Updated, 6:46 a.m., 5:58 a.m.: Copy edits, revised headline
NORWALK, Conn. – Some election-related items for you:
- Meek blasts Duff for out-of-district billboard
- Sign size, shape, position, and… theft?
- Hosten ‘earns top marks from Connecticut Education Association’
Meek blasts Duff’s Bridgeport billboard
Marc D’Amelio’s campaign treasurer blasted D’Amelio’s opponent Wednesday for spending public campaign funds on an electronic billboard in Bridgeport.
Bryan Meek told NancyOnNorwalk that he saw an electronic billboard promoting Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) next to Interstate 95 (I-95) in Bridgeport.
“It’s a tremendous abuse of taxpayer dollars,” because the sign is “out of district,” Meek wrote in a text to NoN.
Google maps pegs the distance from Duff’s Senate district to Bridgeport as more than 11 miles.
Duff, like many other candidates, is participating in Connecticut’s state-financed election program designed to limit the influence of outside money. Candidates must collect small donations in order to qualify for a state grant, which in Duff’s case was $95,000, Meek said.
NoN drove to Bridgeport to see the sign, but couldn’t find it.
Asked about the Bridgeport sign, Duff campaign manager Mary Pugh told NancyOnNorwalk that the campaign has used electronic billboards, but does not have any up currently.
Meek charged that Duff’s out-of-district billboard reflects “higher aspirations at our expense.” Pugh declined to comment on Meek’s criticism.
D’Amelio is also participating in the public financing program. Meek is a Republican member of the Norwalk Board of Education.
About those campaign signs
NancyOnNorwalk drove more than 14 miles around Norwalk on Tuesday looking for campaign signs that might be on City property or otherwise violating the City’s sign ordinance.
On Monday the City issued a press release reminding campaigns not to put signs on City property, and that “signs placed behind the sidewalk are permitted. If there is no sidewalk, signs must be placed at least ten feet from the curb.”
There are signs less than 10 feet from the curb all over Norwalk. Signs for Republican State Senate candidate Marc D’Amelio seem to violate the city’s sign ordinance, which states that signs shall be “rectangular and one of the following dimensions: 12 inches by 24 inches, 18 inches by 24 inches.”
D’Amelio has distinctive circular signs with a 27-inch diameter and a few banner-like signs measuring nearly four feet across.
Norwalk Ordinance Enforcement Officer Ed Schwartz on Wednesday indicated that there’s “one” campaign with signs that are not in conformance, but all he’s worried about is the location of the signs. If they’re in the wrong place, he’ll take them out, he said.
Confiscated signs go to the Public Works Center. There were two campaign signs for Democratic incumbent State Senator Bob Duff and one Doug Stern for Probate Judge sign in the Public Works Center on Tuesday, along with a few signs advertising events that had already happened. Workers said former Department of Public Works Director Bruce Chimento, who retired recently, had pulled up the Duff signs because they were in the wrong places.
The only sign spotted by NoN on public property was a D’Amelio sign at the Norwalk Senior Center.
“We cannot control what supporters or detractors do with our signs and we have no issue with DPW removing illegally placed signs,” D’Amelio campaign manager Isabelle Hargrove said in an email. “Our campaign uses an app to fill requests submitted by residents. We do not place signs on public property or on private property without the expressed consent of the property owner. Our process is apparently much different than Bob Duff’s judging from his recent public disclaimer alerting people to contact him if they want unwanted signs removed from their yard. I am guessing Bob subscribes to the ‘better ask for forgiveness than permission’ adage, we don’t.”
Duff campaign manager Mary Pugh declined to comment.
“We have received great feedback on our signs and we are grateful that so many residents and businesses are excited about Marc’s campaign,” Hargrove said.
DPW workers aren’t the only ones pulling up signs. A reader pointed NancyOnNorwalk to video posted by Republican candidate for Judge of Probate Larry Cafero in which a person emerges from a car and pulls up a Cafero yard sign. “Come on! Support who you want. No need to steal signs from private property,” Cafero wrote under the video.
Hosten ‘makes the grade’
District 140 State Representative candidate Colin Hosten has received an Honor Roll designation from the Connecticut Education Association, a press release said.
Hosten is running as a Democrat on the Working Families Party line against the Democratically-endorsed Common Council member Travis Simms and Republican John Flynn.
“It is indeed an honor to receive this Honor Roll designation,” the release quotes Hosten as saying. “As the son of career public school teachers, I believe we owe it to our kids to make sure our schools are properly funded. No child should be robbed of educational opportunities because of his or her ZIP code. That’s why I support the plan to build more classroom space in South Norwalk—especially since the proposal includes a larger and more versatile playing field for neighborhood children. This will be the first public school built in Norwalk in almost 50 years. It still baffles me that Councilman Travis Simms voted against it.”
Simms has repeatedly voted against the plan to build a magnet school behind the Nathaniel Ely Center, on the grounds that it would lead to loss of open space. The City is replacing the open space with a land swap that includes land next to Norwalk Community College; the swap has been criticized for the new parcel’s distance from South Norwalk.
The release said that CEA President Jeff Leake praised Hosten’s support for issues important to teachers and students, including the “fundamental right of teachers to collectively bargain.” The organization currently has 43,000 active and retired members throughout the state, it said.