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Norwalk political notes: POCD, new zoner, new page name

DTC deputy treasurer Stephanie Thomas was selected by Mayor Harry Rilling to serve on the Norwalk Zoning Commission.  The Common Council will vote on her appointment Tuesday. (Facebook)

Correction, April 9: Library Board appointments require Council approval. 

NORWALK, Conn. – Some political notes for you:

  • Final city-wide master plan draft expected in May
  • DTC’s Thomas chosen for Zoning
  • Brinton’s latest tool: former RTC Facebook page

 

 

POCD final draft expected

The Planning Commission “spent the better part of two evenings” going over an executive summary of the drafted 10-year master plan for the City, otherwise called a Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), and finished up their final recommendations and edits, Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin told Council members Thursday.

“I think it’s more wordsmithing than it is substantive,” Kleppin said. “There’s three sections that required a little more work.”

The Commission also used “80%” of changes requested by the Harbor Management Commission, and the edits were sent to Stantec, the City’s consultant, the week of March 25, Kleppin said.

“I anticipate a few weeks to make the changes, he said.  The resultant final draft will go to the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WCCOG) and the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM).

Council members should get the draft in May and perhaps be able to vote on it in June, according to Kleppin, who added that the Harbor Management Commission will have the opportunity to comment on the plan.

The City is required by law to update its master plan every 10 years. Norwalk’s last POCD was approved in 2008.

The Council could choose to hold a public hearing on the draft, Kleppin said, warning them that they don’t have the final say.

If the Council refuses the plan, the Planning Commission could approve it via a two-thirds majority vote per state statute, Kleppin said.

 

 

 

DTC officer Thomas headed for Zoning

Former District 143 State Representative candidate Stephanie Thomas has been chosen by Rilling to serve on the Zoning Commission.

The Council will vote on this appointment Tuesday.

Thomas is Democratic Town Committee deputy treasurer. She lost the State Rep contest to incumbent Republican Gail Lavielle, who got 51.55% of the vote, and is founder and president of Stetwin Consulting, which specializes in fundraising and event planning for non-profit organizations.

Also up for appointment Tuesday is Casey Fitzpatrick for the Human Relations Commission. Set to be reappointed to the Norwalk Public Library Board of Trustees are former Mayor Alex Knopp, Ralph Bloom and Tyrone McClain.

Parking Authority Chairman Dick Brescia and Water Pollution Control Authority members Darren Oustafine and Frederika Bikakis Hajian are also set for reappointment.

 

 

 

Facebook page changes name again

Unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton is posting on a Facebook page titled “The Norwalk Resistance,” which is liked by 670 people and followed by 686 people.

A quick look at the About page for The Norwalk Resistance shows that it was formerly called Responsible Norwalk.

Responsible Norwalk started as the Republican Town Committee page; in mid-2016 it was renamed and was under the control of former Common Council member David McCarthy.

“I am not administering the page,” Brinton wrote Thursday. “I post from time to time.”

NancyOnNorwalk asked Brinton who gave her posting rights. She responded:

“The permission could have come from any of a number of people I know… In any event – My personal ‘Norwalk Resistance’  is pretty obvious and focused  on just one individual  – Harry Rilling.   However,  I mainly just post on my own FB page and Norwalk Zoning Matters.   For example, I was very busy today – following the Chamber Dinner and the governor’s statement regarding his willingness to reconsider the Walk Bridge.  It was very heartening.”

20 comments

geez April 8, 2019 at 10:09 am

Brinton is trying to straddle two very different groups; Independents and hard core Republicans. The campaign comes off as simply I hate Harry Rilling. There seems to be a boatload of disgruntled voters who are displeased w/the current administration but catering to the extremist elements of the current Republican Party is likely to undermine her campaign. When she equates a public employee’s handling of FOIL requests as equally obscene to a person who in letter form addresses someone Dear MotherXXXXXX, she’s lost me, loads of independents and I seriously question her judgment to work with middle school students on a school paper. Can you imagine a middle school student reading that and deciding to call a teacher a MotherXXXXXX because s/he thinks that the teacher’s grading of her/his paper was just as obscene? Sorry, the current Republican Party in town has lost its moral and ethical moorings when it can’t take a stand against that level of incivility, runs a candidate for office who thinks the Governor and Mayor are trying to assassinate him, hypocritically criticizes NON of using “confidential” but relevant information on a candidate for office who’s driving drunk in the daytime with his 9 yr old in a car to give $$$ to itinerant workers in SONO (geez, were you just as upset when the Russian government sought to undermine our democratic process when they hacked into the opposing party’s computers, moreover Wikileaks–hardly a journalistic outpost, publishes the same for their own ulterior motives?) and supports the current Commander in Chief who makes fun of how people look, their last names and pointedly tries to bring the worst out of people… Geez, how’d Lisa feel if Harry called her a horse face like DT did to Carly Fiorina. You can’t have it both ways. You are either an independent and willing to speak out against the excesses of both or you’ve aligned yourself to the new and previously conservative Republican Party

Piberman April 8, 2019 at 11:00 am

Isn’t the larger issue how do we encourage more citizens how to take an interest to improve our City.
Public employees remain our largest “industry”, mostly live out of town and on average earn more than City residents. That’s not a formula for a City attractive to new residents in a City with a 10% poverty rate.
That only one citizen showed up at the City budget meeting ought be a rude awakening. Ms. Brinton brings a background different from previous generations of Norwalk Mayors – a business background. Many of us with major business backgrounds regard Norwalk (and CT’s other cities outside the Gold Coast) as poorly managed with high costs/taxes and challenged services.

Clearly we’d all benefit from thoughtful discussion on whatever forums are available about improving the City’s challenged future. Fortunately we’re not like CT itself where the scion of a wealthy family can spend upteen millions on promoting election for Governor. Our goal ought be to create a City both attractive to new homeowners and retirees. As we once were. That can only be achieved by active discussion. Including discussion by partisans on one side or the other. Our greatest handicap here is our increasing indifference to local governance and belief that help is not possible. At now 40% renters we’re not far removed from Bridgeport’s 60%. So we had best get going.

Patricia A Tinto April 8, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Here’s a way to get involved in local politics:

Politics 101: Intro to Local Politics Starring your Friends and Neighbors

*Real Talk with Real People, No Prerequisites!

Thursday, April 25, 2019; 5:30-8pm at Norwalk Library, 1 Belden Ave.

Norwalk, CT – All politics is local and no better place to start than at home!
Come learn how you can get involved in Norwalk. No previous experience necessary, just a desire to learn more about your city and what and who makes it tick.
Join your neighbors and friends for an open house, lively discussion and stimulating Q&A on Thursday, April 25. The evening begins with a reception and chance to mingle with local town committee members, elected officials and representatives. Enjoy light refreshments and engaging conversation at the Norwalk Library followed by an informative panel discussion featuring three local women leaders: Lucy Dathan, State Representative for the 142nd District, Norwalk/New Canaan; Esther Murillo, Norwalk Democratic Town Committee, Communications Secretary, District E, and Darleen Young, Norwalk Common Council Member, District B.
Learn about the local governing bodies from Agencies and Commissions, to the Common Council and the Democratic Town Committee. Hear how you can help local candidates or consider running for office yourself.
Event Free; Experience Priceless!
For more information and to RSVP, contact Stephanie Thomas, [email protected]

Lisa Brinton April 8, 2019 at 12:41 pm

@Geez, It should be pretty obvious by now – I’m trying to build a Norwalk coalition of – Independents, Unaffiliated, Republicans and disaffected Democrats because there is no R or D way to run a school system or a city. I am very proud of my decade of work with the BOE to bring about a culture of bipartisanship, based on reform and what is best for students, not adults or party affiliation. The problem is we are struggling to pay for it.

Norwalk’s single party rule, likely the result of voter displeasure with Washington has resulted in unintended economic consequences for homeowners in Norwalk. The mayor has capitalized and benefitted from DC’s dysfunction and lost touch with residents. Communication with the public has been lost. Open and transparent discussions have given way to closed doors, executive sessions and ‘no-comments’ while taxpayers fund city litigation. With the absence of a second party, those daring to challenge the status quo have been labeled naysayers. Healthy opposition is the basis of any functioning democracy. It’s needed to keep a check and balance on power. At the moment, Norwalk doesn’t have it.

For the record, I worked for Carly Fiorina, a brilliant businesswoman, while she was at AT&T. I do not condone nor approve of DTs style of insults. No doubt there will be repeated attempts to label me and paint me in a corner if I associate with Norwalk Republicans- but good luck with that. I also associated with high profile Democrats in town as well. I am not a former public employee. I don’t have multiple public pensions. I was not the former police chief. I am just a retired businesswoman who is trying to hang onto her home and stay in city that I love too. My comments focused on the mayor – because my beef is not with Democrats, it is with the current leadership and the lack of professional management for our 100K population city. Win or lose, my David vs. Goliath campaign will focus on discussing the underlying economic issues impacting our city and where we are headed in the future.

Ron Morris April 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm

One day Lisa is an independent, the next a Democrat, and yet the next a Republican. Her whole campaign is about what Harry is doing wrong, and not about what she will do right. Oh you don’t seem to mention a city manager form of government anymore. Was that just another of your passing fades?

Ron Morris April 8, 2019 at 2:56 pm

Piberman
Are you aware that Rilling was the police chief aka the CEO of the police department?
Also you state
Many of us with major business backgrounds regard Norwalk (and CT’s other cities outside the Gold Coast) as poorly managed with high costs/taxes and challenged services.
Please tell us other than you who are these “many”? Also what is your major business background?

James Cahn April 8, 2019 at 3:14 pm

I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to this council meeting. I’m guessing that the debate was hot and spirited on the topic of District A STILL having no representation on zoning. Good thing there’s nothing really zoning related going on in District A.

Barbara Meyer-Mitchell April 8, 2019 at 4:43 pm

Stephanie is highly intelligent and has excellent communication skills. I’m sure she will bring a lot to the table. Congratulations, Stephanie!

JOHN C ROMANO April 8, 2019 at 6:26 pm

GEEZ, cool your jets. Your left of the left mind set and mentality is showing. GEEZ, are you sure you are not Mike Muschak in disguise.You certainly sound alike. Stop casting aspirations on all “R”‘S We are open minded in Norwalk. Looking out for the many tax payers who feel neglected in many ways. Norwalk is a nice place to live, it’s diversity is what makes it so. But when you have the deck stacked in representation you only have one point of view. Norwalk is better than that and can be once again.

James Cahn April 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm

@Bob I find me guilty of having only bothered to read the headline.

Nonetheless, my point will still stand tomorrow when the council carries out their instructions.

As a side note, last time I made it to the lit crawl, I ended up going beer for beer with my buddy Mike Mushak. And was in no danger of showing up to any meeting other than with my Uber driver. Is Mike going to be at the Lit Crawl? I should go.

Bob Welsh April 8, 2019 at 7:14 pm

@James

Mike commented on the Lit Crawl story that he will read a poem by Mary Oliver. You should indeed go. Maybe Uber will give you a discount for staying in District A. Depending on where you live, Wheels2U may also be an option.

Steve April 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm

Lisa, i have no doubt that you are trying to build a coalition. With the Ct. Republican Party in free fall you can’t win as a Republican. But you can’t gain the allegiance of the Republican Party without giving up a part of your soul. Reiterating, when you can’t distance yourself with a citizen who addresses the Senior Attorney for the City as Dear MotherXXXXXX you’ve given up your sense of honor for a few votes. When you jump on the bandwagon of those who nominate at least one candidate who has serious paranoia issues (ie governor out to assassinate him) and a party that backs a lawsuit that is clearly designed to harass and has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning (more likely to be tossed out as frivolous litigation) then you’re no longer an independent but have chosen a side. You raise strong issues in your comment, run on those. You have name recognition; be anther Lowell Weicker- run as a true 3rd party- don’t trade your credibility for a dozen votes that will cost you a 1000. A measure of a personn’s character is oft determined by those they associate themselves with.

Piberman April 8, 2019 at 8:06 pm

Danbury’s Mayor manages to provide City services at 30% less per capita than Norwalk. We don’t hear complaints Danbury is mismanaged. Isn’t the relevant question whether any sizeable business or non-profit would hire any of Norwalk’s Mayors or usual candidates to manage a $350 million entity. Because they lack the previously demonstrated business/management skills. How do we as a City benefit from electing Mayors unqualified to manage similar size business and non-profit entities ? Would anyone seek a job in $350 million business or non-profit overseen by a former City Administrator w/o any business/management skills ? Of course not.

Tysen Canevari April 8, 2019 at 9:25 pm

@ Ron Wasnt Riling a republican until he decided to stick it to his friend Mayor Moccia and run against him as a democrat?

Rusty Guardrail April 8, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Oh gracious me! She said “Motherxxxxxx”! She called the Big Important Senior Whatever He Is a motherxxxxxx!! Ha Ha, guess what buddy, she dug up vital info that the Mayor swept under the rug, she advocates for govt. responsibility and transparency, and she can think rings around you.

Ron Morris April 8, 2019 at 10:09 pm

Piberman
You have already been corrected by me and many others that in fact Rilling was the police chief aka the CEO of the police department.

Also what are your qualifications to judge? Last I checked you have been retired for years. Also in the past you stated that you were the Co-President of FEI, CT Chapter. However 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?

https://www.financialexecutives.org/Network/Chapters/Connecticut-Westchester/Chapter-Leaders.aspx

Jason Milligan April 8, 2019 at 11:30 pm

Geez,

I attended Lisa Brinton’s campaign launch. It was a diverse group of about 60 people.

I estimated half were democrats. 25 to 30% Independent and 10 to 15% Republican or other.

Nobody there cared about party affiliation. All anyone cared about was making Norwalk better.

The ironic thing is the intelligent perhaps frustrated person that called someone in the law office a mother f’er is a lifelong Democrat. Lisa did not make the statement or condone it.

Stick to the issues. The Norwalk issues!

Lisa Brinton April 9, 2019 at 6:25 am

@ Steve, I’m an independent woman trying to beat an incumbent. MY position on Norwalk’s issues are well-documented since retiring, following 25 years in business (after a couple bouts of cancer) to focus on my kids. I’ve been active in education for the last 10+ years. That is my character.

This is local politics – not Washington DC. I didn’t vote for Trump. Three candidates and Harry likely wins. Who knows what the local Republican Party will do?

If folks want to label me, then here’s one: a strong willed, independent woman, with a pre-existing condition, whose single largest outlay isn’t her ridiculous healthcare premiums – but her local property taxes. Why? Because the largest employer in Connecticut’s 6th largest city is the City of Norwalk, lead by a former police chief turned mayor, collecting two public pensions.

I’m pursuing independent ballot access. Rules are controlled by the two party system. Who knows what will happen. I can’t fix our dysfunctional national politics – I’m just trying to beat a local incumbent, based on local issues impacting local residents.

At the end of the day, this campaign isn’t life threatening, tho at times it can feel like it is 🙂 Just trying to keep things in perspective. Thanks.

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