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Malloy’s handmaidens

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Norwalk has a problem with its representation up there in Hartford, where state laws are made.  Apart from a few notable exceptions, it stinks.

State Sen. Bob Duff and State Reps Bruce Morris and Chris Perone are all elected to represent Norwalk’s interests.  Our mayor, Harry Rilling, also is supposed to be a voice for Norwalk in Hartford, though he obviously has no vote on legislation.  

And yet, in critical areas of taxing and spending, all four of these men regularly violate their supposed allegiance to their constituents and to their city.  It seems their first loyalty is to Gov. Dannel Malloy, then to the majority of their fellow Democrats, and then to Norwalk — maybe, if anything is left.

We are in the middle of a stark example of their disloyalty to Norwalk.  (To Darien, too, in the case of Duff, whose district covers both towns.)  Look at their support for Malloy’s veto of the legislature’s bipartisan-passed budget.  That budget contained no new tax increases while preserving the usual revenue sharing formulas with municipalities.

With Malloy’s veto comes a potentially devastating cut to funding for Norwalk’s public schools.  Estimates of the cut range from $5 million to $10 million.  If current programs in our schools are to be maintained, that money would have to be made up by steep hikes in already high Norwalk property taxes. Practically every Norwalk resident would feel the pain, especially our school kids, teachers, and their parents.

Yet Rilling, Duff, Morris, and Perone couldn’t wait to get into lock-step behind Malloy’s veto.  Rilling later tried to backtrack – saying he didn’t really agree with it “per say” — after being called out on it by Republican mayoral candidate Andy Conroy.  Guess it depends on what the meaning of “per se” is.

In the same slippery fashion, all four have been very good at keeping their constituents in the dark about their supporting roles for virtually all the governor’s tax and regulatory policies — policies that have snuffed out job growth in Connecticut.

If not for the Norwalk-area Republican representatives — Gail Lavielle, Fred Wilms, and Terrie Wood — Norwalk would have even weaker representation in Hartford.  Lavielle, Wilms, Wood, and like-minded representatives have been gaining strength in the State Assembly in recent elections, but they need reinforcements.

Malloy and the legislature might eventually break the current stalemate and come up with some sort of makeshift budget agreement, but it will most likely feature yet another set of tax increases — the third in Malloy’s tenure as governor.  But no one honestly believes that adding to the burdens of people and businesses will do anything but deepen the crisis in Connecticut’s finances.

While the allegiance of Rilling, Duff, Morris, and Perone is to Malloy rather than Norwalk, Malloy’s own allegiance is to the bosses of the state’s public employee unions.  And therein lies the source of the stink, not to mention simple, slavish partisanship.

Bill Dunne

Norwalk

6 comments

Rem October 19, 2017 at 8:11 am

Hi Bill, do you remember Governor Rowland? The Republican governor convicted for fraud and who resigned in 2004? Got free upgrades for his lakeside cottage? Served 10 months in federal prison? While I’m sure area Republicans are free of taint, neither political party can seem to shake itself free from the allure of corruption. Maybe it says something about us as a state, certainly Waterbury is infamous as it is for crooked politicians, as that corrupt mayor from Bridgeport (Ganim) who got reelected after serving time, so I guess it’s not so surprising that Hartford has it too. Maybe people don’t really care because they’d do it too if they were elected into office??

Nora K King October 19, 2017 at 8:20 am

People seem to forget that Rowland got us into this mess and the union contracts, Rell was asleep up there. What did she do? Nothing! Not one thing. Malloy was never the right choice but the Democratic Party wouldn’t let anyone else have that role. The entire mess is due to party loyalty up in Hartford. It is time we stop with the Republican versus Democrats and get someone up in Hartford that actually understands how to run the state. Some of these folks we elect have never even managed a business. I am so done with the party system. It isn’t working.

Al Bore October 19, 2017 at 8:34 am

I agree is does not work however the status quo political swamp will never let it go away. It does not matter what the voting citizens want the politicians control politics. Please remember on behalf of our men and woman in the armed forces boycott the NFL.

Isabelle Hargrove October 19, 2017 at 9:19 am

It speaks volume that the only defense for Messrs. Malloy and Duff is to divert attention to the sins of Mr. Rowland who left office in 2004, 13 years ago.

Maybe that’s the problem, Malloy and Duff didn’t get the memo that they have been in charge since then and were elected to move CT forward. During the last 13 years, they have done nothing but compound the problem. Business and people are fleeing, taxes are at a historic high, we face a $3.5B deficit, our state employee pensions are chocking us while remaining some of the most unfunded pensions in the country, and our economy lags behind the rest of the country.

All of it is indefensible and impacts Norwalk’s property values, job market and puts our town gravely at risk of suffering dire financial fallouts.

Yet, Mayor Rilling, unlike other Democrat mayors around the State, continues to follow the party blindly. I recognize that he is in a tough spot, but we need leadership that is not beholden to failed party politics. Our town has a bright future, but only with a mayor who will be free to put Norwalk, not party, first.

Missy Conrad October 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Gov Jodi Rell was in office for six years or so after Gov Rowland & followed his no-tax policy & not paying into the pension fund. She even allowed the closing of state parks rather than raise the $ for them. Gov Malloy has welcomed immigrants, as the Bible teaches. He has pushed for judicial reform. Poor people who cannot afford bail are put into jail until their trial, for one particular example he wants to change. Gov Malloy has stood for the rights of people with God’s myriad sexual orientations. Connecticut’s municipalities’ schools are separate & unequal, segregated. Parent & community groups help their local schools. Teachers in Norwalk’s neighboring towns do not have so many poor students. Administrators at hospitals earn high salaries but do not receive the criticism.
With the tax increases, Gov Malloy has led us in the aftermath of the Great Recession without slashing social services up to now. We, the blessed & strong, can share with our fellow Connecticut residents who are in need. People are leaving Connecticut also because it is so expensive to live here. Gov Malloy formed a Dept of Housing to help address that crisis. I remember our AIDS outreach worker telling that her clients’ biggest worry was Housing. A recent economic study told that the 1% of people in that economic bracket gained 17% after the Great Recession, while all the rest of us lost 2%. Please do read The Connecticut Post & The Norwalk Hour of Oct 15 that both report on income inequality. And, also, please reflect on our nation’s spending on the military & especially on modernizing nuclear weapons that can never be used. It is idolatry to put our faith in horrible nuclear weapons; it is apostasy to even threaten to blow up our one beautiful Earth with its one atmosphere & connected water supply of which we humans are supposed to be stewards; & it is simply a stupid waste of resources & money.

Beaches October 20, 2017 at 10:32 am

The past is the past. Yes we know about what Governor Rowland did. Governor Malloy and our local representatives have to go. Sen. Duff and Sen. Brue Morris. None of these government employees have done anything for Norwalk. This includes Mayor Rilling. No wonder why people are moving out of CT and Norwalk.

We need a new fresh Governor, State Representatives and definitely a new Mayor in Norwalk (who just took an increase). Shame on him!

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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.