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Norwalk political notes: Meetings

Plastic shopping bags float underwater. (Skip the Plastic Norwalk)

Updated, 10:24 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Council looks to automate parks’ parking fee collection
  • Duff promotes ‘clean slate’ bill
  • Council slated to vote on plastic shopping bag ban

 

Parking changes sought at beach, Vets and Cranbury

Common Council members are looking to automate the collection of money at the beach, Cranbury Park and Veterans Park, with new license plate readers that won’t require visitors to stop at entry gates, Council Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee Chairman Michael Corsello (D-At Large) said Monday.

Corsello explained that money was approved in the 2018-19 capital budget for hardware to allow license plate reading and automatic money collection at the parks.  There will be a separate parking area for residents and a company will be contracted for enforcement purposes, he said.

The agenda for Wednesday’s committee meeting contains an action item to approve an agreement with LAZ Parking “for an amount not to exceed $180,000 for the management of parking at Calf Pasture Beach, Shady Beach, Taylor Farm, Veterans Park and Cranbury Park for the 2019 season.”

 

 

Duff expect support of Clean Slate bill

Bipartisan support is expected for “Clean Slate” legislation, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said Sunday at a Congregations Organized For a New Connecticut (CONECT) legislative kickoff event in Bridgeport.

A CONECT handout states that the bill would provide for automatic expungement three years after completing a sentence for a misdemeanor and five years after completing a sentence for a non-violent felony, to reward citizens for remaining crime-free and allow them to rebuild their lives.

Duff joined State Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Gary Winfield (D-10) and others at the event.  Speakers at the event said there are about 13,400 people incarcerated in Connecticut, and about 5,000 leave prison yearly.
Of those parolees, 60 percent remain unemployed one year later, and formerly incarcerated men can expect to work nine fewer weeks per year and earn 40 percent less than others, effectively turning people into second class citizens in a sentencing system with racist roots, speakers said.

African American people are more than nine times as likely to be incarcerated than Caucasian people, American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT) Smart Justice Field Organizer Anderson Curtis said, and Hispanics are four times more likely to be incarcerated in Connecticut than national averages.

“Clean Slate legislation passed the Pennsylvania House and Senate with broad bipartisan support (188-2 and unanimously) in 2018,” the CONECT handout states. “Michigan, Colorado and South Carolina are all now considering Clean Slate legislation. Nationally, both conservative and liberal groups, like Koch Brothers and Center for American Progress, actively support other states adopting Clean Slate legislation.”

 

Plastic bag ban supporters urge attendance at Tuesday’s Council meeting

The Council is expected to vote Tuesday on banning plastic carryout shopping bags.

The proposal was approved unanimously by the Ordinance Committee in December, in a meeting that drew a crowd. Multiple organizations are rallying support for the measure and encouraging supporters to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

“Please come support Norwalk’s decision whether to join Westport, Greenwich, Weston, and Stamford (not to mention Boston and California) in banning plastic check-out bags and charging for paper bags, with the revenue going to store owners. Join us at the Common Council meeting at Norwalk City Hall,” the Norwalk River Watershed Association wrote in an email blast.

Skip the Plastic Norwalk wrote:

“Norwalk residents use about 30 million plastic bags a year, which are no longer recyclable in blue bins.  Over 100,000 plastic bags end up in the Long Island Sound every year, where they break down into microplastics and are ingested by marine life.  Read more here about how microplastics are entering our food chain.  For answers to commonly asked questions about the ordinance click here.

 

Others say that the ban would disproportionately affect low-income residents.

“It’s really easy if you have a car, you carry bags with you,” Elsa Peterson Obuchowski said in December.

Council President Tom Livingston (D-District E) in December said the Council has arranged through the Mayor’s Office and other groups to distribute reusable bags to low-income people, such as at Norwalk Housing Authority complexes.

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