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Only a 3x cancer survivor would run for Mayor 2x

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I am an average citizen, a local Norwalk resident by choice – I moved from Phoenix 10 years ago for a corporate job headquartered here.

I didn’t really pay attention to the inner workings of the world around me. I was busy trying to advance in my career, prove myself, figure out what I wanted to do next, make enough money to afford my own place.

It wasn’t until this year in particular that I have started to pay attention. I started to pay attention to the world around me and see it differently because I was now cast into it as an aspiring entrepreneur. I left the comfy corporate world to try my own hand at starting a business.

As I started to “put myself out there” as an entrepreneur, I found it was the women-led organizations that had something tangible to offer – and they ushered me in with no questions. I was completely focused on building up exposure for and interest in my startup.

And then I saw that Lisa Brinton was running for Mayor, again. I didn’t really know Lisa. I knew she had run previously, but I didn’t really pay it any mind. I had seen her at City Hall sitting in the audience as an active citizen during my own ~2-year stint as an Alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals. I had heard about Lisa, but was never formally introduced.

But all of a sudden, this year, the fact that Lisa was running again mattered more. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who she was, her beliefs, why she was running, what platform she was running on. I was just more interested in general (also, as a new homeowner). Most importantly, I felt that I could actually reach out to and have a conversation with Lisa as she seemed so approachable. So, I kindly reached out and asked Lisa to have coffee.

What I have found and learned about Lisa in just the past few weeks of knowing her is incredible. Lisa is a retired businesswoman, a mother, involved in local government by choice (as a mother and homeowner). She, like me, also lives in Norwalk by choice and moved here 21 years ago. She recently obtained a Master’s Degree and is a three-time cancer survivor!

Have any conversation with Lisa and she can give you the details on land use, our city financials, education funding and Norwalk’s position with the State. Lisa is knowledgeable about so much in the city and not because she has to be, but rather because she wants to be.

One of the biggest reasons why I’m paying attention and feel that everyone should pay attention to Lisa is that I see her platform as serving to reinvigorate and educate all of us average voters on what’s going on in the city – and where we have gaps.

What’s most refreshing is that Lisa is just herself. What you will get with Lisa is honesty, transparency, an education in any conversation, and someone who is running for Mayor not because she needs the job or the money but because she feels compelled to fix something that is broken. The world around us, not just Norwalk or Connecticut, is going through massive transformations in all areas and here we have an opportunity to rise up to the challenge, to be and think differently.

I imagine running for Mayor is a lot like trying to startup your own business – you have to expose yourself, you have to be vulnerable, you have to be open and receptive to feedback which can feel like and sometimes be personal attacks, and you have to believe in a greater purpose to keep you going.

I joked that only a three-time cancer survivor would run for Mayor two times – but maybe there is some truth in that. In closing, outcome aside this November, I hope you get the chance to meet and speak to Lisa. More than anything, she’ll make you want to start paying attention.

Written in the most sincere and objective manner possible,

 

Juanita Olguin

10-Year Norwalk Resident

12 comments

Ron Morris June 25, 2019 at 2:40 am

WOW now the Liasa supporters are playing the sympathy card. It seems like it’s a little early for this. However Lisa must see that she has put ZERO on the table. She only talks about what is wrong and never not even once talks about how she will accomplish anything better.I would suggest that Lisa drops out as most in Norwalk see her as a big bag of wind with no real plan

Sue Haynie June 25, 2019 at 6:10 am

Perfect synopsis of Lisa.

Lisa’s a work horse, approachable, honest and pragmatic, searches out new ideas, a fiscal conservative. As Mayor, Lisa would put Norwalk first.

Piberman June 25, 2019 at 8:36 am

Remains puzzling why City residents don’t seem impressed with Westport keeping property taxes unchanged for 5 years. Or why Danbury spends 30% per capita below Norwalk on providing City services. Maybe Norwalk residents have different expectations than elsewhere on what to expect from their City Hall.

Bryan Meek June 25, 2019 at 8:41 am

Thanks for sharing this. The traits you point out underscores the fact that Lisa is a fighter and in it for Norwalk. I first learned of Lisa’s work about 10 years ago through her advocacy and transparency of the education cost sharing (ECS) scam that we are subjected to by our Hartford leaders. ECS is basically a system where we get to pay for the school systems in poorly run cities without any accountability for their performance. On top of this these cities are getting major financial bailouts also on our dime.

While the politically stacked courts ended up reneging on the people’s wishes for real reform, Lisa was a pioneer in exposing the injustice and making some of the eventual dents needed to bring about some real change. I have no doubt Lisa will continue to fight for Norwalk;s interests not exclusive to education matters.

The current status quo of getting everything dumped here on us like a rail yard and bridge no one wants only to have the rug pulled out on new schools that we want to build with our own money needs to end. Cheap apartments on every last square inch of land stressing infrastructure, safety, and education budgets passing those costs onto homeowners needs to stop. The indifference to residents who are now second class citizens at our own beach is not the way our town hall needs to be run. We need leadership that will demand justice from the Hartford machine instead of rolling over for it and sticking it to Norwalk taxpayers.

Victor Cavallo June 25, 2019 at 7:04 pm

To hell with the victim’s card, Lisa! Play the winner’s card! The victim’s card is not what we Republicans are about.

Piberman June 25, 2019 at 10:17 pm

Will any Norwalk Mayoral candidate say “Lets lower taxes” ? Through better City management ?
Or are we forever in “tax and spend mode” like CT itself.

Isabelle Hargrove June 26, 2019 at 10:19 am

@Victor Cavallo. If you spent any time getting to know Lisa, you would know that she is about as far from a victim as you can get.

Whatever life events have given Lisa Brinton courage, stamina, and clarity of thoughts, Ms.Olguin is spot on in her judgment of Ms. Brinton. Lisa knows the issues, has a vision for this city and will represent residents and homeowners, not just special interests and the well-connected.

Norwalk has certainly grown a lot in the last 6 years. But not all growth is good. Mayor Rilling has grown city hall, taxes, traffic, fortress apartments, and a monstrous bridge. If all this is what you want for our city, then, by all means, vote for the status quo. If not, join her fight and let’s map out a different future for our city.

Victor Cavallo June 26, 2019 at 12:46 pm

@Isabelle Hargrove. Please don’t try to convince me that the writer’s victimhood letter is not a planned and endorsed stratagem by the Brinton campaign. You should know better. I’ve heard Lisa speak many times and she has certainly made use of her misfortune every time. Another of Lisa’s favorites is the womanhood meme- throwing a Hillary-esque aura on her campaign.

This is not what I want to hear. What I want to hear instead, is, if elected, how can Lisa solve Norwalk’s and my problems- such as increasing taxes, decreasing property values and a bloated bureaucracy – while having to work with an inevitably democrat-majority council that would most certainly undermine her to ensure that she’s only a one term mayor. After all, she would be defeating an incumbent democrat and there will be an evolving deep-state to ensure that a democrat is elected mayor in 2021.

Debora Goldstein June 26, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Victor,

There’s an old saw about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

There are people who listen, those who contribute, and those who understand that sometimes the right way to get where you need to go is to at least stop driving in the wrong direction.

Then there are those who fold their arms and treat the elected position of Mayor as if it were a prize in a game show that they will mete out in response to a correctly phrased answer.

There are three contestants playing…are you happy with the responses from the other two?

Patrick Cooper June 26, 2019 at 9:12 pm

No good deed goes unpunished. Lisa – take comfort.

I thought it prudent to stay away from this c-section as my support for Lisa is on record countless times. I’m hardly unbiased. This support has a brief history – but it followed significant personal experience and research. It is Lisa’s unique mixture of life-lessons, personal character & principles, municipal activism, professional skills and experience (including ongoing education), and engaging personality – that convinced me that she could be the disruptive force our municipal government needs to break the cycle of Party Cronyism. Because it’s not just one. We need party neutral management. We need a Party of Norwalk.

I am disappointed at @Victor – but not surprised. Maybe one day you will realize how callous your comments are – sadly because someone close to you get’s cancer. But let’s tell it like it is Victor – you lead the loosingest R party maybe in the modern history of Norwalk – your guy came in third last time out (to Lisa) – and you got pushed out of a leadership position. You know me Victor – I called for your resignation – 3 times. Your thought process are exactly what the Republican Party in Norwalk needs to run from – as quickly as possible.

So excellent question – by Debra Goldstein. There is a concerted effort by people to tell you why Lisa is wrong for Norwalk – but see how many go by a name you can verify. Don’t listen to them – and sure – don’t listen to me. Listen to Lisa. Make up your own mind.

If you own a home in Norwalk – your very family’s wealth depends on you being knowledgeable this November. Participate. Otherwise – well.

Victor Cavallo June 27, 2019 at 5:35 pm

@Patrick Cooper. I’m assuming you are speaking for the Norwalk RTC members who are looking to endorse Lisa Brinton. In that respect, I just want to clarify.

Andy Conroy was not “my guy.” He was the Republican Town Committee’s “guy.” He was endorsed by the entire Republican Town Committee after nomination at the July, 2017 convention. I did not nominate him and I didn’t second his nomination. I wasn’t even RTC chair at the time: he was.

Among the RTC members who openly voted to endorse him were the same people who were working behind the scenes for Lisa Thomson to be nominated instead. I was not privy to that effort; nor was I invited to events that promoted Lisa’s endorsement. And they were trying to figure out how to avoid a contested convention for the benefit of a candidate who, despite many entreaties from me and much more prominent RTC members, refused to register and run as a Republican. To avoid the embarrassment of a contested convention, they hatched a behind-the-scenes plan whereby Andy Conroy would step down as mayoral candidate in the middle of the campaign -voluntarily or otherwise- and allow Lisa Thompson to be nominated and endorsed as his replacement. This is why almost immediately after Andy Conroy’s acceptance speech, there was a call from the podium to nominate a “vacancy committee” whose function, obviously, would have been to put forth Lisa’s name upon the expected vacancy caused by Andy’s resignation.

The first problem was that Andy Conroy didn’t resign as planned or hoped. The second problem was that even if he had resigned, the entire RTC at a special meeting with a quorum would have had to nominate and approve Lisa as a replacement. Problem there, too, was that for the three monthly meetings following the convention, not enough RTC members attended to establish a quorum enabling the RTC to vote on almost anything, much less endorsements. Nor was there any effort to timely call a special RTC meeting. My suspicion, too, was that the intent behind the vacancy committee was to have them act unilaterally to substitute Lisa Thompson for Andy Conroy, and hope no one would notice the side-step of the requirement of state and local rules that the entire RTC must endorse a replacement.

Let me be charitable here and surmise that no one else beside me knew the operative rules.

I was approached in October,2017 by a then former RTC member- one who I will refer to as “Freddie from Fort Lauderdale” – and asked for my support to encourage Andy to step down “for the good of the party.” My response was, good luck: you’re too late, you don’t have enough time to give five-day notice of a special RTC meeting and schedule it before the statutory drop-dead date to replace a candidate on the ballot. Had Andy stepped down sometime proximate to that time, we would have had no mayoral candidate on Row B- the Republican line.

Yes, I did publish a letter on NoN supporting Andy, but that was my job – as a Republican Town Committee member – to advance the candidacy of a Republican against an incumbent democrat. It was every other Town Committee member’s job as well, in accordance with our rules and principles. Few complied.

The rest is history: I was scapegoated, vilified, impeached, tried, convicted and banished for standing up for Republican principles, our rules, our statutes and our party’s endorsed candidate. So be it.

My resignation, whenever you had called for it, would not have fixed the 2017 Republican election problem- that the successor candidate substitution plan went awry was not my fault- I didn’t plan it. The council candidates lost on their own: they plainly didn’t work hard enough, or as was admitted by a golden boy candidate at a campaign de-brief, didn’t start working early enough.

As for the 2018 Republican election results: of course, I had nothing to do with it because others were running the show. I will say that it took a lot of talent to lose an election for Larry Cafero.

As for the 2019 problem: the RTC is now in the unenviable position of having to choose between two former democrats to endorse as a Republican candidate for mayor. WT…

As for you disparaging me for being “callous” about a cancer survivor- Lisa has put her misfortune front and center in both campaigns, and the writer of the opinion letter above furthered that campaign stratagem. Lisa made it public and she should not be immune from criticism for doing so. My criticism is that Republicans don’t play the victim card -or the race card or the gender card or any other “ism” card that democrats have a penchant for doing in furtherance of identity politics. Part of the Republican party’s problem is that we try too hard to look like democrats in different clothing. That won’t win us elections. Why vote for the fake democrat when the real one will do.

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