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Norwalk election roundup: Endorsements

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling is surrounded by Norwalk police officers and firefighters Thursday as they announce his endorsement for a fourth term. (Contributed)

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – Some Norwalk election developments:

  • Rilling endorsed by police and fire unions
  • Brinton on ballot only as Republican
  • District A Dem Council candidates running unopposed

Video by Harold Cobin included in story

 

 

Rilling again has police and fire support

Democratic Mayor Harry Rilling has scored his fourth endorsement from both the police and fire unions in his drive for a fourth term.

The Police Union vote was nearly unanimous, with two abstentions, Lt. David O’Connor said, calling Rilling good for the City as well as union members. Fire Union President Billy Ireland described himself as proud to endorse Rilling, who said he’s pleased, proud and humbled by the endorsements.

The Republican’s challenger, Lisa Brinton, said, “This is not a surprise, as it is the mayor’s base of supporters.   Sadly, most do not live in Norwalk like they used to.”

Ireland during the ceremony commented that he’s a lifelong Norwalk resident.

A press release from the Rilling campaign described his support in glowing terms, saying it stems from “his outstanding commitment to public safety and record of reducing crime in every neighborhood.”

Rilling is former Norwalk Police Chief.

“The police union interviewed both candidates for Mayor of Norwalk and our decision was quick and nearly unanimous,’ O’Connor is quoted as saying. “We endorsed Harry because he has a clear record of success reducing crime and making smart, strategic investments in public safety. As a result, crime is down in every neighborhood and Norwalk is as safe as it has ever been. With his understanding of the Opioid crisis and how it affects families and homes. He’s given us the tools to go after the drug dealers both thru the Narcotics division and the Detective’s Bureau.”

“Harry has made public safety a priority for every neighborhood and every resident in Norwalk,” Ireland is quoted as saying. “Mayor Rilling has the full support of Norwalk’s firefighters because he has always made sure that Norwalk’s first responders have the resources we need to be there for our residents in their time of need.  He’s always had an open door, and nobody works harder than Harry for our residents!”

“Serious crimes are at a historic low down by over 1000 incidents per year and 911 response times have been improved by more than 40% (from 6 minutes to 3.5 minutes),” the release said.

Brinton recently said Norwalk budget books show the response time on 911 calls has increased. NancyOnNorwalk investigated that and found that police response has dropped from six minutes in 2006-07 to 3.5 minutes in 2017-18, according to the statistics.  Fire response time appear to be about the same as they were 10 years ago.

Rilling commented Thursday that he works with the safety personnel to give them the training and tools that they need.

“I am humbled and honored to have the support of the many brave men and women who protect Norwalk residents day in and day out,” he’s quoted as saying in the release. “I am so proud of our city and its first responders that crime is down in every neighborhood, and response times have improved dramatically in the past few years.”

 

‘This election is not about party’

Republican-endorsed Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton. (File photo)

Uninformed voters might look at their ballots on Nov. 5 and conclude that Brinton is a Republican.

Although Brinton has proudly touted herself as an unaffiliated voter and therefore suffered resistance as she worked to get the Republican endorsement, she’s on the ballot only as the Republican Party candidate, with no indication of her personal party status.

Town Clerk Rick McQuaid earlier this year said he knew that Brinton would be on the ballot, whether or not she won the Republican endorsement, because she had qualified through petitions. But the line for petitioning candidates is blank.

Brinton explained:

“With the Independent party not established in Norwalk (did not have a candidate in the last election with more than 1% of votes), State statute prohibits cross-endorsements by petition.

“Having decisively secured the Republican endorsement and averted a primary, I chose to accept that endorsement and forgo the Independent party endorsement that I had qualified for via petition.

“I remain an Unaffiliated voter, focused on serving residents, not party. What was important was to secure a two-candidate race. This election is not about party. It’s about two very different leaders with very different priorities and visions for Norwalk’s future.

“The choice could not be clearer. Either stay the course with increasing density that affects our quality of life and is without matching revenues so it falls on the shoulders of homeowners or change course with a vision for economic development that respects our city’s heritage and protects taxpayers.

“I look forward to having this discussion in the coming weeks.”

 

Rilling is on the ballot both as a Democrat and as a Working Families Party candidate.

 

 

District A Republicans drop out of Council race

The sample ballot also reveals a surprising hole: District A Democratic Common Council candidates David Heuvelman and Kadeem Roberts have no opposition.

Republicans at their July convention announced that Fred Fusci and Peter Havens were running for in-district Council.

District A Republican Chairman Richard Bonenfant was not available late Thursday to explain. McQuaid in July said that it’s common for candidates to drop out, as they get caught up in the excitement of a political convention and then think it over.

District A is heavily Democratic.

 

 

The list of candidates

So, with that in mind, here’s an updated list of candidates, courtesy of the sample ballot:

 

Mayor:

  • Harry Rilling (D) (incumbent)
  • Lisa Brinton (U, Republican endorsed)
  • Harry Rilling (Working Families Party) (incumbent)

 

Town Clerk:

  • Rick McQuaid (R, cross-endorsed) (incumbent)

 

Common Council, District A

  • Kadeem Roberts (D)
  • David Heuvelman (D)
  • Kadeem Roberts (Working Families Party)
  • David Heuvelman (Working Families Party)

 

Common Council, District B

  • Ernie Dumas (D) (incumbent)
  • Darlene Young (D) (incumbent)
  • Darlene Young (Working Families Party) (incumbent)

 

Common Council, District C

  • John Kydes (D) (incumbent)
  • George Theodoridis (D)
  • Michael Foley (R)
  • James Anderson (R)
  • John Kydes (Working Families Party) (incumbent)
  • George Theodoridis (Working Families Party) (D)

 

Common Council, District D

  • George Tsiranides (D) (incumbent)
  • James Page (D)
  • Tom Keegan (R)
  • Carl Dickens (R)
  • George Tsiranides (Working Families Party) (incumbent)
  • James Page (Working Families Party)

 

Common Council, District E

  • Tom Livingston (D) (incumbent)
  • Lisa Shanahan (D) (Working Families Party)
  • Peter Bondi (R)
  • Ron Paladino (R)
  • Tom Livingston (Working Families Party) (incumbent)
  • Lisa Shanahan (Working Families Party)

 

 

Common Council, At-Large

  • Greg Burnett (D) (incumbent)
  • Manny Langella (D)
  • Nick Sacchinelli (D) (incumbent)
  • Barbara Smyth (D) (incumbent)
  • Colin Hosten (D) (incumbent)
  • Patrick Murphy (R)
  • Richard Bonenfant (R)
  • Artie Kassimis (R)
  • Glenn Iannacone (R)
  • Darnell Crosland (R)
  • Greg Burnett (Working Families Party)  (incumbent)
  • Manny Langella (Working Families Party)
  • Nick Sacchinelli (Working Families Party)  (incumbent)
  • Barbara Smyth (Working Families Party)  (incumbent)
  • Colin Hosten (Working Families Party)  (incumbent)

 

 

Board of Education District A:

  • Godfrey Azima (D)
  • Alexandrea Kemeny (R)
  • Godfrey Azima (Working Families Party)

 

Board of Education District B:

  • Sherelle Harris (D)

 

Board of Education District C:

  • Diana Carpio (D)
  • Jason Christopher (R)
  • Diana Carpio (Working Families Party)

 

Board of Education District D:

  • Erica DePalma (D)
  • Bryan Meek (R) (incumbent)
  • Erica DePalma (Working Families Party)

 

Board of Education District E:

  • Mike Barbis (D) (incumbent)

 

City Sheriff

  • Robert Burgess (D) (incumbent)
  • Scott Vetare (R)

 

City Treasurer

  • Joseph Tamburri (D) (incumbent)
  • Jerry Petrini (R)

 

Selectmen

  • Andy Garfunkel (D) (incumbent)
  • Samuel Pride (D) (incumbent)
  • Kathryn Angela Martino (R) (incumbent)
  • Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (R)

 

Constable

  • Ernie Dumas (D) (incumbent)
  • Johnnie Mae Weldon (D) (incumbent)
  • Jalin Sead (D) (incumbent)
  • A. Samuel Disraelly (D) (incumbent)
  • Frank Mauro (R) (incumbent)
  • John Romano (R) (incumbent)
  • Ray Cooke (R)
  • Peter Bondi (R)

 

 

First Taxing District Commissioner

  • Marija Bryant (D) (incumbent)
  • Rosa Luciani (R)

 

 

First Taxing District Treasurer

  • Jalin Sead (D) (incumbent)

 

Second Taxing District Commissioner

  • Martha Wooten-Dumas (D) (incumbent)
  • Harold Bonnet (R) (incumbent)

 

 

Second Taxing District Treasurer

  • Darlene Young (D) (incumbent)

 

 

Third Taxing District Commissioner

  • Michele Sweeney (D)
  • Charles Yost (R)
  • Michele Sweeney (Working Families Party)
  • Deb Goldstein (petitioning candidate) (incumbent)

 

 

Third Taxing District Treasurer

  • Ed Holowinko (D)
  • Read Auerbach (R)

 

 

Sixth Taxing District Commissioner

  • Tamsen Langalis (incumbent) (cross-endorsed)

 

 

Sixth Taxing District Treasurer

  • Gilbert Kernan (R)

22 comments

Joe September 27, 2019 at 11:25 am

I finally saw a recent common council meeting on tv the other day. And I think they ALL voted to spend over $56,000 for a monument.

Ten minutes later I saw the Mayor Rilling and Councilman Burnett on tv saying they want to help old people pay their property taxes.

Instead of spending $56,000 for a artistic monument thing, why wouldn’t they vote to give a $1,000 property tax refund to 56 of the oldest taxpayers in town.

It would be an exciting lottery.

Every Norwalk property taxpayer over 75 gets to put their name in a basket and 56 of them would get a $1,000 check from the city!

Do they have some kind of law that they can’t do that? The old people would love that. Everybody would love that.

I’d vote to give the old people $56,000 instead of art anyway. Art is for the private sector. Believe me, I’m an $$$ artist.

Bobby Lamb September 27, 2019 at 2:35 pm

I don’t know why I bother on this site – this comment section is dominated by Lisa’s 5 supporters who will defend basically everything she says. But it still baffles me the things she gets away with saying. “The police and fire endorsements don’t mean anything – they don’t even live here”. Ok – then why did you seek their endorsement if it’s so meaningless? And why did you seek and accept the Republican endorsement if you’re saying every chance you get that you’re not a republican? I heard you on the radio a few weeks ago going on and on about how you’re not a republican. And even if what you’re saying above is true that you had to pick between independent and republican -you still picked republican. You’re not “cross-endorsed” if you have no other endorsement. You are running on the republican line. You’re an embarrassment to our party.

Lisa Brinton September 27, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Bobby, With all due respect, give it a rest! I don’t fit in either party – Whatever each party ‘means’ these days because there is such a broad range on both sides of the aisle. What I AM is a fiscally responsible, socially progressive independent, who appreciates a major Party endorsement. Why? Because I want a one on one with the mayor – not because he’s a Democrat – but because I disagree with the direction he is taken the city in. I also take issue with the millions of taxpayer dollars that have been frittered away due to bad decisions, poor management and cronyism. I received enough votes to get the endorsement. For that I am grateful. I was not interested in a 3-way race. This year R stands for RESIDENTS and REFORM.

As for our first responders, it’s hardly a surprise they endorsed him. Check out the Hour FB posts on the story, I’m not alone. I spoke to the NPD rank and file for nearly an hour a few weeks ago, answered their questions and we joked that we all knew they were going to endorse Harry. Hence, no surprise. I still obviously support the NPD and NFD (my sons are/were both RFD volunteers.)

What was unfortunate is that In an audience of about 50+ police, in uniform (quite a sight for me to behold) I asked how many were residents – a half dozen raised their hands. In the old days, police, fire and teachers ALL lived in Norwalk – sadly they cannot afford it anymore.

So, that leads me back to your statement of just what exactly am I’m getting away with? I am baffled!
Have a nice weekend!

Also, I never made references to the police response times. NON took that upon herself to report those. I highlighted the NFD – largely part of a traffic congestion conversation. With regard to the police, I referred to the value of drug bust increases, which we regularly read about in the paper and overdoses. More density – more problems. Period.

You might be interested to know the rank and file officers told me call volume was up – while crime is down, (as it is around the nation) but largely due to an increase in domestic violence calls. They also have more paperwork.

The original data story that appeared on NON was referring to the fact that more people bring more issues to first responders. We’ve already established the issues with the schools.

DrewT September 27, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Actually Bobby The Republicans voted to Endorse Her! And she made it very clear that she was running as an independent candidate. But if someone like the Republicans are going to endorse you then you would foolish not to accept it. Besides who wouldn’t want a Strong Female Lessing our City. I am a proud supporter and myself and many many many Norwalk Residents are looking forward to celebrating her victory in November! The change Norwalk needs is coming!

Tysen Canevari September 27, 2019 at 10:57 pm

The endorsement by police and fire means nothing. It simply means they slap the lipstick on to whomever is in charge. It benefits them not us as citizens. It’s politics at its best. Would you think for a minute they wouldnt endorse the former police chief? Lisa is right. Most of them dont live here. In fact, being local means nothing anymore for these departments. Police used to be eligible for mortgage discounts if local. Test takers for the fire department used to get extra points if they were a Norwalk citizen. If anything, the police and firemen should be pissed. But i get it; you have to endorse your boss at the end of the day right? Funny thing is the republican chair is a long time cop. Are we to assume Mr Suda endorses Lisa? Norwalk politics is very entertaining to say the least. We should ask the teachers union, dpw union, custodians union, and others who they endorse. Do the people of Norwalk really care? Lisa and Harry are both good candidates. I applaud her for the fact that she wants to better Norwalk. She isnt looking to double dip. BTW, wasnt Harry a republican until he decided to stick it to his old buddy Dick Moccia?

Isabelle Hargrove September 28, 2019 at 10:41 am

@Bobby Lamb. I am also confused as to what party you belong to. I believe you might be an Unaffiliated, just like Ms. Brinton, which means you don’t belong to any party. As an Unaffiliated, I suggest you should be proud of Brinton, not ashamed. When was the last time an Unaffiliated got a major party endorsement and secured a 2-way race for mayor?

She chose wisely. If she had chosen to take an Independent party endorsement and not pursue the Republicans, we would have put forward a placeholder and a 3-way race meant a sure win for Rilling.

But all of these political maneuverings don’t matter to voters. What should is that Lisa Brinton is an honest broker. But she is also very astute. While being an outsider to Norwalk’s political patriarchy, she navigated the process, overcame the obstacles and intrigues, and gave herself an opportunity for a win by securing a two-way race. While all along remaining true to herself, her values, and the people who had put their trust in her.

She proved that you don’t have to sell out to get what you want. She proved that she could navigate the political process and personalities with transparency and create strategic alliances to get the job done. She will do the same when leading Norwalk. This is why this loyal Republican is a huge supporter of this Unaffiliated lady! Norwalk first, party second. I believe voters are ready to give that a try…

Mike Mushak September 28, 2019 at 1:16 pm

It’s no surprise the city’s hard-working rank and file are supporting Harry Rilling, a former police chief himself.

Lisa has complained that city staff make too much money, and that would include police, fire, and teaching staff.

And since Lisa is endorsed by the Republican Party (aka Trump Party), and the Republican Party’s official platform is anti-union and anti-labor including opposition to environmental and workplace regulations to protect worker health and safety, and pro-gun rights which endanger the lives of our first responders and citizens every day, it should be no surprise to Lisa Brinton why our first responders rejected her and threw their support behind Mayor Rilling who is fighting for them.

Tysen Canevari September 28, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Again Mike you make silly comments. SInce Harry was a republican does that mean he likes Trump as well? Cmon buddy. Also, some people do make too much on the city payroll. Consider the lovely ladies at the tax office that work under Flip Palumbo. One lady at the window makes $140,000 a year and the girl that sits next to her and performs the same job makes $55,000. Is that not a waste of money? The mayor has an assistant that makes $140,000 a year. Then what is the mayors job? Just because you are a republican, democrat, or unafiliated has nothing to do if you like Trump or Hillary.. We are talking about Norwalk. BTW I for one believe the fire department staff are under paid. Plain and simple public servant endorsements mean nothing. They have a vested interest but to many citizens it means about as much as those stupid signs in everyones yard. Makes Norwalk look awful.

Nancy Chapman September 29, 2019 at 3:19 am

Tysen, we looked into the Mayor’s party affiliation in 2013. As far as I know, there is no evidence that he was ever registered Republican. He switched from being a Democrat to being unaffiliated when he became police chief so that he wouldn’t politicize the position, he said. Here are two stories:
https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/02/rilling-going-to-enter-norwalk-mayoral-race-email-says/
https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/08/paper-shows-rilling-registered-as-democrat-way-back-when/

Jason Milligan September 29, 2019 at 7:55 am

MM,

How are you so familiar with the “official platform” of the Republican party? Could you provide a link to a website that would support your assertions:

“the Republican Party’s official platform is anti-union and anti-labor including opposition to environmental and workplace regulations to protect worker health and safety, and pro-gun rights which endanger the lives of our first responders and citizens every day…”

Hard to believe any of that would be part of an official platform.

Mike Lyons September 29, 2019 at 8:38 am

Tysen, NON will always look into any criticism of Mayor Rilling to helpfully try to refute it. Criticisms of Liss, of course, just pass through without review.

Lisa Brinton September 29, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Mike, If the only label you can throw at this retired business executive, writing and debate coach, 15 year Norwalk civic volunteer, PTA President, 3- time cancer survivor and single mom is a “Trump” label just because I’ve been cross endorsed by the Norwalk Republican Town Committee, then you and your candidate are clearly “worried.”

Not trying to throw shade on Republican and Democrat endorsed Town Clerk, Rick McQuaid (sorry Rick 🙂 but why don’t you attack him with the same visceral and abusive language you do me? He’s a Republican.

As you know, I have several prominent Democrats supporting me (whether they come out of the political closet remains to be seen) but they know this city is in trouble. This isn’t a partisan mayoral race. This election is a referendum on the mayor and you as a P&Z commissioner and the damage you have done to our beautiful city. We’ll see if enough residents are paying attention 🙂 If Harry wins again, I have a feeling a lot more homes are going to be for sale.

Mike Mushak September 29, 2019 at 7:26 pm

@Lisa, do you support Trump like 92% of Republicans do? Should Trump be removed from office for compromising our national security?

You need to tell the public about your position on Trump, the leader of the party you are endorsed by. Not cross-endorsed, but solely endorsed.

Transparency, please.

Julie Verley September 29, 2019 at 9:18 pm

“You’re an embarrassment to our party” – Bobby Lamb.
What party does he mean -Anyone figure that out yet?

Lisa Brinton September 30, 2019 at 12:27 am

Mike, I didn’t vote for Trump. I voted third party. Give it a rest, especially on this page – nobody is being swayed.

There is no R or D way to run this city, but I wouldn’t expect a partisan person like yourself to understand that. Your left extremism is as bad as the extreme right. I reject both. I also believe in term limits and am against political patronage and mayoral appointments should be based on merit – not for being the lead attack dog for a candidate.

This week, Norwalk voters will see exactly what I want for Norwalk when I release my platform. Then we can debate this issues that matter most to residents and not the false narrative you keep peddling.

Mike Mushak September 30, 2019 at 7:27 am

@Lisa, you didn’t answer the question. Do you think Trump should be impeached? It’s a simple question, no?

I will not “give it a rest”. What a nasty and arrogant comment from a mayoral candidate. That statement alone disqualifies you in my mind. I’m a citizen and potential constituent and am asking you a simple question, which is far you refuse to answer in a blatant lack of transparency..

And let’s stop pretending Trump won’t be on the ballot in November in every single election in the country including in Norwalk.

The corrupt and incompetent Trump administration affects every single Norwalker every day, from his regressive and dangerous policies on the environment, on education, on climate change, on healthcare, on women’s rights, on food stamps, on affordable housing, on voting rights, on infrastructure spending, on tax policy that favors the rich over the poor and middle class, on immigration, on trade, on renewable energy, on consumer protection, on gun control, on LGBTQ rights including marriage equality (the official GOP platform declares my marriage an abomination in the eyes of God and includes a nation-wide ban of all same-sex marriages including my marriage to my husband, seriously, which proves why I will never vote R for the rest of my life nor will anyone I know well), and yes, even on foreign policy since our national security affects every single American including every Norwalker now and generations not yet born.

So Lisa, should Trump be impeached? Simple answer would suffice, not a wordy deflection. Since you are on the Republican ticket, will have a R next to your name on the ballot and actively sought their endorsement and are accepting their money and full support, it’s a valid question.

Will Erdef September 30, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Linking candidate Brinton to Trump is akin to linking Rilling to the American Communist Party who crossed endorsed a Democrat (Hillary Clinton in 2016) – both don’t jive so please let’s stay focused on the issues.

Patrick Cooper September 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:
• Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
• Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
• Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
• Exaggerate achievements and talents
• Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
• Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
• Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior

Mike Mushak October 1, 2019 at 1:05 am

@Patrick Cooper, not sure if you’re referring to Trump or Lisa Brinton, but either way I agree!

Jo October 1, 2019 at 8:09 am

Mike Mushak, if you have so many questions for Lisa, why don’t you just pick up the phone? I’m impressed at how professionally and capably she responds to your agenda-based diatribes. Let Josh Morgan do his job. I’m sure you must have some land to scape.

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