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Hargrove condemns ‘arrogant’ campaign sign removals

Signs in the Norwalk Department of Public Works garage on Sept. 20. Jesse Hubbard, campaign manager for Mayor Harry Rilling, said 25 Rilling signs had been in the garage.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk Department of Public Works was “weaponized” to conduct raids on campaign signs, Isabelle Hargrove said last week, calling it an “act of political arrogance.”

Former Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano said, in response to a NancyOnNorwalk inquiry, that he had “serious doubts” that Mayor Harry Rilling ordered the removal of opposition signage.

One week after this controversy came to light, some Republicans were still complaining that their signs were targeted for removal, with comments at last week’s Republican Town Committee meeting asserting that Democratic signs were taken only after the complaints became public. Republican candidates attending last week’s Common Council meeting made similar comments while talking amongst themselves.

Hargrove submitted a letter to the editor to NancyOnNorwalk.

“It is obvious this was a well-planned effort on part of someone in City Hall to get rid of our signs. The mayor’s office tried to blame the DPW enforcement officer for being overly aggressive, but he was only following instructions from his superiors,” Hargrove wrote.

Hargrove wrote that that the mayor’s office had “announced a new policy regarding placement of campaign lawn signs in Norwalk.” That statement was judged to be of questionable accuracy, causing a reluctance to publish the letter.

“After getting inquiries for clarification on why DWP was removing signs from both public spaces and private properties, Mayor Rilling responded on September 21st that he had just advised DWP to only remove signs on public property but to leave private properties alone as is usually done,” Hargrove wrote to NoN, explaining why she felt “new policy” was justified.

“When complaints rolled in, City Hall cited an obscure zoning rule that signs should not be placed within 10 feet of a city street, but that rule has never been applicable to temporary signage.  The new policy says political signs can be placed anywhere on private property, but not on city or state property. This new policy is no different than what had been in place prior to this cycle,” Hargrove wrote in her letter to the editor.

“I didn’t announce a new policy,” Rilling said Tuesday, explaining that initially the Department of Public Works was noticing signs, and he told DPW Director Bruce Chimento to send out a notice to explain that signs would be removed.

In the 2015 election cycle, “Former Common Council member Dave McCarthy was calling all the Democratic candidates when they had a sign in a place that it shouldn’t be. We were running around and taking them down,” Rilling said.

Then Democrats would spot McCarthy signs and he’d get a phone call, Rilling said.

“It became this back and forth,” Rilling said. “… So, this time around, Bruce Chimento said ‘I’m going to send out a notice to all the candidates.’ I said, ‘OK, do that.’ Then they started taking out signs… When I found out that they were going beyond what they really needed to do, I said, ‘look, enforce the ordinance the way it is supposed to be enforced. You can’t take a sign off private property,’ and he understood that.”

McCarthy did not reply to an email from NancyOnNorwalk.

“As I recall, that was the dynamic in District E, with Mr. McCarthy driving the dialogue,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho said Tuesday in an email.

“I would be foolish – foolish – to order somebody to go pick signs and say ‘pick up the Republican signs,’” Rilling said. “I would be foolish to tell them ‘don’t pick up my signs.’”

Chimento said that DPW was enforcing city ordinance 21-18.

“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 ordinance states, going on to list a series of exceptions.

“The outside limits of any street or highway” refers to the city’s right-of-way, Chimento said in an email.

“I don’t know of any policy coming out of the Mayor’s office concerning this. The signs that were collected included all signs not just campaign signs,” Chimento said.

City ordinances go on to state that, “No permit for a sign shall be issued until an application therefor on forms provided by the Traffic Authority shall have been submitted to the Authority and a fee of $5 paid; no fee shall be required if the applicant is any agency or department of the City of Norwalk.”

An ordinance states that signs shall have a blue background and be of a specific size.

“The outer edge of each sign shall be not less than one foot from the curb or outer edge of the footpath. Where there are no sidewalks or footpaths, the outer edge of the sign shall be not less than two feet from the edge of the paved or traveled portion of the street or highway,” an ordinance states.

Torrano served on the Traffic Authority for eight years and was an advisor to former Mayor Richard Moccia. NoN asked Torrano about the ordinances and the possibility that Rilling ordered opposition campaign signs to be removed.

“During my eight years on the traffic authority the issue of political lawn signs never came up,” Torrano wrote. “I believe that these ordinances pertain to business signage and the like and signs that would be considered permanent or fixed. Political signs, to the best of my knowledge are considered freedom of speech and do not fall under this ordinance. If they did then the part saying ‘no less than one foot from the curb’ would be counter to the 10 foot setback.”

He continued, “As for the mayor ordering the removal of opposition signage I have serious doubts about that. I don’t think he could ask city employees to do so without some of them balking at that order and speaking out.”

He later added, “The sign I put on the lawn on my previous house on Dry Hill was taken down along with other signs on neighbors lawns. That never happened before. But I still see lots of signs on Strawberry Hill for instance that seem more in violation than mine had been. It does appear to at least be arbitrary.”

Hargrove’s letter was titled, “Signs, signs everywhere, unless it’s my competitor.”

She wrote:

“The sign raid was arbitrary when it began. It targeted mostly Republican Common Council candidates and the unaffiliated mayoral candidate, Lisa Brinton. Actions against Democrat candidates took place only after complaints about the highly selective enforcement.

“Several DPW employees disclosed that the orders to remove the signs had come from City Hall. They were very quick to deny that Mayor Rilling had been personally involved. But this may only be for self-preservation. Regardless, the citizens of Norwalk deserve an apology from the Mayor.  “He is the man in charge of his administration and all City departments.

“Some folks believe political signs are an eyesore and that their removal is not a big deal. But there are bigger issues at work here.

“It costs taxpayers money to enforce such a policy during normal working hours. In this instance, the entire department, including supervisors, had been mobilized to conduct the raid. … Norwalk has an easement over every property on a city street. The easement can be anywhere from three feet to 10 feet in width depending on the width of the city street.  Many folks that we talked felt that city employees were trespassing on their property.  Several Republican candidates alerted me that DPW employees were taking legally placed signs on private property.

“We live in a participatory democracy. Folks who allow candidates to place signs in their yard are doing so because they want to participate in the electoral process. They are exercising their right of free speech – to support a candidate of their choice. The City leaders summarily denied this right of free speech.

“Ironically, the City’s advertising to promote an upcoming open house at the DPW exhorts us to ‘follow the signs’ to Smith Street. I am sure placement of these signs will be on City and State property as well as private property inside and outside of right of ways. DPW needs to explain that advertising relative to other temporary signs placed to advertise charitable events, local businesses, lost animals, and tag sales.

“Nowhere in the City ordinances are temporary signs codified. This oversight should be rectified immediately after the election. I am sure the new ordinance committee of the Common Council and the new mayor will work hard to serve the people of Norwalk.”

24 comments

Al Bore October 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

It is so much better this year that the signs are not littering the streets and will hopefully come down right after the election. It should be equal for all the candidates for sign placement and removal. Great ordinance we need more please enforce the removal after the election is over, also the same enforcement for signs people put up all over the city for boat storage, sweet corn, tag sales, ect.

Rem October 5, 2017 at 8:22 am

Eh… I understand the compliant but really in 2017 are political signs so important? It does add character to the neighborhood (just as tag sale signs, etc) and it reminds me that people actually live here and not merely squirreled away in their private enclaves. If anything I wish there were *more* signs of all kinds because despite being on mailing lists I seem to miss out a lot on what happens around town. That being said, while political signs show who’s running and who’s supported where, there isn’t enough to go on on the signs to make an informed decision (I realize it’s an exercise of free speech but the sign is also a form of advertising). The who, what and why in the form of written political statements, video, public debates would be a lot more meaningful… Anyway, who knows in 20 years this may be all a footnote in societal history…

Debora Goldstein October 5, 2017 at 9:03 am

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

Bruce Chimento is STILL enforcing an ordinance for which enforcement lies with the Building Inspector.

The enforcement provisions for Chapter 21-18 reference the Building Inspector, not the Public Works Director.

The only ordinance for which the DPW director has enforcement discretion is 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].

While on the subject of fact-checking, its about time someone fact-checked Mr. Chimento’s statement about sending notice to “all the campaigns” “before” commencing enforcement.

City employees should be held to the same standards as opinion pieces by readers (or higher, since the average citizen isn’t paid to know and implement City policy).

Full Disclosure October 5, 2017 at 9:20 am

Seems to me the signs say little about the candidates but more about the people who stick them on their front lawns.

Jeff October 5, 2017 at 9:40 am

It is very simple to me – if you know the setback is between 3 and 10 feet throughout the city, obviously you shouldn’t place signs within 3 feet of the street. Even today on my drive to work there are several candidates who haven’t figured this out.

Quit blaming the enforcers of this ordinance – as our fellow poster Donna said in a comment on a different article (on an unrelated topic): “People wouldn’t be panicking if they’d followed the allowable procedures from the start.”

Donna Smirniotopoulos October 5, 2017 at 9:43 am

@Rem, signs are important. For the most part we’ve not even aware of the impact signs have on our brains when we see them. For example, the more Rilling signs people see, the more popular people assume he is. And people sometimes mistake popularity for competence. When you’re the sitting mayor, and dozens of your opponent’s signs vanish under the direction of the Department of Public Works, you probably have some faith in the power of campaign signs. Isabelle Hargrove was correct to call the mayor out on this seemingly arbitrary and incorrect application of sign ordinances.

If you need more convincing, Exhibit A in “You Just Proved that Signs Work” in my area were the STOP FIRETREE signs that still make their way into the local papers. Other handpaited signs in the Quintard neighborhood were not only picked up by the local press, but proved critical to getting the word out, resulting in great turnout at ZBA meetings.

@Nancy, I’m not sure why Isabelle Hargrove’s LTE is merely quoted above rather than presented as a stand-alone.

Victor Cavallo October 5, 2017 at 9:51 am

Our Corporation Counsel should run a seminar for our Public Works Director and his eager sign pullers on 42 U.S.C §1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. Attorney Coppola will know why facing the possibility a “1983” action sends shivers down any government lawyer’s spine. The suppression of political speech, as here, is remediable under “1983” not only by injunctive relief but also by money damages and attorneys fees. Pulling political signs can buy Norwalk a big fat law suit, especially if there’s evidence that the signs from those candidates of a certain political affiliation are being targeted. One candidate has already made that connection a few weeks ago.

David McCarthy October 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

I’m traveling for work, so I didn’t have a chance to reply.

While it is true that I did contact various campaigns in the last election when their signs were blatantly on public property (traffic islands etc) I fail to see how that relates to the misuse of public employees to trespass and restrict free speech in collecting campaign signs from obviously PRIVATE property. In fact, it seems the mayor is making a case for what might have been done…if there was an issue the campaigns could have been contacted and told to fix the issue rather than the one sided collection effort. As it is, it seems the campaigns have not even received the fictitious letter explaining why the collection happened.

In this case, I may also have an extremely rare disagreement with my good friend Pete Torrano. While he is right that the mayor wouldn’t likely be able to approach a number of PW employees without running into a complaint, he only needed to approach one and the rest flowed from there.

This is the first time DPW has ever enforced zoning codes (however erroneously) and the poor (and shifting) attempts to explain why these actions took place (it’s a right of way…it’s zoning…it’s a snow shelf) reveal the underlying issue for what it is. I was going to FOIA for emails to see if they were foolish enough to mention this in on record, but having been caught so blatantly, I have to think this is over.

David McCarthy October 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

I also must join Donna in decrying this new policy of either debating op-Eds (as Nancy did with me before relenting) or only presenting a portion and trying to spin the piece into something supportive. Either print them or don’t. Editing for length (really? it’s the net) or according to a set of rules (namecalling) may be somewhat acceptable. In the immediate past I’ve had mine parenthetically assaulted with editorial opinions and now this. No wonder readership and donations are drying up. Just my opinion.

Donna Smirniotopoulos October 5, 2017 at 11:17 am

@Jeff, read Debora Goldstein’s comment above about enforcement. Bruce Chimento has been enforcing an ordinance that is the Building Inspector’s to enforce. DPW workers were instructed to take anything that looked like it was in the public right of way. There is no blanket 10 foot rule. The set backs for the public right of way vary from 3 to 30 feet. And you’d have to look at your survey to know what you measurement was, which means that the enforcement was ARBITRARY at best. DPW workers were not asked to look at surveys to determine which signs on public property were in the public right of way setback.

@Full Disclosure, if political yard signs say more about the homeowner than they do the candidate, what do the crumbling sidewalks on Quintard Avenue say about the City and the Mayor? Those sidewalks are the City’s to maintain. The only sidewalk on Quintard that’s had a makeover is the one in front of #17, owned by Firetree, LTD.

Jeff October 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

@Donna, my comment said signs shouldn’t be within 3 feet of the street, which candidates are still struggling to comprehend. Do you not agree with this? Your comment says the setbacks vary from 3 to 30 feet, so wouldn’t a blanket 3 foot rule make sense?

I read Deb’s comments. Her interpretation that the setback is not included in “all public grounds, streets, highways, sidewalks, and other thoroughfares” is a reach in my opinion.

Wallace October 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Boo-hoo-hoo… You all sound like a bunch of crybabies.

For all the nonsense in regards to the signs, we still have no idea what each candidates platform is.

All sizzle and no substance.

Nancy Chapman October 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Dave,

NON values and publishes reader opinion. NON is also committed to accuracy. We will not publish an opinion piece that contains statements we know to be inaccurate.

This letter was a conundrum. I didn’t want to squelch Ms. Hargrove’s opinion but I knew her initial statement that “mayor’s office recently announced a new policy regarding placement of campaign lawn signs in Norwalk” was not accurate. I contacted her and we failed to resolve the situation. This solution seemed better than simply rejecting the piece. The intention was not to attack.

I’m not sure the basis for your statement that “readership and donations are drying up”. Donations are relatively steady and readership is actually up.

I don’t recall “debating with you” about your op-ed. I asked one question and, satisfied with your answer, ran your letter to the editor.

I am told that the New York Times’ editorial policy is to question letter writers if a submission is factually inaccurate, which is what I did in both these cases.

Thank you for sharing your opinion and for your continued readership.

Debora Goldstein October 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm

The point is that the setback is explicitly invoked in the ordinance the DPW director is choosing to enforce (which is properly enforced by the building inspector)it also specifies fees for signs.
.
The ordinance that he has the discretion to enforce has a safety objective and a reasonableness standard. Even if the DPW director believes otherwise, it is not remotely reasonable to dedicate so many city resources to removing signs from 3 feet inside the private property line in the name of safety to passing pedestrians…which is why its never been done before.

The fact remains that this ill-conceived enforcement action is providing cover for wanton criminal theft. In years past, a campaign could file a police report for theft. Now its assumed that your signs all have gone by way of Smith st and that you’ll get them back. It is simply not the case here. Signs are being stolen, not just “enforced”.

And, when does it end? Should DPW take it upon themselves to enforce parking regs? It matters when your administration doesn’t understand it’s responsibilities…and it ought to matter to you on election day.

Debora Goldstein October 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Wallace,

How best to address your need to hear platforms?

It’s not as if there aren’t numerous op-eds in both media outlets from many candidates. Web sites for the Mayoral candidates? Check.

There will be forums and debates over the coming weeks in every area of the city. And I am sure there will be questionnaires by the media, as there has been in the past.

if you reach out to a candidate, many have been known to answer questions directly…just sayin’.

Bryan Meek October 5, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Meanwhile on your other thread popular here recently, paid political operatives are allowed to anonymously disparage unpaid volunteers with inaccuracies and mean vindictive statements without ever being edited or fact checked, as long as they belong to a certain political party.

I’m not sure what Congress had in mind when they established section 501c3, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest it was for churches and charities and not blogs that protect certain political speech.

Jeff October 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

@Debora If your comment was directed to me, I also agree that signs 3 feet inside the property line should not be removed, either by DPW (or other city departments) or common thieves.

@Bryan Your comment got me thinking – as a registered independent and someone who does not follow each campaign sufficiently closely to know who the paid political operatives or unpaid volunteers are, it would be helpful if they were required to identify themselves when posting here. Perhaps with some type of signature at the end “____ is a volunteer for ___ campaign.” Etc..

@Nancy The full piece is posted elsewhere and I agree with your decision. Lets limit the unfounded conspiracy theories to the comments section! And thank you for running this site – I feel like I know more about what is happening in Norwalk than at any other point in my years living here.

Bob Welsh October 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm

@Bryan Meek

Are you saying you’re unhappy that standards are higher for Letters to the Editor than they are for anonymous comments?

When people comment anonymously, how would Nancy know what party they belong to?

David McCarthy October 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Nancy, just so we are clear, help me understand your statement. The comment you chose to debate me on was my statement that “part of the Aquarium is going to be destroyed” which is documented fact. We went back and forth via email, so yes, debate. You were trying to excuse that fact because you had been told in the hallway by an unnamed source that it was going to be rebuilt. I pointed out that any intentions had a long way and tens of millions of dollars to go before becoming reality before you relented.

You may not understand (or admit to) your biases, but it does not mean you aren’t very openly biased.

Ms. Hargrove’s statement’s veracity is in the eye of the beholder depending on your understanding of puppetry and grasp on reality.

Donna Smirniotopoulos October 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm

@Bob Welsh, people do have to list their email addresses. Nancy could in theory identify even anonymous posters. Or the comments policy could be altered to prevent anonymous comments. Bryan and Mike Lyons were unfairly maligned on another thread. And I suspect given the content that the poster was someone trying to help their guy get re-elected.

I realize the LTE put Nancy in a pickle. Another option could have been a disclaimer. Two LTEs have been posted from the same source titled Palace Purge I and II. In these letters, the author floats expansive conspiracy theories. Again I respect that Nancy has an overwhelming task. And she made an effort to work with the writer on the content. But LTEs don’t have to be fact checked.

Nancy Chapman October 5, 2017 at 8:04 pm

1. I did not get information in a hallway.
2. Readers can decide for themselves whether Mr. McCarthy and I had a debate. Here is the email exchange: 

From: Dave McCarthy < Date: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 5:51 PM To: Nancy Chapman
Subject: Re: Submission

I missed that, sorry. Not sure I put much “stock” in Stocker. 

Dave

On Sep 17, 2017, at 5:09 PM, Nancy Chapman wrote:
In my more recent story, Liz Stocker said the state will rebuild the IMAX theater. But you are right, Dave Sigworth said nothing has been finalized yet. So, fair enough, I’ll print this without further questioning. 
 
Thanks,
Nancy Chapman, editor, publisher
NancyOnNorwalk.com
 
 
From: Dave McCarthy < Date: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 3:34 PM To: Nancy Chapman
Subject: Re: Submission
 
Hey Nancy
 
I think maybe you know something I don’t. There is no plan that I can find online to replace anything. There are certainly no zoning approvals or any other project plans or funding in place. The statement I made is correct as far as I know. In the future I would hope that something like that happens, but to the crux of the piece…if it does it will likely be because of citizen pressure on the state and certainly not because Harry Rilling did anything. 
 
I see a story on your site that references two unnamed sources as saying that something will happen. I don’t know that I’d change my opinion based on that.  If the mayor was demanding something by way of a guarantee from the state, or in any way publicly demanding compensation from the state for the drastic impacts on Norwalkers, that might….
 
Dave

On Sep 17, 2017, at 2:57 PM, Nancy Chapman wrote:
Dave,
 
Thanks for the submission. I will say, though, that last I heard “part of the Aquarium is going to be destroyed” but rebuilt in a better way somewhere else on the property. Therefore, not destroyed but resurrected as a better self. Do you know something I don’t? 
 
 
Nancy Chapman, editor, publisher
NancyOnNorwalk.com
 
 
From: PETER TORRANO < Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 11:18 PM To: Mark Chapman
Subject: FW: Submission
 
Request for submittal from David McCarthy.

——– Begin forwarded message ——–
Subject: Submission
Date: 09/15/17 02:50:33 PM
From: “Dave McCarthy” < To: "'Pete Torrano'" < Pete: Can you forward this to Nancy?  I stored my computer, so I don’t have her address. Dave What does out Mayor do all day? After a few recent letters I have read, the thought popped into my head.  I can’t imagine what Harry Rilling does all day.  He effectively hired someone (however inexperienced in Norwalk and municipal functions outside legal issues) to do the job of the mayor, and by all accounts, just by showing up, she is doing a better job than he is able to.  Even BOE Chair Mike Lyons complimented the deputy mayor, or assistant to the mayor, or whatever the title is, and all she did was walk back and forth between the BOE and union groups while the mayor was off flip-flopping on school repair policies. The mayor certainly isn’t representing Norwalk.  We all know he said he would go to Hartford and fight for more ECS money every day before he was elected.  When he won, he never went, and instead said all our hope rested in a court case.  The court case happened, but the governor is taking away money left and right and threatening to raid our rainy day fund, so that’s not going too well. He certainly isn’t fighting for neighborhoods.  He was willing to settle and let the mosque be built 24 hours before the council leadership forced the settlement that led to the city buying the property.  I was in the room… He certainly doesn’t spend much time on the Walk Bridge.  It has already claimed parts of our city, it will tie traffic up, make it difficult to do business, have an impact on all of us, and part of the Aquarium is going to be destroyed.  When there were discussions, Mayor Harry was going to stand up for us and he hired lawyers and spent some money.  Now that the project is steamrolling Norwalk, we realize that all he did was spend money and got nothing to show for it.  When the governor told him to be quiet and sit down, that’s exactly what he did…and now a citizen run board is having to do what our mayor should be doing and fighting Hartford. He certainly hasn’t spent any time on the schools.  He avoided the Board meetings like the plague, not attending any of them to speak of until he was called on it.  He fought the changeover to the new healthcare plan and actively campaigned against the board’s well researched construction and repair program in favor of an ill thought out nonsense approach put together by someone with zero experience in facilities management.  The fact that he seemed to take credit for the BOE’s progress, which happened entirely in spite of his efforts, literally made me laugh when I heard it. He didn’t spend any time on the Library…actively turning down the opportunity to purchase the neighboring lot, then panic buying it for twice its value and now seemingly botching that deal…a deal that could have been handled with a boilerplate option agreement…  maybe we are better off when our mayor doesn’t get involved. Our mayor, Ribbon Cutting Rilling, a neighbor and friend called him this week…doesn’t seem to do anything but continuously campaign and eschew responsibility…ever ask him a question?  He is the head, the CEO of Norwalk, but every person I speak to has a story of something he is just not aware of, not responsible for, unable to fix, change, or even talk about.  Rudderless Rilling?  I am not sure his boat is allowed to touch the water…his metaphorical boat that is, his real one is just fine. Between the giveaways to developers, caving in to Hartford, not doing anything to make our schools run any better (and quite frankly, playing a part in supporting a scheme that would have made them worse) I still don’t know what our mayor does besides shake hands all day.  Unless it takes time to get checks from Staten Island Russian Developers, then I definitely know what he is doing all day. I don’t see any plans for Norwalk, nor any demonstration of leadership.  Yet, when anyone dares criticize our Fundraiser-in-Chief, we are being mean to him!  We don’t know about all the secret meetings he has to go to!  We don’t know about everything he is doing behind closed doors to let things run on autopilot.  The pressure that the next cut from the state or the inevitable downgrade from the ratings agencies after the rainy day fund gets tapped might happen before the election must be terrible.   David McCarthy

Bob Welsh October 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

@Donna

You’re a perceptive reader, and you discerned that the comments maligning Bryan Meek and Mike Lyons were mostly opinion and… shall we say… light on fact. Mike Lyons responded the best way possible, with facts. I believe NON has other perceptive readers in addition to you who are able to discern the value of anonymous, potentially self-interested opinions as compared to facts from people who sign their full names.

I’m glad we agree that Nancy has an overwhelming task. Perhaps you think she could make her life a little easier if she didn’t consider the accuracy of Letters to the Editor before publishing. She probably could, if she reduced her commitment to the accuracy of NON’s content. Some might criticize this commitment. I choose to celebrate it.

Donna Smirniotopoulos October 5, 2017 at 8:48 pm

@Bob Welsh, I wonder if it’s necessary to fact-check LTEs. The “Palace Purge I & II” submissions were filled with elaborate conspiracy theories. The author claimed that a classified State Department memo written by George Kennan in 1948 became part of the State Department’s “Mission Statement”. The implication was that the Military Industrial Complex exists to protect Capitalism’s ill-gotten gain from the poor people who need it. This document was top secret until 1973. Calling Kennan’s quote part of a “Mission Statement” was pure conjecture. Mr. Kennan is long dead and cannot sue NoN for defamation. But there was very little fact-checking on that LTE. So if there is a policy regarding truthfulness, it ought to be consistently applied. Isabelle Hargrove believes that Harry Rilling orchestrated the DPW campaign sign sweep. Whether or not the readers believe it does not prohibit Isabelle from making that claim. And again, Mr. Albertson has been given a great deal of latitude regarding implausible conjectures. Why draw the line here?

I hope the NoN board can weigh these things when reading public comments claiming bias. I do not think there is overt, intentional bias. But I am dismayed from time to time by the appearance of bias, my great respect for this product and for Nancy notwithstanding.

V October 6, 2017 at 9:11 am

Interesting to note that as I sat at the light at Wall street & Main street this morning at 8am there was a Large garbage receptacle almost like a miniature dumpster that was FLIPPED INTO THE ROAD WAY and 2 guys in a Department of Public Works dump truck drove right by it! Yet taking time to remove campaign signs should be more important for what reason? Public Safety?? If anything called for removal it should be a garbage dumpster that was laying in the street!

I regret not recording the truck ID #

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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.