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‘Worst in 25 years’ Norwalk campaign sign ‘big thing’ sparks ‘silly season’

Norwalk Department of Public Works Supervisor John Krysiuk shows campaign signs Thursday in the Public Works garage.

Signs in the Norwalk Department of Public Works garage Thursday. Mayor Harry Rilling’s signs had already been picked up, DPW Supervisor John Krysiuk and DPW Superintendent of Operations Chris Torre said.

Updated, 2:17 p.m.: Comment from Eloisa Melendez; adjustment to reflect that an email to Victor Cavallo was lost in the ether. 

NORWALK, Conn. – Chris Torre said Thursday that John Kydes had won the prize. Bruce Chimento said Mayor Harry Rilling won.
Both agreed that Mark Suda was right up there in the contest for who had the most campaign signs in the Department of Public Works garage.

Torre, DPW Superintendent of Operations, said he’s worked in Public Works for 25 years, with 12-13 years as a manager, and, “This is the first year that I have ever seen voting signs be this much of an issue.”

The Department of Public Works has been removing campaign signs, with Chimento, DPW director, attributing that to their illegal placement in the city’s right-of-way and on public parks and schools. Someone complained, prompting the action, he said Monday. He drafted a letter on Sept. 14 and handed it to his secretary to send to all the campaigns, he said Thursday.

This has created a furor in some corners of social media, with Suda, a Republican Norwalk Police detective running for Common Council at large, posting this Wednesday:

 

A photo posted by Republican Common Council candidate Mark Suda on Facebook.

“Hey Folks, The City of Norwalk DPW was out today in their fierce blight ordinance patrol!! In the picture on the left my sign was right next to the other two in the Cranbury section of town. Funny thing is just mine was removed by a DPW worker. The sign on the right on West Rocks Rd. where several of my yard signs were also removed by DPW that were on private property, is clearly an ordinance violation. Why was this sign not removed? I ask the citizens of Cranbury to ask yourself is it fair that DPW can respond in the area to pick up campaign signs from candidates that are willing to volunteer, run a campaign and attempt to win to make a difference in this City. Or is it fair they tell us they can not pick up our garbage and we have to pay for it to get removed? Don’t we have hefty tax bills and no services to show for it?? If DPW can pick up campaign signs then they clearly have enough time to pick up our garbage as well!! So to all my supporters in the Cranbury area I will get your signs back to you at some point.”

 

Among the 53 comments that followed was one from John Romano, leader of District C Republicans and a candidate for constable:

“It’s called. Selective enforcement. Orders had to come from Mayors office.”

 

And one from Kydes, a Democrat seeking reelection to a third term representing District C on the Common Council:

“The mayor had the most signs taken today and I came in second. This strict enforcement started because of complaints of one candidate putting signs at schools and Parks. #sillyseason”

 

Further along, Barbara Meyer-Mitchell, a Democratic Board of Education member said:

“Three of mine were taken too. I went down to DPW and picked them up. But I agree that we are all volunteers willing to serve because we feel called to make a difference in Norwalk. But it isn’t partisan: there were waaayyy more Rilling signs than anyone else’s there to be picked up.”

 

BoE member Bryan Meek, a Republican, replied:

“Of course there were today to make it look good. Grass is growing. Catch basins are clogged. Roads need patching. Streets need sweeping. Selective litter enforcement was never the mission.”

 

Asked Thursday afternoon about the accusations that he had arranged to have opponents’ campaigns signs removed, Rilling said, “That’s absolutely ridiculous. I think the people know that. There is an ordinance regarding signs. I know for a fact that DPW was getting calls. … I take great offense that anybody who would suggest (that).”

Signs in the Department of Public Works garage Thursday.

Rilling said he sent one of his campaign people to pick up signs in the DPW garage Thursday, before NancyOnNorwalk stopped by to take photos. He said he thought he had 20-25 signs in the garage, probably because his campaign has the most signs out there.

“I have made it clear to DPW that they are not to pick up signs on private property,” Rilling said, and if they are taking signs from private property, “they are going to stop that because that’s not what the sign ordinance says.”

The controversy is “absolutely silly,” he said, again suggesting that people know that.

John Krysiuk, a DPW supervisor, showed NoN the signs in the DPW garage and said there had been a lot of Rilling signs but someone had retrieved them.

He said:

  • “We have new people and with new people you get people that are not at all used to this kind of stuff. All it takes is one complaint and then you’ve got to enforce the ordinance. So, once you start doing that nobody really cares where you put the campaign sign, once someone complains then you’ve got to take them all.”
  • “Would it matter who complained?.. I really don’t know.”
  • “At this stage of the game we are being really picky about where we are grabbing them. If they are not by the road and not on the snow shelf we are not going to be picking them up. So, until another complaint comes in we are going to be a little more judicious about what we are going to pick up.”
  • “I have to honestly tell you that the right of way changes about town. So, we give our guys really simple instructions. If they can reach the sign from the sidewalk then they should pick it up. If there’s no sidewalk and they have to take any more than one step to grab them then they should leave them. But with that area, we should grab them.”

He also explained a new phrase for your vocabulary: snow shelf.

DPW is removing all signs from the snow shelf, he said, explaining that the snow shelf is the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road.

Torre said he had gone in the garage and counted 37 Rilling signs, but, “I only counted the piles that had the most in them.”

There were 26 Suda signs and, “I can’t give you a count but Kydes were the most taken out of all them.”

“It is possible that Suda had the second most because he’s an at large candidate and he puts them all over town,” Torre said.

“The ordinance is ‘not on city property,’ period. So, we were taking signs based on that criteria. We weren’t targeting anyone, we were going by the letter,” Torre said.

Signs in the Department of Public Works garage Thursday.

He quoted Chimento as instructing him, “If you happen to see signs on the curb line,” pick them up, and said, “There are very few streets that don’t have right of way,” and, “Schools are a no brainer. Parks are a no brainer.”

“Snow shelf,” he said, and “We have since been instructed to ease back on taking signs that are not a safety concern or on school property, city hall, a city park, simply being off from the road far enough not to obstruct the sightline is an issue.”

As far as, this being the first time that “voting signs” are “this much of an issue,” he meant, an issue, as in, a problem.

“Advertising signs are usually more of a problem than voting signs, so I don’t know how it originated from. I don’t know if it was just so many new people running for council maybe this year… it just seems like there are a lot of new names out there,” Torre said.

He acknowledged that the DPW workers likely lean left politically, but said the administrators are probably more centrist. He’s unaffiliated, he said.

“I don’t recall taking any signs last year,” Chimento said.

Yes, last year was a state election, with most of the candidate experienced in campaigning, but there was also the charter revision question with signs everywhere, he said.

“There were signs out for and against that and we didn’t have anything being taken either way. I can’t say if there was more to it,” Chimento said. “… I don’t think it was a conspiracy against any one person. I would hate to see finger pointing pointed in any direction at any candidate because I don’t think it was a conspiracy by anybody.”

Asked who complained about campaign signs, Chimento said the phone calls came directly to him, and did not name the callers.

“I got one from Highland Avenue, said these signs are appearing everywhere,” he said.

He produced a Thursday email from Republican Town Committee Chairman Victor Cavallo, complaining about signs:

“{P}lease have DPW remove ALL signs in my … home area that not only violate the right-of-way policy, but which also serve to be a dangerous distraction to drivers and which also litter the City roadside landscape, including those signs for the Boat Show, various arts events, real estate open houses, Rowayton house tours, events advertised on school property at the Roton school, old festival signs, and the slew of ‘slow down’ signs on Witch Lane/Hunt Street in Rowayton. Some of these signs planted on the right-of-way are so numerous and so close to the road that one runs the risk of scraping the passenger car door on one’s automobile as we pass by these signs along these narrow roads.”

 

Cavallo said Monday in an email to NoN that he felt the sign ordinance enforcement was done in a partisan way. Aa attempt to reach Cavallo via a late Thursday email was unsuccessful.

Signs in the Department of Public Works garage Thursday.

Town Clerk Rick McQuaid, a Republican who has been cross-endorsed by Democrats, said he had eight campaign signs out and DPW picked up six of them.

Not only that, but they were signs that had been in the garages of private homeowners, people who put up his signs every campaign season, in the same place every time. This is the first time they were picked up by the Department of Public Works, he said.

“(The sign-posting homeowners) go outside and they can’t do it anymore,” McQuaid said. “They don’t get it. I think one of the funniest things that comes out of this is, they are zealously out there picking them up and we have reached a point, where nobody is stopping to see… they are just grabbing them and taking them. It’s like a game. I don’t blame DPW employees, I don’t. They are told what to do and they are doing what they are told to do. I mean, they are so public about saying that they did it, they should put stickers on (the signs) and tell us where they picked them up… so we don’t put them in the wrong place again.”

Most candidates will just put them in the same place again, he said.

He also mentioned, “snow shelf.”

“I have had 20 years of putting signs in those and never had a problem until now,” he said.

Candidates should be knocking on doors instead of worrying about signs, because, “I think this is a different election this year, there’s a lot more players in it, a lot more things, people want to know who you are … I think greeting the public is the more important thing,” he said.

The sign uproar is “the biggest thing in town,” he said. “It’s the silly season. But we have all lived through the silly season a whole bunch of times.”

Asked if Rilling organized the sign removals, he said, “absolutely not.”

Rilling asked him to call the state and find out what the regulations are about signs, he said.

“I cannot go along with somebody saying the mayor did it,” McQuaid said. “The mayor did not do this. Believe me, I have heard from many people asking me to check with the state, what the rules and regulations are. The state basically said, ‘We don’t get involved in the sign wars of towns because every town does a different thing.’ The mayor had absolutely no direction to take down signs, of anybody. That is my belief and I am going to be honest with you – questions that even he asked about signs and other candidates asked about signs.”

“When you are the sitting mayor you are going to get blamed for everything,” McQuaid said, bringing up the accusations in 2013 that Mayor Richard Moccia had roads paved in South Norwalk on Election Day to keep people from voting.

“They don’t have the time. A mayor is too busy to do that stuff,” McQuaid said. “We’re not ‘Bridgegate.’ We are not New Jersey where (elected leaders shut down traffic) to sabotage somebody’s campaign. It’s a village.”

Asked if there might be a change to the sign ordinance, should she be reelected, Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A) in a text message said, “I think their might need to be changes like the 10 feet rule but idk {I don’t know} about school parks and town hall

Kydes, in an email, said, “It’s the same issues every election. I’ve learned to ignore it and keep going because we are all Norwalkers at the end of the day.”

Signs in the Department of Public Works garage Thursday.

45 comments

Nora K King September 22, 2017 at 9:03 am

This really sends a poor message on what Norwalk is all about! DPW needs to focus on the important issues. How about the staff worry about clearing off our foot paths from cracks, debris and owner violations so kids and people can walk safely? How about worrying about drainage issues? How about working on our parks that are overgrown with weeds? Really – this is what staff is working on? I have kids that can’t walk safely to school. Let’s worry about that.

Al Bore September 22, 2017 at 9:58 am

I think the signs are also a problem every election year. They are to close to the street and never get taken down until late November or December. I think the message is a good one and hope that other signs that litter the city will be taken down and prohibited as well. The amount of signs at DPW shows the amount of abuse. That being said I also agree on some of the above issues that need to be fixed and maintained throughout each year. Thank you Mr. Chimento. Norwalk needs to be cleaned up!

Notaffilated September 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

It bugs me when a business litters their lawn with many signs of one party. What, you don’t want to sell cars to republicans? (Westport avenue car dealership)

Isabelle Hargrove September 22, 2017 at 10:42 am

Around my neighborhood, Rilling signs on the edge of Ponus avenue are still standing, but all the DesRochers & Jewett and D’Amelio signs are gone. These signs were in the exact same location as prior years. I know, because I am one of those volunteers who use their own time to place them there. It’s therefore insulting to read that the DPW director is attributing their raids to sign placement not done before. Basically, they just used a few illegal signs on city property as an excuse to seize private property and abuse their power. And to boot, now try to blame others.

Someone complained, prompting the action, the DWP director also said. Since when is complaining so effective? Personally, I have been asking for the last 2 years when my street lights will be installed, while my elderly neighbor still picks up condoms and empty booze bottles from our dark street.

V September 22, 2017 at 10:46 am

@Nora K King – but this is what Norwalk is all about! Petty infighting! You’ve got Morris challenging his own parties sitting mayor, you’ve got the Mosby group lawsuits, you’ve a mayor who waffles on everything and leads from behind. Victor Cavallo complaining about signage that might scratch his car? LQQK This is what Norwalk is all about. Pretend that real problems aren’t there by shifting the focus to bs nonsense. How many liter piles do the DPW guys drive past and ignore all over Norwalk? Where you see neighborhood do-gooders organizing clean up efforts.

Not once in the 15 years we’ve lived in Norwalk has one single politician ever knocked on our door. Not once. And I’m kind of glad for that in light of what I’ve seen.

Bruce Kimmel September 22, 2017 at 10:50 am

This so-called enforcement of the ordinance may be the most ridiculous action by our local government that I’ve ever read about. We should be ashamed. A hallmark of a democracy is the right to freely express opinions regarding various candidates for public office. Removing signs from what essentially are sections of front lawns is down right petty.

Regarding complaints, am I to believe that if a resident makes a complain about, let’s say, an illegally parked vehicle, that DPW cannot enforce the complaint without simultaneously instructing its workers to do a citywide sweep of all illegally parked vehicles? That has never happened.

Victor Cavallo September 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Nancy: I did not receive any “late Thursday email” for my take on this issue. So here it is: This most definitely started for partisan reasons- as confirmed by one of our candidates – and then morphed into an indiscriminate campaign by DPW to pull all political signs just for the optics. My point in my email to the Mayor, which he forwarded to Chimento, was that the most egregious offenders of the right-of-way policy are being given a pass: the Boat Show, the Oktoberfest, the Alzheimer’s walk, the NPT WWI bus tour and the Slow Down campaign in Rowayton. If DPW is going deny free speech to political candidates, then they should equally deny the free exercise thereof to Alzheimers victims, kids and the Norwalk Preservation Trust, just to be fair.

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm

A hilarious indictment of City Hall from the top down. Petty, partisan bickering and a waste of taxpayer money. DPW is historically inattentive to most complaints. Yet the yard sign complaints got the complete attention of Chimento, who gave vague instructions to his crews to pul signs without regard to actual easements, which vary from 3 to 30 feet. I called about signs at the intersection of East Ave and Winfield yesterday, all clustered within three feet of the curb, and those signs are still there today. Clearly, enforcement has been spotty and enforced unequally. So did Chimento act unilaterally when he told crews to remove “illegal” yard signs? Isn’t DPW accountable to someone?

My recycling was not picked up on schedule this week for no good reason, but DPW has instructions to pull yard signs because that’s what’s holding Norwalk back–too many campaign signs. Are political signs an eyesore? Only relative to every other eyesore in town–crumbling sidewalks, cracked roads painted over with black goo, busted curbs on newly installed sidewalks, blight, approved development put on indefinite hold, and the current erection of the seasonal practice rink for Darien and New Canaan hockey players at Vets Park. And let’s not forget drug busts, a fatal hit-and-run on MLK last week, a school system bursting at the seams, and a state government that is determined to slash aid to cities like ours. Add the Walk Bridge, ongoing development that isn’t going to turn out the way we wanted, and a failed and belated attempt to rescue parking spaces for the libaray, and what you’re left with is a City whose fatal flaw is campaign signs run amok.

Patrick Cooper September 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

In all the stories on this topic, and all the comments – one voice is missing: Eloisa Melendez. Didn’t I see these words just two weeks ago – “the Ordinance Committee, under her leadership”. She spoke about arts, bikes, and noise. Nothing about signs. Also, don’t recall anything about zoning / ordinance enforcement on accessory apartments.

Nancy Chapman September 22, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Mr. Cavallo is correct. I wrote an email and sent it. There’s nothing in my sent box to indicate that happened. I was outside, perhaps a poor internet connection is to blame, I don’t know.

John E. Tobin September 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Footpaths are the City’s responsibility, including repairing and clearing them of snow, and the city abdicated its responsibility decades ago.

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm

There is some predictable–and some creative–spin coming from candidates, mostly democrats, on the Great DPW Sign Sweep/Swipe Sage of 2017. Said Rilling of the charge that the sign swiping is politically motivated, “that’s absolutely ridiculous. I think the people know that.” Rilling added that he takes offense at this suggestion, and added again that the people know this is silly. There is a lot of silliness in Norwalk. The mayor has participated in a lot of it. But presiding over a DPW whose priority is removing political signs that may or may not be in the public right of way make Rilling at least partly culpable for this practice. The least he can say, assuming Chimento acted alone, is to apologize for the overzealous enforcement and for the material losses to homeowner who paid for signs stolen by DPW.

Bryan Meek September 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm

@Nancy. Not sure why you put my quote that you ripped from FB right in front of the mayor’s denial of having arranged this. I don’t think he gets that involved in DPW operations. But the day Hal Alvord was terminated, the crew had pizza and beer for lunch to celebrate in the DPW garage I’m told. Not all, but my guess is that some are clearly happy with the mayor’s decision to replace Hal and took initiative to keep their new status quo going. When they were called out on it, they had to make it look good and balance the score. Who knows, who cares?

My issue is that the grass on Knowalot lane is 2 feet tall in some places along the walk way to Cranbury school. We have intense deer traffic that runs through the woods here along the Merritt and can not afford to have children walking through tick infested grass. Every year since Hal has been gone this has been an issue and I have filed calls. Eventually they get around to it, but it is never done proactively it seems. This is why some of us are ABSOLUTELY INFURIATED that there is time for this nonsense, but not things we really need.

What would be a nice outcome out of all of this is if the crews could go out after election day and remove every single political sign they see until 100% are gone, but you know what the chances of that are. Besides the governor’s budget will most likely curb the overtime it would require. In the meantime instead of writing up all the spin why don’t you just FOIA the actual complaints. You seem to never hesitate whenever you want to raise hay with NPS, just sayin… on a sadder note, everyone should pray for Hal’s recovery.

Debora Goldstein September 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Wanna know why Sign-gate is exhibit A in a need for PROFESSIONAL CITY MANAGEMENT?

Not a single employee polled in a week’s worth of newspaper articles about this (including the Mayor) has noticed that Bruce Chimento is enforcing an ordinance for which enforcement lies with the Building Inspector.

The one cited repeatedly is “no sign of any kind shall be erected, placed, maintained or displayed within the outside limits of any street or highway in the City of Norwalk.”

The full text of that is ““Except as provided below, no sign of any kind shall be erected, placed, maintained or displayed within the outside limits of any street or highway in the City of Norwalk.” It appears in Chapter 21-18, which applies to BILLBOARDS AND SIGNS and goes on to lay out requirements for wall signs, marquee signs, electric signs, permit requirements for signs, fees for the permits for those signs, etc. The enforcement mechanisms throughout this chapter reference the Building Inspector, not the Public Works Director.

In the past, municipal campaigns have been advised to remove signs by the enforcement officer Mr. Schwarz pursuant to Chapter 95-3 under STREETS AND SIDEWALKS, which reads “The [Public Works] Director is hereby authorized to take such action as he deems necessary to ensure that all public grounds, streets, highways, sidewalks, and other thoroughfares in the City are, to the extent REASONABLY possible, clear of obstructions and nuisances and free from danger to persons or property.” [EMPHASIS MINE].

Do you consider this activity reasonable? See anything about removing everything from every last inch of the City’s Right of Way on private property (as opposed to keeping city property clear of obstructions and nuisances)?

NOW, How confident are you that this city is making the best use of your tax dollars?

Susan Wallerstein September 22, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Interesting to me is the fact no one so far – unless I’ve missed it – has made a connection between the removal of political signs and similar enforcement of a local farmstand’s signs which created a public brouhaha (not to mention the signs for walks, runs, sports programs, etc. that litter our landscape) #RalphWaldoEmerson “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Debora Goldstein September 22, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Susan ,

Someone did make that connection in the comments section of an earlier article on signgate.

Unfortunately, this ordinance enforcement vendetta is providing cover for actual criminal theft of lawn signs.

When you have 30 taken in a single day and there are only half that many at DPW to return to you, that tells you something.

It also goes a LOOONG way towards explaining why the city believes it is only taking non-compliant signs and the campaigns believe that the city is taking them off private property. Basically, there’s chocolate in your peanut butter.

Wonder if the PW employees manning the dump have seen anyone dumping lawn signs.

Debora Goldstein September 22, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Can you FOI Mr. Chimento’s number then?

Would be nice if the rest of us had the option to bypass the 90 second rigamarole on the customer service line before getting a live person on the line. Just sayin’

Nancy Chapman September 22, 2017 at 7:02 pm

That crossed my mind but I suspect they don’t have a record of incoming phone calls. Mr. Chimento expressed regret that the calls came straight to him. He said he’d prefer they went to customer service, but his number is on the website.

Bryan Meek September 22, 2017 at 9:25 pm

The claim that direct calls can ever get thru to Chimento is beyond a crock of you know what. Dig deeper. Judy is a wonderful woman and no one should hold her to account of following orders, she is doing her job. Connect the dots already.

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 22, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Thank you, @Debora, for clearing up the organizational chart for us so that Nancy’s audience, and perhaps a few City employees and elected officials, now know that DPW was never the appropriate enforcement entity for campaign signs.

Agree with Bryan that Bruce Chimento’s claim that his call log can’t be FOIAed because there is no call log is unconvincing. All my calls to DPW all gone through Customer Service. But dozens of campaign signs are picked up by DPW under orders of Chimento as a result of complaints that he cannot possibly document.

In reply to DPW Supervisor John Krysiuk’s question, “would it matter who complained,” YES, it would matter if this was a partisan attempt to undermine a candidate or candidates. DPW cannot account for all the missing signs. Chimento has no call logs. This wasn’t their purview anyway. And the Mayor laughs it all off. Oddly, there is not one photo of a Rilling sign in DPW captivity. They were all picked up before the cameras got there. Go figure.

Debora Goldstein September 23, 2017 at 8:00 am

I didn’t mean to suggest that DPW isn’t the correct enforcement entity. Mr. Schwarz reports to DPW in his enforcement capacity. What I was pointing out is that he is enforcing under the wrong ordinance and therefore the enforcement parameters are out of whack. The billboards ordinance uses the right of way, which puts the 3-30 foot interpretation into play.

The other ordinance makes no reference to the distance from the road and uses safety as a guideline and reasonable as a standard.

I think that the sudden enforcement as against lawn signs is a mockery of the safety and nuisance standard given that one city managed park has had 2-7 signs at any given moment all year long.

When DPW have spent more time collecting lawn signs than they spend on yard waste collection in any neighborhood in the spring, I think the reasonable standard is pretty much out the window. Don’t you?

Debora Goldstein September 23, 2017 at 8:09 am

Nancy. I don’t mean his calls on that number. I mean can you get and publish the seven digit number…

We’d all like to have a direct, undocumented complaint line to the director, especially since the complaints are acted upon so much more effectively when you bypass customer service…

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 23, 2017 at 9:06 am

The number on the City’s DPW page for Bruce Chimento is 854-7831. When I called about removing snow from sidewalks–which is a public safety issue–I was directed to Ed Schwartz. At that time, Ed only worked three days a week I believe. And he told me the protocol for enforcing that particular ordinance was to give a warning first.

So how did sign enforcement, which based on what Debora has documented appears to fall under Ed Schwartz’s purview, become priority number one for DPW employees? Hard to argue the safety angle here. And as many have pointed out, the enforcement has been applied unequally.

And while it’s one thing to deny culpability for the impetus to remove campaign signs by the dozens, it’s quite another for the sitting Mayor to chalk the controvery up to the “silly season”. He’s the mayor, and the DPW answers to him apparently. Wouldn’t now be a good time for Harry Rilling to at least apologize to the citizens whose signs were seized by DPW, in some cases wrongly, and to the candidates who were impacted? Shouldn’t Rilling also, as a former police chief, address the possibility that dozens of signs appear to have been stolen? No better time to act like a leader than when Election Day is on the horizon!

Wineshine September 23, 2017 at 10:10 am

What unmigitaged garbage this is. This kind of childish, Mickey Mouse activity is exactly what holds Norwalk back. This small-town thinking by small, selfish minds never seems to change. Wake up Norwalkers, and elect people who have solid plans. You’ve elected and re-elected placeholders for far too long. Where is the evidence of their contributions?

Bob Welsh September 23, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Since Nancy has a lot on her plate, and some of the requests above are quite specific, it’s worth noting here that FOIA requests may be made by any citizen.

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm

I’d love to know if the mayor has revised his thoughts on sign gate since Nancy last spoke to him, when he characterized the controversy as silly. Seems like it’s not the controversy that’s silly. It’s the actions of the DPW.

Mitch Adis September 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm

I just passed a bunch of campaign signs on City property. Many with “Rilling” on them. Somehow they escaped the wrath of DPW. If we are going to do this, let’s be consistent.

US Blues September 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Bottom line people of Norwalk … vote out Riling and Lisa B-T in – this will be the first step in rectifying all the bs from Riling, Chimento (et al) on down.

Chimento, over stepping his boundaries, should be fired. Done Out

Concerned September 25, 2017 at 8:33 am

The signs are dumb to begin with. Remove them now or remove them in the spring when they are still hanging around. A sign never made up my mind for me or made me think, “oh cool, that person supports xyz”. If voters are so easily swayed by how many signs they see for a particular candidate when they go to vote, we have bigger problems.

It sure would be nice if the DPW workers that are grabbing the signs could also walk around with weed whackers as well and kill two birds with one stone. Or grab a little trash that litters the grass between the curb and sidewalk.

Ross September 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

It’s amazing even after all the press in regards to signs being removed, I have no idea what any of these candidates stand for.

While I’m not a gung-ho Harry supporter by any means, the alternatives are grim.
Lisa and Andy do not have what it takes to get anything done. Lisa’s big ideas will go nowhere with a council not supporting her. Andy will not have a majority on council so his ancient ideas will also go nowhere. (A fixed Walk Bridge? really?)

We’ll go back to a city stuck on stupid. Council meetings getting drawn out for hours with no real work accomplished.

Be careful what you wish for. It takes more than a few clever bullet points on a palm card and website to get things done.

As a resident, I’m happy to see roads getting paved, education being funded, new developments going up, our city parks have never looked better.

I’m not happy with taxes increases but do you really think anyone of these candidates are going to be able to reduce or keep taxes flat? If so, you’re delusional.

Yes, there is still lots of work to do but I am proud of the progress Norwalk has been making.

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm

@Ross, the article is ABOUT the signs being removed. As for a city “stuck on stupid”, what exactly is Norwalk now, with failed deals to buy over-priced parking lots, other deals to give city-owned parking lots away, changes to LDAs just because it’s what the developer wants, and a mayor who flip flops on education, fails to attend WestCOG meetings with any regularity? Oh, and don’t forget that the mayor’s response to his own DPW’s sign-removal activity has been to dismiss it as “silliness”. I’m happy to see roads getting paved too. I’d be happier still if the contractors didn’t owe the City back taxes and if the work held up more than a couple years. Maybe the city parks have never “looked” better, but what’s being done about contaminants?

The alternatives to Harry are not grim. And one alternative is a standout–Lisa Brinton Thompson. Lisa isn’t beholden to any party. And that’s exactly the kind of clean break Norwalk needs to move forward.

Pamela Parkington September 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

@Donna – We have a weak Mayor, strong City Council government, as Ross states her ideas will go no where without Council support.

Also, one park is contaminated, located in an area that has an industrial use history, you make it sound like all are parks are contaminated.

And yes, they have never looked better, the park that I go to on daily basis, usage has doubled and the Recs & Parks department are responsive.

God, you make Norwalk sound like it’s the Bronx in the 1970’s.

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm

@Pamela, both Oyster Shell and Ryan are contaminated. Vets park was built on landfill, though no one talks about it because the park pre-dates EPA regulations that would have made it a superfund site. And the harbor is filled with contaminating run-off from I-95. A Master Plan should take all these environmental issues into account. PCBs and VOCs are pretty much invisible. A park can look beautiful and still have a contamination problem.

What a shame that in the opinion of some, the Common Council is too much of a party machine to listen to good ideas from an unaffiliated mayor! That’s a pretty pessimistic outlook. I think Norwalk is capable of better.

Ross September 25, 2017 at 2:26 pm

It’s funny that the sign issue actually started with Lisa putting signs on Public property like schools and parks. I know, “she’s not the only one!” correct, but she was definitely the most blatant.

Lisa will steal Republican votes from Conroy, maybe a few unaffiliated voters as well.

Morris will steal Democratic votes from Rilling but not enough to make a difference.

Let me also say that I like the idea of a third party candidate challenging the party-endorsed candidates. Unfortunately, I don’t think Lisa is the one to pull it off. (or Bruce Morris)

Donna Smirniotopoulos September 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Ross, I believe the election will come down to Lisa v Rilling. And from there the choice is obvious. The only factor that will benefit Rilling is low voter turnout. Democrats will vote for Lisa. Norwalk doesn’t have to be anchored by petty partisan politics.

By the way, I admire both Conroy and Morris for their service to Norwalk. But I don’t think either offers what Lisa Brinton Thompson does–a dynamic and fresh vision for Norwalk coupled with a commitment to organized government starting with a City Manager. The yard sign mess is evidence of weak and inefficient city management. And it’s a top down problem.

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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.

About Nancy

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.