Norwalk political notes: Electoral items

Unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton speaks her mind last week at the Norwalk Harbor Commission’s State of the Harbor meeting.

It’s already time to think about 2019.

Updated, 7:48 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Brinton makes a pitch to Republicans
  • Mushak notes redistricting that puts Hosten in E
  • Wells talks voter turnout


Brinton addresses Republican Town Committee meeting

“It’s too early to speculate on endorsements,” unaffiliated mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton wrote on Dec. 3, the day she publicly announced her candidacy.  But a week before filing paperwork at the Town Clerk’s office, Brinton attended the Nov. 26 Republican Town Committee meeting to tell them about her plans to run.  She also told RTC members that she had “re-registered as an independent,” she wrote in a Dec. 11 e-mail to NancyOnNorwalk.

Republican District D Vice-Chair Kelly Straniti, who ran for Mayor in 2015 and was at the RTC meeting where Brinton spoke, recently told NancyOnNorwalk she “wouldn’t be surprised” if a Republican candidate steps forward in January or February.  If that happens, Republicans will need to decide whether to support Brinton, as some want to, or a registered Republican.  Republican activist and Board of Education member Bryan Meek is acting as Brinton’s campaign treasurer.

Brinton sought the Republican endorsement during her unsuccessful 2017 run as an unaffiliated candidate.  The party considered endorsing her, but ultimately did not, and some prominent Republicans publicly abandoned the party’s endorsed candidate, Andy Conroy, in favor of Brinton.  Mayor Harry Rilling, a Democrat, won that race with 56 percent of the vote; Brinton came in second with 22.4 percent, and Conroy came in third with 15.2 percent.  Petitioning Democratic candidate Bruce Morris took 6.3 percent.

During the 2018 campaign Brinton supported Republican State Senate candidate Marc D’Amelio and changed her registration from unaffiliated to Republican.  She said the short-lived switch was to vote in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary.



District B

Geographically, Colin Hosten lives “in what is always considered South Norwalk even though redistricting put that in District E,” Mike Mushak said at the Dec. 3 District B Democrats meeting. “I don’t think of Colin as a Rowayton resident and I don’t think the people of Village Creek think of themselves as Rowayton residents, or District E.”

The District E lines isolate Village Creek from other voters, as it’s impossible for them to drive to District E without driving through B. Wilson Point, which is across the water, is also in E and borders on District B2.

Mushak commented that some South Norwalk voters are expected to cast ballots at Marvin Elementary School during state elections.

“That was done 20 years ago,” District B Chairman Bobby Burgess said. “Otha Brown was our state representative and a lot of people thought he had too much power. So, he lived in Shorefront Park so that’s where the line was cut off. He had to vote in East Norwalk.”




Voter turnout

Local voter turnout was up anywhere between 133 percent to 180 percent, when you compare this year’s election to the last non-Presidential election in 2014.

NancyOnNorwalk’s research shows that 2018 was up over 2014 by:

  • District 25: 146 percent
  • District 137: 156 percent
  • District 140: 182 percent
  • District 141: 137 percent
  • District 142: 141 percent
  • District 143: 122 percent


That huge number in District 140 reflects a hot race, with Travis Simms running against two competitors to become State Representative this year, versus 2014 when State Rep. Bruce Morris ran unopposed for reelection.

Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said:

Here is a list of Connecticut’s 6 largest cities, listed by number of registered voters. Note that Norwalk, is fifth on this list and third in total voter turnout (second in percentage). These are all the cities with over 50,000 registered voters. Danbury and West Hartford have just under 41,000 registered and everyone else has less than 40,000. Many of the smaller municipalities have a higher turnout percentage – mostly because their populations include a lower percentage of apartment dwellers and a higher percentage of home owners than the major cities. Apartment dwellers are generally younger and move around a lot compared to home owners. Younger citizens do not vote in the same percentage as older citizens and it takes a while for us to catch up to them when they have moved out of town. Consequently their numbers are over-counted in the voter base. Both these factors make the overall turnout percentage lower for the larger cities.


A chart prepared by Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells.


Ken December 18, 2018 at 6:45 am

Hopefully the Republicans will put up a real candidate. The last thing Norwalk needs is Lisa. If you think Harry is bad just wait.

Lisa Brinton December 18, 2018 at 6:47 am

There is no D or R way for an executive to run a municipality. Political tribalism vs. professional management is why we continue to financially suffer. Norwalk IS at a cross roads. We’re the best city in the state, but our historical and maritime soul is being dismantled along with any form of democracy.

If Republicans run a candidate, it means a fourth term for Harry. Instead, focus on the council because damage wouldn’t be as severe, if not for a rubber stamp 14-1 council:

Consider: 1) the expensive, self serving, sworn loyalty empire building in the mayor’s office, 2) giving him a pass on the $900k Chinese scam cover-up, 3) building fortress apartments and traffic versus smaller scaled development, 4) failing to protect the city and river against the DOT Walk Bridge, 5) engaging in expensive lawsuits to cover up city hall mistakes, 6) giving a pass on the botched revaluation, 7) not working WITH the school system, 8) adding another layer of $1M staff, 9) the continued $15M push for tax credits for friends.

I’ll exercise financial common sense to not add more burden on home owners funding city hall. I’ll also be inclusive, transparent and accountable. Norwalk is desperate for executive leadership focused on protecting our city, managing for results and residential quality of life – not a self-serving, photo op mayor.


Mike Mushak December 18, 2018 at 8:12 am

Does Lisa’s apparently newfound spirit of being “inclusive, accountable, and transparent” include blocking voting citizens from Facebook who try to hold this candidate responsible for things she says, including attacking the mayor’s marriage in an ugly childish manner which she refuses to apologize for, and which brings Norwalk politics down to a new Trumpian low point?

Are transparency and accountability are for everyone else, but not Lisa?

Does Lisa’s new “inclusive” spirit include her ongoing support of a former Republican candidate who is suing independent journalist Nancy on Norwalk in what the Norwalk Hour calls a “threat to democracy”? Does Lisa support D’Amelio’s vindictive lawsuit? Will she also sue journalists who report negatively on her? What is her position on this ugly lawsuit?

Does Lisa continue to defend her dear friend and main supporter, Dave McCarthy, who moved to Florida but continues {…} as if he still lives here making trouble? Will Lisa denounce {…} McCarthy’s distribution of ugly racist flyers on West Norwalk porches in order to try to win votes, as he did and which was widely reported on a few years ago? We never heard a peep from Lisa on this subject in the last election, even though she was asked repeatedly. So much for “transparency and accountability”!

Will Lisa also use hatred to try to win an election? Based on her {…} hatred of the mayor and almost everyone and everything in City Hall based on her comments, including her strategy to now go after the mayor’s wife, it seems the answer is yes.

Unfortunately for Lisa, Norwalk citizens have a long history of rejecting racist and sexist hatred, which is now the official Republican policy under Trump. As Lisa now begs for local Republican support, does this mean she now supports the Republican policies of protecting official corruption including Russian meddling and paying off porn stars to help steal an election, appointing judges who are opposed to women’s rights and voting rights, stealing healthcare from poor and middle class folks, demonizing LGBT folks including the official GOP platform promise to reverse marriage equality, destroying our environment, ballooning the deficit to give tax breaks to corporations who are now closing factories, destroying consumer protections, and favoring private schools over public education?

As Lisa begs for Republican support, we have to assume she also supports all these Republican policies. In the spirit of “accountability and transparency,” please tell us your positions on ALL these GOP issues. And try to do it without personally attacking me and everyone else in sight as a deflection. Can you ever comment without including petty personal attacks?

Now there’s a real test of “accountability and transparency”. And while you’re at it, please publicly apologize to the mayor and his wife for attacking their relationship. Until you do, you will be held accountable the same way you are demanding everyone else be held accountable for their words and actions.

Edited to remove insults. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

Piberman December 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

Republicans have never endorsed a Mayoral candiate with major business experience. Nor have Democarts. Which helps explain why our Grand List remains the same since 2008 despite the nation’s most vigorous post-War expansion. None of Norwalk’s elected Mayors have had the skills to oversee a $350 million budget. Nor have our Council members had similar expeience. Norwalk, CT’s only commuter City with a very small private business sector, faces a very uncertain future if it continues to elect officials without major business management expeience. Especially with a Recession on its way.

Our surrounding towns have over 1,000 homes for sale. Add in Greenwich and Stamford and we have another 1,000. Fairfield County’s home values remain 24% below 2007 levels (Courtant May 17,2018).
Our surrounding towns elect officials with major league business expeience Why not Norwalk ?

Piberman December 18, 2018 at 10:27 am

Voter turnout isn’t a causal factor explaining CT cities economic well being. Other than Stamford – CT’s only real City with ample good jobs – and Norwalk – CT’s only commuter City – have low levels of poverty. CTs other cities are among the nation’s most impoverished. Even with higher voter turnout they’d still remain impoverished.

Voter turnout is higher among Norwalk’s 5 surrounding wealthy towns where candidates are expected to have major business experience. Maybe they have something to teach us about quality of local governance and qualifications of candidates. We don’t see many from the surrounding towns moving to Norwalk to improve their “circumstances”.

Mike Mushak December 18, 2018 at 10:45 am

@piberman, don’t you think it’s a good thing Republicans and Democrats both have “never endorsed a mayoral candidate with major business experience” as you claimed in your comment above?

I mean, isn’t Trump is the most famous example of an elected official with “major business experience”? He was so good at it he and his family made millions dodging taxes as he swindled thousands of lower income renters in NYC for decades, just as he is screwing Americans now. If that’s what “major business experience” gets us, no thanks!

Read this eye-popping front page article from Sunday’s NYTimes if you dare. Perhaps you’ll think twice before demanding “major business experience” from our candidates ad nauseum {…}. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/15/us/politics/trump-tenants-taxes.html

Edited to remove an insult.

Lisa Brinton December 18, 2018 at 11:59 am

@ Mike, You are just too funny! Your non-stop, and verbose smear attempts to paint me as a ‘Trump- ette’ are hysterical, especially since the mayor has far more in common with The Donald than I do. I’ll leave it to Norwalk voters to identify the range of similarities, both from a behavioral and governance standpoint, but it really is laughable. You know what isn’t funny, being informed by my web guy that somebody has already been trying to hack my LisaForNorwalk website. Really? 🙂

Scott December 18, 2018 at 1:16 pm

@Mike Mushak, I was surprised to learn you are on the Norwalk Planning Commission. I say surprised because I see you on this site as well as other social media sites hurling insults at individuals and making gross over generalizations about conservatives and Republicans.

Given this, I found the City of Norwalk Citizen’s Guide to Code of Ethics.


Within it, I found a couple articles of note….

“Public service is a trust, and the proper operation of the City of Norwalk requires that all City officers and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, be impartial and responsible to the public. The public needs and deserves to have confidence in the integrity of the municipal government of our City. In recognition of the aforementioned principles, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics which shall apply for all City of Norwalk officers and employees.”

If you were a private citizen with no affiliation with the city and wanted to voice your opinion on these sites….so be it. However, being an appointed member of the Planning Commission, do you feel your disparaging comments reflect poorly on the commission or the city? I suspect you would say no, but I think there are many in our community who might disagree with you.

It might be something to think about before you post your next tirade.

Debora Goldstein December 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Funny, Lisa doesn’t even have an opponent yet, and people are piling on.

For the record, I was Lisa Brinton’s treasurer two years ago, and a member of the campaign’s strategy team. Lisa did not court or ask for the Republican party endorsement two years ago.

A sizable chunk of the RTC discussed whether this was something they wanted to do.

Then-contender, and ultimate nominee for the Republican Party Mayoral nomination insisted that the rules did not permit the party to nominate an Unaffiliated to their ballot, even as the party proceeded to nominate Democrats Hector Correa and Manny Langella (yes, THAT Manny Langella) to their Common Council slate.

Lisa has always said that there is no R or D way to pave a street or run a school and ran a very inclusive campaign last time around.

She wasn’t hand-picked by a small coterie of party insiders. She took her candidacy directly to the voters by collecting petition signatures from 240 or so registered voters that came about equally from Ds, Rs and Us. I note that neither the R, nor the D candidate for Mayor needs anywhere near that number of “votes” to secure a space on the ballot.

Frankly, I find it disgusting that anyone currently holding an elected or appointed office would tar an entire segment of the electorate. Once you are on a board, commission, council, whatever, you represent EVERYONE in this city–including those that aren’t registered to vote, and those who affiliate differently from yourself.

Patrick Cooper December 18, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Who would have thought an article about Norwalk Political “Notes” would answer the question, what does a landscaper do in December? Apparently, with the leaves all down, raked, and bagged – it’s up to some frothing mayoralties surrogates to throw shade.

Once again, the amateur mayor and his administration is defended by an amateur debater – who is part of it. The failed part. I won’t even unpack all the outright misrepresentations – because that is the trick & the trap – as anyone who has ever failed at 3-card monty on the boardwalk knows. Look over here, don’t look here. It’s candidly the saddest, weakest, and the most obvious political trick – distraction.

I mean, why would Lisa or anyone for that matter want to see a different leader for Norwalk? You should know, if you feel that way – you will be shamed for it – shamed. You will be told that you “hate” Norwalk, and you should leave (get in line). Because Harry IS Norwalk, not you. And if you think he is a bumbling, bungling, poor excuse for a leader – you’re just not Norwalk patriotic.

What I’m waiting for – is the defense. Not the attack – who cares – it’s a joke. I want the defense.

Why POKO? This administration now owns this – and Ned Lamont is a different animal than pay-to-play Malloy – no chance the 9 million credits go back. Mc-Doner isn’t going to fund a looser.

Why Firetree? Why Walk-Bridge? Why 1 million added cost to city hall when the state is technically broke and Norwalk taxes are going up by 4% a year? Why send 900k to the Chinese version of Spy-kids? Why the protection of a serial failure on commercial assessments? Why the earlier flip-flops on the Mall, “Fix-it-First”? Why the penchant for secrecy, NDA’s, meetings before meetings, and a partisan appointment process that places unqualified individuals on currently important committee’s? This list could reach Munchian-comment length.

No, I say Lisa – you stay true to your message for a better Norwalk. Your platform in the last election was the argument – everyone had to come to you because you were the only one who spoke about issues that folks really cared about. Given all the hallow promises made and since broken (“Fix Planning & Zoning”), there remains a path to victory that attack dogs won’t acknowledge. There are far more residents dissatisfied with the direction and performance of this mayor’s administration than they care to, dare to admit. This utterly botched revaluation and its aftermath should be a tipping point.

The clear majority of Norwalk is un-affiliated. It’s why a message of professional competence, operational orientation (versus political), transparent processes, and smart development will resonate with voters in 2019. About the same time as Mike will be raking leaves, again, preparing to distract you with new nonsense.

Piberman December 18, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Even ardent long time Norwalk Democarats often acknowledge Norwalk has inferior standards for public service than our surrounding wealthy towns where distinguished business or professional careers are required for public service. In the recent elections Norwalk voters did not support Rep. Gail Lavielle with a majority. That speaks volumes. Ms. Lavielle along with Sen. Scott Franz are arguably the two most professionally accomplished business Legislators in CT’s modern history. Norwalk has different standards.

We can also note Danbury’s Mayor was nominated for Governor of CT. Danbury, similar in size to Norwalk, spends 30% less per capita providing government services than Norwalk headed by a former Police Chief.

Norwalk homeowners repeatedly demand affordable City services. And that requires elected officials with major business management skills. Norwalk renters – 40% of the City – do not pay their full share of City services. So they have different needs from City governance. Once we get to 60% renters we have the Bridgeport solution and what homeowners want will no longer be relevant.

Norwalk pays its Mayor, aformer Police Chief, the same, $150k, as CT’s Governor. What more need be said about our highly transient City with only a very small business sector ? Standards matter if we desire high standards of governance and affordable services. That Norwalk’s elected officials are not recommended for high State office speaks volumes. We’d all benefit with City officials who would occasionally be candidates for high State office.

Mike Mushak December 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Gotta love being lectured by someone on ethics who refuses to use their real name when commenting, lol. Nice try, “Scott”!

Yes, I’ll admit I’m harsh on Republicans in my comments. Gee, you think it has anything to do with their official platform to strip rights from gay folks like me, women, and minority voters? Or how about stripping healthcare from millions? Or demonizing immigrants and stealing their children at the border as they lock them up in privately run camps being run by supporters of the president? Or denying climate change is real? Or how about dismantling environmental regulations so Long Island Sound can become a stinking cesspool again and national treasures like Alaska and our coastlines including off our own coast can be destroyed by oil and gas drilling? Or watching how they are still chanting “lock her up” at every racist rally as the top members of Trump’s campaign and cabinet are the ones getting locked up?

Oh gosh, I’m so harsh!

In the last election, I was one of the first people to demand local Republicans denounce our corrupt and racist president who is the head of the Republican Party, and who continues to enjoy an eye-popping 80% job approval rating among registered Republicans. I’m not making that up. They just love Trump!

No local Republicans running for office denounced Trump and his policies, and look what happened to them. Wilms, Boucher, Franz, Cafero, all toast. Lavielle squeaked by with what, 70 votes?

CT voters are obviously too smart to swallow that Republican message of hatred and division anymore.

When an entire political party is suffering from this kind of mass cognitive dissonance, and a local mayoral candidate named Lisa is seeking the endorsement of this party, you better believe I’ll speak to that! Like the last election, I was attacked repeatedly for speaking the truth which certainly didn’t shut me up no matter ho hard they tried.

If Lisa wants to seek the endorsement of the Republican Party and run on the Republican line on the ballot as she apparently wants to do, no matter what letter she is using after her name, she will have to accept their official policy positions and accept she will be connected to Trump who that party overwhelmingly supports to the tune of 80%.

You can’t have it both ways!

JOHN C ROMANO December 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm

SHORT AND SWEET: I agree with remarks made by Scott, Peter and Especially Pat Cooper. Pat is pretty much dead on when he speaks/writes. A good business sense as well. Also agree and find funny Lisa’s remarks. Mike, you are a unique individual. {…} It must be hard on you and all around you. But in the end, it is good to be me. For many reasons.

Edited to remove an insult. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

Ron Morris December 18, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Mike asked you some valid questions which you seem to have ignored. This is not what we need in a Mayor. Answer the questions>>>>>>>>

Paul Lanning December 18, 2018 at 8:49 pm

Trump is a criminal who scammed his way into the white house, and whose administration is systematically rolling back a century of U.S. social progress.


Norwalk’s mayoral race isn’t driven by national politics.
If anything, the conduct of Washington GOP in placing political expediency above the public good bears resemblance to the exploitation of Norwalk taxpayers by the Rilling administration’s misuse of our money.

Gypsy December 19, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Mike Mushak says:

…their official platform to strip rights from gay folks like me, women, and minority voters? Or how about stripping healthcare from millions? Or demonizing immigrants and stealing their children at the border as they lock them up in privately run camps being run by supporters of the president? Or denying climate change is real? Or how about dismantling environmental regulations so Long Island Sound can become a stinking cesspool again and national treasures like Alaska and our coastlines including off our own coast can be destroyed by oil and gas drilling? Or watching how they are still chanting “lock her up” at every racist rally as the top members of Trump’s campaign and cabinet are the ones getting locked up…”

So all of THIS is happening in Norwalk?

If it’s not happening HERE, then it has no business being discussed HERE because it doesn’t have any relevance HERE.

Mushak, you’ve been around for years doing your best to demonize Norwalk Republicans. I suggest that until you come up with some discussion points about issues taking place HERE, in HORWALK, about NORWALK

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