things that have not come to fruition, he said.

Morris is listed in the 2005 South Norwalk Planning Study as a Committee member.

“Some may say that that’s already been done, well if it’s been done, what is the strategic plan to get it done? It’s good to have books and plans on paper that draw dust but what are the timelines for getting certain things done? What do we need to do, to get either state dollars or federal dollars, or fostering the private-public partnerships that get some of these things done,” Morris said.

Morris talked about public-private partnerships at a recent League of Women Voters Pie and Politics event, speaking of an “empowerment model” that would attract businesses to vacant property in Bridgeport.

“We need to move from this model where cities are always saying we can’t survive unless we get money from the state,” Morris said. “…As Mayor, that is exactly what we would be doing.

Morris’ move to run for Mayor comes as the Board of Education works to ask for state funding for a new school behind the Nathaniel Ely preschool, a plan that has drawn objections in District B. Morris and other argued repeatedly for more community input, although the BoE held a series of public meetings, and the BoE approved the plan 5-4.

His supporters made their dissatisfaction with Rilling known at the District B meeting, over the new school and plans for the Pathways Academy at Briggs. (See separate story.)

“The last time we were in the Mayor’s office and I asked the Mayor what was going on with the ‘Board of Ed’ and everything, the Mayor said to me that he had no influence over those people,” Ernie Dumas said. “Now, he is the Mayor of the city, telling me that he had no influence, which I thought was something awful to say.”

District B Vice Chairman Bobby Burgess, a long-time political operative who is described as fueling voter turnout in the district, pounced on the Briggs commentary.

“The Mayor is Mayor of all people,” Burgess said. “I think we should get some of the parents, have them meet with the Mayor, and get his opinion… he should come to the rescue. We should get his opinion.”

“Ever since I have been in this city, every Superintendent and Board that I have every worked for and under has always tried to see what is the tolerance level of the second floor of City Hall,” Morris said. “Because at the end of the day it is the Common Council and the BET (Board of Estimate and Taxation) that must approve those budgets.”

“I am always glad to meet with anyone at any time on any issue,” Rilling said in an email. “I work closely with the Board of Education and try to do what is best for the youth of our city in every decision I make. I meet with Dr. Adamowski frequently to discuss issues that arise and need my attention. … I prefer to have an amicable working relationship with the Board rather than a strained relationship that used to exist. We get better outcomes if we work together. Some may not see it that way but that is how I prefer to conduct city business.”

20 comments

THE TRUTH May 15, 2017 at 6:01 am

Anyone but Rilling.
Actually Morris makes some very good points. However he fails to mention what he is going to do about the out of control crime in Norwalk. In regards to this he also makes no mention of a plan to fix a clearly broken police department that also has issues with racism.

Josh Ornstein May 15, 2017 at 7:24 am

He sounds pretty intelligent and motivated. Harry Rilling has been sitting idly getting the benefit of a booming economy. His do-nothing approach is setting us up for ruin once the boom ends. I’ll be one person giving Bruce a chance.

Full Disclosure May 15, 2017 at 9:57 am

@Josh Ornstein. Anyone who wants to really get to know this mayoral candidate should search “Bruce Morris” the NoN posts. He’s been written about quite a bit in these pages.

Being Honest May 15, 2017 at 10:18 am

Morris’s only focus as Mayor? South Norwalk. His goal will be to increase the Mill Tax in every other district to fund outrageous projects and programs for the fiscally challenged.. (A Bernie Sanders mentality) He will remove all tasers and body cams from the NPD and keep a watchful eye on them. That will be his platform.

Now lets be realistic. This man has a better chance of hitting the lottery, getting struck my lightening, and getting a phone call from President Trump to say they’re related – all in one day mind you!

But this is what’s great about America – anyone can run for office and I wish him the best of luck!

Wilson Jefferson May 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I don’t understand Rep. Morris and his run for mayor. He is talking about ideas that I have already read in the news from Mayor Rilling over the past few years that are moving forward. While Rep. Morris has been supporting gay conversion therapy in Hartford, and while I don’t normally get involved with these topics, I do know that I wouldn’t want my grandson to be forced to go to a “camp” like that.

Why would we let Rep. Morris off the hook for votes like these? Doesn’t that show what kind of leader he would be? Where are his solutions for the states economic problems? Rep. Morris wants to come and be the leader for Norwalk, but what has he done on the state level to prove his has the knowledge and leadership skills to lead our city?

Didn’t he vote for the largest tax increases in Connecticut history? Rep Morris wants to show he can lead? Stop taxing my social security like most state. Prove to me you can be a real leader, and not someone who wants to punish people who are not like him and just looking for his next payday.

Mitch Adis May 15, 2017 at 1:05 pm

If there is one thing Morris is not it’s “Intelligent”. He may be motivated, but it is only by $$$ and how much he can get for as little effort as possible.

Say what you want about Harry, but at least he shows up for work.

A. Sullivan May 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Anyone that knows what Bruce Morris has been up to for the past 20 years knows damn well that he does not care about Norwalk.

He only cares about his own self-interests. (as another comment mentioned, search him on NON articles)

The only reason he is interested in running for Mayor is because of the salary.

CT State Representative pays $28k a year plus mileage reimbursement.

Being mayor is a much bigger pay day. What is it? $115k per year plus a car?

He’s been ineffective at the State level and an obstructionist at the local level.

Bill NIghtingale Jr May 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

The last thing Norwalk needs is more tax money thrown at public private partnerships. In other words economically unviable subsidized businesses such as Poko and the mixed used dreams of 95/7 (pathetically still subsidized as a Mall). Apart from costing us taxpayers a lot of money the bigger problem with this is that once you subsidize one business, you kill all the competing businesses unless you subsidize them also. Then you end up with a city of blight.

So do not fall for this: “What do we need to do, to get either state dollars or federal dollars, or fostering the private-public partnerships that get some of these things done,” Morris said.

….“We need to move from this model where cities are always saying we can’t survive unless we get money from the state,” Morris said. “…As Mayor, that is exactly what we would be doing.

Donald May 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Bruce Morris is going to make a fine Mayor. Just a shame we have to keep old Harry and his mess until November.

Dawn May 16, 2017 at 11:25 am

Let’s none of us forget the recent shakedown he tried to pull on the taxpayers.

Wanted his “retirement” (thought you had to actually go to work for that) based on a fictional number that soundded good to him at the time.

Can someone find me a deal like that???

Please. Norwalk, WAKE UP!!!

THE TRUTH May 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Dawn
The comments you make about Morris sound like they could be about Rilling.
We had Rilling as Poloce chief and Mayor and he has been a disaster at both. It’s time for a change.. Morris for Mayor.

Donald May 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Mitch Adis If that is your real name. The only name that matters is taxpayer of which I am one. Also Donald is my real name if its any of your business. The reason that I don’t use my last name is because of stalkers…YOU KNOW THE TYPE. Now do you understand? Now please stay on the topic of getting rid of the worst Mayor that Norwalk ever had.

Martha A Wooten Dumas May 17, 2017 at 9:03 am

I never knew it was such hateful people, I don’t think its about the money if it was I would sue the town of Norwalk and State of CT. But people who care about people and their community. Bruce know alot and has experience in the state, so please do you research and stop throwing crap around.

A. Sullivan May 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Hi Martha A Wooten Dumas… I respect your opinion but, I’ve done my research.

Bruce Morris has been ineffective as a six-term State Representative.

Norwalk gets pennys on every tax dollar it sends to Hartford yet he and Bob Duff are spending their time finding ways to obstruct local city Government instead. Well that is unless it is creating more tax revenue for Hartford then their putting on their best suits for photo ops.

On another note…
I’m curious where Bruce stands on the “gay conversion therapy” bill that recently was voted on.
Interesting that he missed the vote.

For a Democrat, he is not not very vocal in support of LGBT or Women’s Rights causes.

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20170503/NEWS03/170509971

NonPartisan May 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm

There needs to be another choice

Candidate a panders to anyone who will vote for him and looks for ways to spend every added dollar of revenue and never herd about tax reduction

Candidate b has only one constituency

Need- candidate c- fiscal conservative, social libertarian.

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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.

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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.