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Norwalk political roundup: Puzzle pieces, accusations and explanations

Manresa Association President Charlie Taney in December 2016 shows the Common Council a $75,000 cashier’s check, the Association’s contribution to a $150,000 Manresa Island economic impact analysis.

Updated, 12:56 p.m.: Comment from Travis Simms.

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

  • Touting the Manresa study
  • Duleep condemns Simms’ bill; Simms says Democrats divided on racial lines
  • Mosby loses appeal
  • Village Creek dredging explained

 

Manresa Association president: study identifies ‘puzzle pieces’

The $150,000 Norwalk Power Economic Impact Analysis, which details Manresa Island’s features and makes recommendations for possible developments to replace its defunct power plant, was well worth the investment, Manresa Association President Charlie Taney said Friday.

“It’s kind of exciting, to have identified these really interesting possibilities for the property, that the community has identified and kind of gathered around. Now we can work with the property owners, NRG, and with our local publicly elected officials, our state electoral officials and our federal electoral officials and come together, and work together to make sure that things happen out there,” Taney said.

The Manresa Association and the City split the cost of the study 50-50, in what they described as a public-private partnership.

“The four concepts outlined in the report are: a marina and boatyard; a renewable solar energy generation and storage facility, an educational campus, and a residential single-family home development,” a Thursday press release from the City said.  “All four concepts include preserving open space and public access on the island. The full report can be viewed at http://norwalkct.org/manresareport.”

The study’s completion marks the end of phase I, Taney said.  He described the four options as “sort of a set of puzzle pieces.”

“Now phase II is how do we now realize the potential of that incredible property? Phase II is realizing the potential we have now identified,” he said.

The City’s press release called the study “two years” worth of work, but efforts that led to its completion go back five and a half years, Taney said, when the plant closed and many people got to work. The partnership with the City was fun, he said.

“I think the public private partnership of the City of Norwalk and the Manresa Association really got their money’s worth,” Taney said.

Taney praised Mayor Harry Rilling and his team.  “They have been terrific, really good partners,” he said. “We have worked together really well and I think it’s been a really good example of how a public-private partnership can work together.”

“We came together and we invested in this study and we are now in the position as a city and as a community where we really understand the property, and we have identified these four or five – what we call puzzle pieces, that might be fitting together out there and we now have a very clear view of the kinds of things we think that, the City of Norwalk and the Community, really would feel good about.”

He continued, “We spent a lot of time reviewing the options, considering the possibilities. So compared to where we were a couple of years ago, where we didn’t know very much and we didn’t really have a handle on what might be possible now we have a very clear understanding of the property and we have a very strong handle on the kinds of things that the city and community would feel good about, that we can now, if NRG comes forward with their plans to develop the property I think we’re in a very strong position to evaluate what NRG proposes and to work with that towards a good solution.”

 

 

 

 

Duleep: Simms has gone ‘MAGA’

Former Common Council member Anna Duleep on Thursday slammed State Rep. Travis Simms (D-140) over a bill he has proposed.

H.B. 6674 would “require individuals to provide proof of citizenship prior to becoming a candidate for public office.”

“This is apparently a priority to one *Democrat* from Norwalk,” Duleep wrote on Facebook. “Whose constituents include many immigrants, some of whom are naturalized citizens, and ONE of whom dared to challenge the passing of the crown by primarying him. He’s solving a nonexistent problem the MAGA way.”

Duleep was campaign manager for Colin Hosten, who challenged Simms in a Democratic primary and then continued as a candidate to the election under a Working Families Party endorsement.

Hosten hails from Trinidad and is now a Common Council member (at large). Republican opponent John Flynn alleged before the election that Hosten was not a citizen. Duleep said Sunday that she believes Simms was also saying it and “certainly did not denounce John Flynn’s statements.”

Simms did not reply to a Sunday email asking for a response to Duleep’s comments. On Monday, Simms wrote, “In my opinion Norwalk Democrats have been divided among racial lines for the past seven or more years.”

“Some may call it the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ or the ‘go-alongs’ and the ‘opposition’ with South Norwalk, American-born representatives being viewed as the outcasts or opposition,” he wrote. “We won’t even begin to talk about the conquer and divide. Still, my win was a decisive win in the district I respresent (cq) which is comprised of many immigrants I respect. I grew up in Roodner Court.  I am certainly no stranger to struggle or survival.”

He continued, “I would like to be a transparent elected official and not a politician who says one thing to win elections while being a hypocrite behind the scenes. If people don’t have anything to hide there should be no problem with my proposed bill. Most city and state human resource departments currently ask for citizenship/naturalization proof.”

And, “MAGA?  Did she really go there? Well, I’m glad her family decided to make Wall Street great again (MW-SGA) by finally doing something about their blighted properties because it was certainly holding the Norwalk neighborhood hostage, or building a *wall* around the opportunity to better it. I would like to thank my fellow Democrat (no asterisk).”

Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells in September said that Hosten is a citizen.

“Colin Hosten registered to vote in Norwalk in 2017,” Wells wrote. “The application form requires him to state under penalty of perjury that he is a U.S. Citizen. Additionally, he listed his driver’s license number as proof of identity and address. The state-wide voter registration system checks the driver’s license number with the Department of Motor Vehicles via a match of computer record to computer record. We are not allowed to see the DMV record, but our records indicate that the two records matched.”

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said last week that approximately 5,000 bills are proposed in this beginning stage of the legislative session, and only about 250 will become law.

 

Mosby loses appeal

John Mosby’s attempt to recover damages for what he called discrimination by the Board of Education has been thwarted.

In a decision set to be officially released Tuesday, the Appellate Court has upheld the trial court’s decision to dismiss the case after Mosby missed the deadline to begin the lawsuit.

Mosby alleged discrimination because he had been asked to show identification at Brien McMahon High School, discrimination in Board hiring practices, and discrimination in the poor condition of the then-Briggs High School. NancyOnNorwalk was alerted by a reader to the decision, with a link to the Connecticut Judicial Branch law libraries newslog.

Mosby first filed a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), then obtained a release of jurisdiction on Feb. 18, 2016, the court decision states.  The lawsuit deadline was May 18, 2016, and Mosby argued that the suit had been filed on May 9, 2016 but the suit did not commence until the defendants were served.

Mosby, who was self-represented, argued that the action would have been timely if the process had been delivered to Constable Ernie Dumas before the 90 days had ended, the decision states.

“It is well established that, in Connecticut, ‘an action is commenced not when the writ is returned but when it is        served upon the defendant,’’’ the decision states.

The original lawsuit was dismissed on Nov. 8, 2016, it states.

Mosby has filed numerous lawsuits and complaints with CHRO alleging discrimination by the Board of Education; none have been successful in recent years. In 1996, then-Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Ralph Sloan wrote that Mosby had filed more than 50 complaints with the state Labor Board in his capacity as president of the custodians’ union.

Mosby is the lead plaintiff in another case in front of the Appellate Court, representing retirees who state that the BoE and the United Public Employees Union (UPEU) breached the terms of their collective bargaining agreement, in regard to their retirement medical insurance coverage. He is, again, self-represented and had a Thursday deadline to file a brief in reply to one filed Jan. 1 by Norwalk Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr.

The State courts website does not show a brief filed by Mosby.

 

 

Village Creek

“Who is dredging at Village Creek? Planning and Zoning does not know. Public Works does not know. Neither City environmental head knows,” former State Rep. candidate John Flynn wrote in a Jan. 24 Facebook post.

Flynn has a like-minded neighbor in Rick Reardon, who in a Jan. 24 email to NancyOnNorwalk wrote, “no one knows who is paying for it 25,000 yards to be dropped in Long Island Sound seems a lot of money for just Village Creek to pay for on its own.”

“The dredging is being managed by the Village Creek Harbor Corporation, which has coordinated dredging at various times in the past to maintain water depth,” Colin Hosten, Village Creek Homeowners Association President, wrote to NancyOnNorwalk on Jan. 25.

“Village Creek Harbor Corporation (a volunteer organization) maintains and administers the Village Creek Marina. The Marina is privately owned by the residents of Village Creek via the Village Creek Home Owners Association,” Village Creek Harbor Corporation Vice Chairman Paul Braschi wrote to NancyOnNorwalk on Jan. 26.

He explained:

“Every summer roughly 1/2 of the 60 slips are rented to Non-Village Creek Residents – mostly residents of Norwalk.  In water ‘wet’ winter storage is available for boats to 40’. There are no shore side amenities for non-resident slip holders. Village Creek’s short channel and excellent location enables boaters to throttle up more quickly than almost any marina in Connecticut.

“The marina was completely rebuilt and the basin maintenance dredged in 2012. Gary Wetmore at G&C Marine Services – Norwalk built and installed the docks. Each year as finances and volunteer time allows the marina continues its build out, adding one finger pier at a time, climaxing this year with the addition of 8 small boat slips for whalers, inflatables and other small boats.  Power and water were added in 2012.

“In compliance with Army Corps of Engineers, CT DEEP and numerous other agencies maintenance dredging of 18,000 cubic yards is underway. Dredging should be completed by January 31st. The basin will be dredged to 8’ MLW and the channel to 4’ MLW. Eric Hanson at Hanson Marine Contractors – Stamford is our dredging contractor. We have partnered with William W. Seymour & Associates – Darien for our underwater surveying needs.

“Village Creek raises its funds though community bonds which finance the periodic maintenance dredging operations. No Federal, State or Local monies are or have ever been involved with our maintenance dredging or facility restoration.

“In 2016/17 Village Creek Harbor Corporation working with the Norwalk Land Trust and numerous State and Federal agencies and their grant programs completed a pioneering Salt Marsh Restoration study.  The study showed that the Village Creek Salt Marsh was dying and gave recommendations on how it might be restored. Partnering with the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk we hope in 6-8 years to be Connecticut’s salt marsh restoration pilot project – using dredged material to restore the Village Creek Salt Marsh.”

 

NancyOnNorwalk has heard the Village Creek dredging mentioned at multiple City meetings.

Village Creek being dredged on Jan. 24. (Rick Reardon)

6 comments

Debora Goldstein February 4, 2019 at 5:28 pm

Link to VC’s dredge & fill permit on the DEEP website? Minutes from a CAM review bt the harbor commission? ACOE approval?

Karl M. Deering February 4, 2019 at 5:29 pm

This is what makes me crazy about Norwalk. Deep water property at the mouth of the Norwalk Harbor and we are talking ” wind farms ” ? How about something high end with high end taxes for the City. In ten years we are going to have to figure what to do with a closed Mall , any chance the tree huggers can go to the back of the line ????????

Piberman February 5, 2019 at 10:07 am

Re Manresa:

Over the decades many thoughtful long time residents have asked why City officials writ large have never supported a 4 year college. Noting that Norwalk, even though its the County’s most transient City, is our State’s only City without a 4 year college.

Sadly no City official has ever supported this idea. Maybe a CC is just “good enough”.

Manresa could open up the discussion again. All that’s needed is for the Council to form a Committee of Concerned citizens and request our local Legislators to open up the relevant doors in Hartford.

Why ? Transient commuter cites have limited prospects. Witness our decades long stagnant Grand List amidst a robust national economy. Second, Norwalk doesn’t offer a well trained local labor force attractive to modern hi-tech firms. A 4 yr college would remedy that.
Finally, there’s a broad economic regional literature over the decades suggesting strong economic benefits from siting 4 year colleges.

So who will take the first step in Norwalk ?

Teresa Petersen February 5, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Deb:
For further information on Connecticut’s Coastal Permit Program, please contact:
Land and Water Resources Division
Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
Phone: 860-424-3019

Also:
https://www.norwalkct.org/1064/Shellfish-Commission

Also:
https://www.usace.army.mil/Contact.aspx

Some fun facts:
https://circa.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1618/2016/03/VillageCreekPublic20170907.pdf

Here we are on a city agenda:
https://www.norwalkct.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/13158

Lots of good stuff here:
https://www.dos.ny.gov/opd/programs/pdfs/Consistency/F-2016-0693ConsistencyCertification.pdf

ALL this info from a simple google search! It might beg the question, “why was this news?” but I’ll let our like-minded conspiracy theorists answer that one.

james gallacher February 5, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Manresa is privately owned, so any planning for it is based on aligned goals with the property holders.

*If* this would work:
offer space at Manresa to Devine brothers, the marina north of the wail bridge, and anyone else who requires shipping past the Walk Bridge. Remediate the river north of the bridge.

Then, here’s an idea, make a fixed railway bridge.

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