What happened to Norwalk’s GOP?

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A decade or so ago Norwalk had two vigorous political parties with a smaller independent homeowners party. Each mostly staffed by local business owners committed to keeping Norwalk an affordable city where residents on social security could retire. Those days are long gone courtesy of the big box nemesis that forced out most of our local homeowner business community.

Now we’re a one party city with a former police chief as Mayor, Council members few of whom have any business experience, per-capita city outlays some 30% higher than Danbury, and falling property values. City employees avoid living in Norwalk as long-time homeowners are forced out amidst a surge in renters. Norwalk we hardly know thee.

Republicans have by and large withdrawn from city life, save for some distinguished BOE members. Word is their Town Committee is pretty much an “old folks” council. Last Mayoral election Republicans went on “holiday” displaced by a new Independent candidate Ms. Lisa Brinton Thompson. Word is the Republicans — lacking a credible experienced well-known candidate themselves in the coming election — can’t quite get together and support Ms. Brinton again. A matter of pride? Or stubbornness?

So Norwalk, once a vibrant affordable well regarded City, will now forever be a one-party Democratic-run city led by city employees sharing the same fate as Connecticut’s once-proud cities. In a Democratic run state widely considered the most mismanaged in the nation, Mayor Rilling calls Norwalk “CT’s Greatest City”.

Are Norwalk’s Republicans just history? Kind of looks that way.


Peter I Berman



Ron Morris March 13, 2019 at 11:23 pm

You may want to check your facts as all but 1 Council member has business experience. You seem to be on the same plan as the Republican Trump in that you repeat the same false statements enough times in hopes that the low information voter believes it.
Also you state
Co-President, FEI, CT Chapter
FEI is the nation’s organization of major firm Chief Financial Officers.


I asked
On FEI, CT Chapter website. It lists you as one of several Directors NOT a Co-President. Also every leader but you has professional business experience listed. You have none listed??? Care to clarify?


For some odd reason you failed to address This?

Mike Mushak March 14, 2019 at 8:21 am

Yes, Ron Morris, many would like to know Peter Berman’s professional business experience that qualify him to pass judgement on good hard-working folks every day with nasty personal insults, which some folks read and believe even though it’s just the same nasty nonsense every day for years.

Since his attack platform is both the Hour and NoN which publish his daily diatribes, I challenge the journalists to turn their attention onto Mr. Berman’s own professional qualifications for once, as Mr. Berman refuses to answer Mr. Morris’s repeated inquiries about his professional experience. That way we can read Mr. Berman’s incessant comments, that these journalists help him broadcast to a wider audience, with an informed perspective.

Since Mr. Berman has focused his attacks on dedicated volunteers many times, I would also like to know the history of Mr. Berman’s efforts to improve Norwalk, whether its through volunteer service or local charities or any kind of help at all. Because I have attended an awful lot of local community events and charitable fundraisers and public meetings over the last 20 years all in various efforts to improve Norwalk, and have never seen him nor heard of him except through his published letters.

A full resume would be appreciated, in all fairness.

Pros & Cons March 14, 2019 at 9:10 am

Not all that hard to check Peter’s pretty impressive relevant credentials on LinkedIn. That said, agree with Mushak about pattern of pontificating from ivory tower without (?) community service in the trenches. Also rarely if ever agree with his positions.

Piberman March 14, 2019 at 9:54 am

Would Westport elect a former Police Chief a First Selectman ? Would New Caanan ever consider a Reorg with $150k/$160 Chiefs raising an assistant to “Chief of Staff” ? Would Darien hire an Economic Director from tiny Newtown ? Would Stamford hire a DPW Director from White Plains ? Do any of our surrounding towns and cities routinely avoid using Prof Searh to secure Top Talent preferring soft hires ? Do well informed citizens of our surrounding towns claim their towns are not well governed ? Or t hat their elected officials do not have strong business/management backgrounds ? When is the last time a senior City Hall staffer was selected as Top Talent by another CT City ?

The “facts” are that managing a $345 million City budget effectively providing low cost City services requires a high degree of professional management skills. And Norwalk has lacked those skills for decades. It’s not a GOP or Dem problem. We just don’t encourage citizens with top notch management and business skills to oversee our City. The criticisms levied against Mike Lyons, the most highly qualified and top achieving Norwalk elected official in decades, speaks loudly.

So we know our “future” if past is prologue. Norwalk has long had a poor reputation among CT’s business community for its City Hall management. That’s why major developers and corporations avoid investing here. Don’t take my word for it. Ask around. Hiring a DPW Director from small White Plains sends a message.

Norwalk was once well regarded decades ago as a well managed City. That’s why Merrit 7 came here without any subsidies. That’s right. No subsidies. With a capable professional team at City Hall we could secure billions of investment to create a Downtown we’d be proud of with good jobs for residents and become a “real City”. Not just a “commuter city”. And we could again become a City where City employees choose to live. Not one to avoid.

It’s not about changing Mayors or Councilmen. It’s about encouraging and demanding the election of officials well qualified to oversee a $345 million City budget. We do not have that competence and haven’t had it in decades. And its not personal. Most of our elected officials are pleasant folks. But they’re not skilled to oversee a $30 million budget let alone a $345 budget and nearly 2,000 employees.

So we pay the price with punitive taxes, falling property values and an exodus of our long time homeowners who once were proud of living in Norwalk. Lets do better. Most cities our size in America d better by hiring Prof. Managers and electing business capable officials. Greenwich follows this example with distinction. Is it because they’re our wealthiest City and its citizens demand good governance ?
Could be. Why not us.

Stuart Wells (Registrar of Voters) March 14, 2019 at 9:58 am

In 2000 Norwalk had 42,771 registered voters. 10,350 were Republicans and 13,135 were Democrats.
In 2010 Norwalk had 42,769 registered voters. 8,727 were Republicans and 14,934 were Democrats.
In 2018 Norwalk had 52,960 registered voters. 9,771 were Republicans and 20,099 were Democrats.
(In all three cases 850 to 1,000 were registered in minor parties, chiefly the Independent Party and the rest were Unaffiliated.
So, in the last 18 years Democratic registration has grown 7,000 and Republican registration has dropped 600.
Statewide in the last 18 years Republican registration has grown by 10,500 and Democratic registration has grown 150,000. (All statistics from the Secretary of the State’s website.)

Norwalk Lost March 14, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Interesting take and it is hard to argue with the facts. I would also add if the “advertised” revaluation inflating the grand list by 16% – 17% is remotely true, than the proposed negligible mill rate decrease should be cause for alarm by offering residents with little relief. This not only underscores an unsustainable spending trajectory in the years ahead but also confirms Mr. Berman’s prediction of a Bridgeport solution taking hold with much higher mill rates taking hold in the forward years. Without structural cost reform at the city and state level, the downward spiral will not abate and will only get worse as more tax hikes and wealth redistribution schemes continue to fuel the exodus of wealth.

Norwalk native March 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm

So the percentage of registered Democrats in Norwalk continues to grow. I am sure that the percentage of registered Dems in Bridgeport, Hartford and Waterbury is close to 100%. It should surprise no one that there is a strong correlation between blind allegiance to the Democrat party and reliance on government for survival. This strategy for amassing support can also be found in the Communist Manifesto.

Norwalk native March 14, 2019 at 2:42 pm

As Norwalk and CT become bluer and bluer, their fortunes grow bleaker and blacker. Just Google where CT currently ranks as a state in terms of economic competitiveness and the net migration ratio. Sadly, the only people who want to come here anymore are illegals looking for the Sanctuary cover generously offered them by our Dem leadership.

Steve Mann March 16, 2019 at 10:55 am

It is beyond me and others how anyone, including the Mayor’s most staunch mouthpiece, can dispute the ills that have overtaken the city. It’s all real. The decreased property values, the never-improving school scores, the abandonment of allegiance to ratepayers on behalf of developers. Hurling adjectives and appealing to emotions does nothing to tackle the issues. The fact is that a quick search of CC members does in fact reveal the lack of “business experience” on that panel. It’s not just Norwalk though. My gripe for the ages has been about well-meaning people from all walks of life who go to work each day, make a good living at their vocations but then sit in fluorescent lit rooms at a municipal building two Tuesdays each month and set laws and ordinances for which they have no experience in real time.

That the Republican Party here is a shell of its former self is not a shock. Voter apathy in Norwalk is rampant and many who do vote either take a party line or pull a lever for someone who “just seems like a nice guy”. How does any logically minded organization deal with that? When the public is included in dialog, the public fails to realize that their voices are benign, that the deal is already done. The mall, the Walk Bridge, etc etc. The public’s voice is DOA
Attacking Mr. Berman, whom I do not personally know, just demonstrates the deflection from the reality of the situation. His business experience is not the issue here. .

Paul Lanning March 16, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Citizen apathy is indeed the problem.

80% of the electorate didn’t even vote in the last mayoral race!

Most Norwalk residents lack all awareness of the people and processes governing the city..

Mike Mushak March 17, 2019 at 6:46 pm

@ Steve Mann, please explain to me all this talk of “business experience” as a requirement for political office.

We have a president with “business experience”, so much so that he tried to sell off our country to the Russians for his own personal gain.

No thanks!

Steve Mann March 18, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Hey Mike, MSNBC just pubslished a poll showing that 50% of Americans beleive the Mueller probe is a witch hunt. 100% of Americans believe that no evidence whatsoever of the President’s “collusion” exists.

If you have evidence to the contrary which supports this old, tired meme, then please, run, do not walk to DC and tell Bob to stop spending our tax dollars on this idiocy.

“Requirement for…office”? Never said that. If one can not see the logic in having someone with business experience run…..a business, then we may be extinct in less than 12 years!!!

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