I fully realize my unaffiliated, petitioned mayoral candidacy is somewhat of a David versus Goliath campaign story in Norwalk. This is especially true when my grassroots campaign is contrasted against the better known, special interest-funded campaign of the incumbent Democrat mayor. However, my decision to run was quite straightforward. I’m a frustrated 20-year property owner, who is prepared to challenge Norwalk’s status quo politics, because our business as usual governance structure, regardless of political party, isn’t working. It adversely impacts the pocketbook and quality of life of residents in our great city.
My three major campaign goals revolve around the following issues:
- Professionalizing and improving the way we manage and operate City Hall. We need real charter revision, to drive better accountability and efficiencies. Our operating and capital budgets total nearly $.5Billion. We’re overdue for restructuring our 100-year old city charter.
- Reforming the structure and practices of our planning, zoning, ordinance and re-development organizations for a transparent, cohesive city-wide strategy that protects neighborhoods, but improves core areas like West Avenue, Wall and Main Streets and the East Norwalk and SONO corridor. We also shouldn’t give city assets away or provide tax payer funded incentives. We need leadership that believes in our city without giveaway gimmicks.
- Supporting small business and economic development by engaging in best practices that make Norwalk easier to do business with. We have a bad reputation in business circles. Bureaucratic and individual city department red tape needs to be addressed. Fix that and business will come.
Anyone who has interacted with 125 East Ave. already understands that my third objective is really related to the first.
For voters who don’t know me, allow me to explain myself. I’m a retired, corporate executive and management consultant, with 25 years of experience, a three-time cancer survivor and a city-wide activist, who’s been advocating for education, planning and zoning and charter revision reforms since 2009. As a business executive, I lived and worked throughout the US and overseas. I’ve seen a lot. Ten years ago, health issues forced a re-examination of priorities. I retired, focused on my family, volunteered in our schools, got involved in all things Norwalk and eventually started my own small business. Now an empty nester, one might consider this mayoral campaign a culmination of those efforts.
The state and Norwalk are at a crossroads and quite frankly, so am I. Like many, I’ve asked myself, “Do I stay and try to fix the system or do I pack it up and leave?” By now folks have seen, I’ve chosen the former.
Recently, I shared on my website a sobering and straightforward article about the state of Connecticut titled, How Did America’s Richest State Become Such a Fiscal Mess? I compared the state’s dysfunction with Norwalk’s own parochial politics.
Can Norwalk save itself? Yes, but we need leadership, vision and the political will to change the steady habits choking our potential. Voters need to demand change if they want Norwalk rid of its own brand of Connecticut political cronyism. The next generation is choosing small-sized cities. The leafy suburbs, often a cause for Norwalk’s own insecurity, have their own problems. Yet we have it all – a coastline, river, historic city core, great neighborhoods and open space, but we’re not realizing our potential.
This candidacy isn’t about me. It’s about improving our city’s overall political culture and governance. This November, I’m doing my part by giving voters a clear choice. Elections have consequences. Is Norwalk ready for change? We’ll know in about ten weeks. To learn more, go to LisaforNorwalk.org.
Lisa Brinton is an unaffiliated candidate for Mayor of Norwalk.