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Norwalk Council hopefuls explain their desire to serve

Budget books sit in the Common Council chambers in April.

The election is Nov. 5.

Updated, 10 a.m.: More information.

NORWALK, Conn. – NancyOnNorwalk asked all 10 Norwalk Common Council at large candidates five questions. Seven responded. Here in alphabetical order are their responses:

Richard Bonenfant. (Contributed)

Richard Bonenfant, Republican, former Council member

What has inspired you to run for office?

On my original run I wouldn’t call it an inspiration, just some fortunate circumstances. Back in the 1990’s, Mayor Frank Esposito appointed me to the Human Relations Commission and the board designated me as the Chairman soon afterwards. Not that I was anything special, but was the only Republican on the Commission and they believed I could bring their concerns more effectively to the Mayor than what they had previously tried. Those five years were a great experience and an opportunity to get to know and help so many groups of people learn about each other here in the City.

One evening before a Republican nominating convention I received a call from the District A Chairman saying he needed to fill a spot for a Taxing District office, he was just using my name but didn’t really have to run. I laughed and said I was going to try and win, so surprise at the convention, he announced that the two Republican Common Council candidates from District A were Rick McQuaid and Richard Bonenfant. Thankfully, we both won.

Today what still inspires me is the love of our community and the positive feedback from so many good folks encouraging me to serve again on the Council.

What qualifications do you bring?

I attended old Marvin School, Nathan Hale, graduated from the former Central Catholic High School (now All Saints) and have a B.A. in Sociology from St. Leo University in Florida. After college I lived in Manhattan for several years, worked at the New York Post newspaper and was elected as a union delegate to the NYC Central Labor Council, and took several classes in photography at New York University. While in the City, met my wife Maureen at a Rangers hockey game where she worked a side job while teaching in the day and also completing her Master’s Degree at St. Johns University. We bought our home in Norwalk and raised our three children here and they all went to Tracey, West Rocks, and graduated Norwalk High School.

Having been elected for seven terms on the Common Council and serving under three mayors has given me a good feel for the pulse of the city and our people. Besides that, my profession as a photographer has led to so many opportunities to work with various organizations, school communities, neighborhood groups, social clubs, sports programs, City agencies and people from all kinds of diverse backgrounds.

Why should people choose you over your opponent? 

In the Council At-Large section, voters can choose up to five candidates, and hopefully I’ll be one of their choices. Early on in politics, I learned not to commit to a position until hearing both sides of a story, and making sure to ask the community what they think about important issues before casting a vote. Never forget you are their representative, being elected is not a free pass to push your own personal agenda.

There has been less public participation lately at many meetings because people have the impression it’s a waste of their time to come out and speak, they suspect decisions have already been made and the public hearings are just a prerequisite to advance an item forward. Other than a few current Council members, mostly all the votes this term have been in lock step and the discussions seem orchestrated to defend the positions.

I’ve never been afraid to vote No if I thought the idea being pushed through wasn’t a good one for Norwalk. We should protect our assets, not sell them off or give them away. The people have to feel that their voice matters, and the City needs to look out for the taxpayers who are paying the bills.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

The biggest challenge facing Norwalk is the uncontrolled growth, increased density and traffic congestion including the explosion of apartment construction which results in pressures on the school system, infrastructure and city services. A Master Plan of Conservation and Development was recently approved but the plan ignored the input of the people who spoke up against overdevelopment. Everyone has their own view of what’s a livable city, and most folks will tell you they want to be able to get around town safely and without obstruction.

The State Legislature effectively made Connecticut a sanctuary state and the consequences have created a huge burden for municipalities. Every day, one or two families who have crossed our nation’s borders are enrolling their children into the Norwalk public school system, and as of yet the City hasn’t done anything to address the influx. Of course we sympathize with the plight of immigrants who flee the crime and violence of their third world homelands. We have proven to be a welcoming community and will continue to provide services and education to back up our philosophy. It is however, neither hateful nor racist to ask where the money is coming from to pay for the increased school expenditures; and going forward, should the local Norwalk taxpayers have these costs forced upon them continuously or will we be required to suffer reductions in academic and extracurricular programs to tackle the issue?

How would you address it?

First, we should assess the impact of all the new and planned development before approving any more apartment complexes or large projects. Hopefully the SoNo Collection will be successful, so let’s wait and see what effect the new mall will have on the West Avenue corridor traffic, and whether it impedes access into the South Norwalk area.

Second let’s consider an increase to the efforts by Norwalk’s Zoning Department to enforce the rules we have and not relax them as no one suggested, but somehow ended up in the final version of the recent Master Plan. Norwalk’s quality of life shouldn’t be for sale in any political way.

What do you consider to be your most important achievement in your previous term?

As someone who has won several elections and lost some too, whether in or out I try to show citizens and all residents how they can participate in civic affairs and make a difference. Most all achievements are group efforts and I was privileged over the years to have served on every Council committee and selected as the Majority Leader in various terms.

Saving open space, gaining parkland, renovating schools and historic buildings while working with staff were among my favorite experiences as Chairman of the Land Use and Building Management committee. In an earlier term I chaired the Ordinance Committee and worked with the public, Police Department and even the establishments to enact the Adult Use Ordinance. To this day there haven’t been any new adult bars and clubs opening, and the older ones have left. Although some of my buddies were annoyed with me at the time, Norwalk has preserved that aspect of its quality of life. It was an honor and a pleasure to have chaired the Health, Welfare & Public Safety Committee and work with the Police and Fire Departments to provide them the tools they needed in keep our community safe. Serving on the Parks and Public Works Committees were also valuable experiences for creating recreational opportunities and infrastructure improvements.

 

 

Greg Burnett. (Contributed)

Greg Burnett, Democrat, incumbent

Why are you seeking reelection?

I am running for reelection so I can continue to advocate for the appropriate spending based on data-driven information while maintaining the city’s top tier AAA rating. I will continue to focus on spending what is necessary and finding ways to keep taxes down which is an ongoing challenge. I will also continue to support the strategic plan of improvement for the Board of Education and improving the school infrastructure while concentrating on providing the best student learning experience to enable us to close the achievement gap. I will continue to promote and implement solutions to improve safe accessibility throughout the city and embrace a Vision Zero strategy for the city of Norwalk. A Vision Zero strategy is based on having a focus on deliverables that result in zero fatalities in our streets.

What do you consider to be your most important achievement in this term?

My greatest impact this term has been the connections I have established in the community as an advocate to all the residents of our city. The city council exists to represent the people while supporting the needs of all. My position has allowed me to take part in important conversations regarding the safety and welfare of our community. I have been an integral member of the Common Council Finance and Claims Committee, Personnel Committee, and Land Use and Building Management Committee.

Each has allotted me the opportunities to discuss  and implement strategies to control spending, reorganize leadership talent, and enhance the Norwalk footprint. We were able to take action to improve the environment by approving the ban on single use plastic bags and plastic straws. We also became the first city in Connecticut to approve a permanent rainbow crosswalk. I am especially elated by the collaborative effort towards the completion of the Grassroots Tennis Center in South Norwalk.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

The greatest challenge facing our community is addressing the needs of our diverse community. We need to embrace and value our diversity by ensuring responsible growth and economic development that addresses the needs of all people in our community. We must provide a community that enables young people the affordability to live here as well as supporting our senior citizens with the ability to stay in their homes that they have invested in their whole lives. Currently more people are commuting out of Norwalk for work each day then commuting in and we have to change this dynamic. We have a great opportunity to enhance our intergenerational capacity and make Norwalk a welcoming and attractive city for all.

How would you address it?

I would address these issues by supporting innovative approaches to deliver social service programs to those who need them the most. I will also focus on spending what is deemed necessary and keeping taxes down to promote appropriate community growth. We must develop strategies to be less dependent on local property taxes. I will continue to support and provide our police department and fire department with the tools and resources necessary to continue to be proactive in order to provide safe neighborhoods.

What’s the most under looked aspect of your work?

The most under looked aspect of this work is providing the community with knowledge of the duties of council members. City council members are in charge of actions such as appointing city administrators, passing ordinances, and developing budgets. City councils are essentially the legislative body of local government. I believe that unfortunately many members of the community are unaware of the actual responsibilities, time commitment, preparation, and research that one has to undertake as a contributing council member. The office is also one of the most rewarding leadership positions by allowing you to make a positive contribution to our community almost each week while you are in office.

 

 

 

Colin Hosten. (Contributed)

Colin Hosten, Democrat, incumbent (appointed)

Why are you seeking to continue as a Council member?

Nothing has made me prouder in the past nine months than being a public servant for the people of Norwalk. Being nominated to fill the seat vacated by now Probate Judge Doug Stern has allowed me to be an advocate for issues like economic fairness, quality public education, and environmental awareness at the local level. I am seeking election so that I can continue to serve the public for a full term. Norwalk has made many improvements in the last few years. Serious crime is way down in every single neighborhood. We’ve tried to keep residential taxes manageable, while our commercial properties have become more fairly valuated. And we’re building a stronger future by investing heavily in our young people, with a public school system now rated the best among urban districts in Connecticut, and getting better each year. I am asking to earn your vote in November because I am excited about the progress we can continue to make. My parents were public school teachers, and they were the ones who taught me to respect and appreciate public service. That’s why I am seeking to continue as your public servant on the Common Council. Together, we can keep making Norwalk a welcoming and affordable place for all.

What do you consider to be your most important achievement in this term?

Even though I’ve only served about half of this term, I am very proud of the work that we as a Council have done to serve our community. I came in just as we were getting into the budget cycle, and I was extremely pleased that we were able to fund key priorities like infrastructure repair, public safety initiatives, and beach and park improvements—not to mention fully funding the Board of Education’s strategic goals—without adding undue tax burden to residents (many homeowners found their taxes either flat or slightly lowered). But perhaps my most important contribution has been on the Ordinance committee, where we had many thoughtful discussions about  environmental sustainability at the local level, leading to robust proposals regulating the use of single-use plastic takeout bags, polystyrene containers, plastic stirrers, and plastic straws, which passed with bi-partisan support on the Council. Especially as a coastal city, we have to make environmental sustainability a key aspect of our planning. We’re just part of the larger global puzzle, but every effort is important, and sometimes it’s easier and faster to make progress at the municipal level. I am proud that we in Norwalk are leading the way for Connecticut.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

In an economic climate still troubled by too much global instability, some working families in Norwalk continue to confront issues like slow income growth and limited economic opportunities. While many people in Norwalk have done well for themselves, we need make sure that economic opportunities are available to more families, particularly in the urban core of South Norwalk. Fairfield County already has one of the largest wealth gaps in the country. When I say that I am committed to economic justice and fairness, I mean that it is crucial for Norwalk to remain a place that people can call home even if they are not wealthy.

How would you address it?

Much of my political ethos is informed by the overwhelming data that shows that when we protect our most economically vulnerable citizens, it helps to promote long-term economic prosperity for everyone. I disagree with trickle-down approaches that allow the top 3% of earners to benefit at the expense of working families. At the local level, this means prioritizing tax relief for seniors and other economically vulnerable residents. But it also means continuing to invest in resources like public education, which has the win-win effect of enhancing home values, while also empowering working-class families and their children. The wonderful thing is that as we make Norwalk more attractive to middle-class families and consumers to live, we also help the city thrive commercially.

What’s the most under looked aspect of your work?

Honestly, many people think of public service as a thankless job, but to me that sentiment doesn’t capture the genuine pleasure involved in being a public servant. I am inspired every day by the commitment Norwalkers show to making our community a better place to live. Sometimes we may disagree on specific issues, and it is especially in those times when we can come together to work on things that help Norwalk continue to be one of the best places to live in Connecticut—that’s what makes it all worth it.

 

 

 

Artie Kassimis. (Contributed)

Artie Kassimis, Republican, former Board of Education member

What has inspired you to run for office?

As a 35-year resident of Norwalk, I have seen many changes in our city. Some of these changes have been good, like the program improvements in our schools. Other changes, as told to me by many Norwalk residents, have impacted their quality of life and their enjoyment of all our city has to offer. I know this city and I know how to bring people together to find solutions that are financially sound and actually work. The road ahead will not be an easy one. It will require leaders in city government to make tough decisions. However, I am excited for what the future holds and I know we can accomplish a lot when we work together and stay focused on our goals.

 

What qualifications do you bring?

My qualifications include a background in corporate as an IT director, various positions in our city government, community service, and for the past 24 years, I’ve been the pastor of Word Alive Church in Norwalk. These unique experiences have provided me with both hard and soft skills that include leadership, budgeting, communications, team management, problem solving, and consensus building.

Below are the specifics of my city government experience:

  • I was elected to the Board of Education for multiple terms, where I served for six and a half years, four years as Vice Chairman. During my first term, we were faced with a $4 million deficit that had accumulated over the previous years. We hired a CFO who helped us navigate through the shortfalls and implement controls to prevent this from happening again. Within two years, we transformed a $4 million deficit into a $1.5 million surplus.
  • As a member of the Policy Committee, I have worked with other members to develop and pass strong bullying, safe social media, and other important policies to ensure the success and safety of our students, teachers, and staff.
  • While Chairman of the Facilities Committee, we created and built the Norwalk Early Childhood Center. Also, we initiated the first-ever Facilities Study that led to the discovery of the need for two new schools.
  • During the challenging period of high superintendent turnover, we initiated a nationwide search which brought us a National Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Manny Rivera. This was followed by another nationally recognized superintendent in Dr. Steven Adamowski, who has made a number of positive changes for Norwalk Public Schools.
  • I worked closely with NPS Athletics department to create unique funding opportunities that preserved our sports programs. I also introduced a Driver’s Ed program in our high schools that continues to help our young people learn how to drive safely.
  • In the wake of Sandy Hook, I become the Board’s representative for the School Safety Committee. Working closely with the city and Police Department, increased the number of School Resource Officers and made improvements to our school building’s security.
  • While Chairman of the Curriculum Committee, we revised the Social Studies, Science, and Music programs.
  • As a member of the Technology Committee, we launched wireless technology throughout NPS.
  • For the past two years, I have been a member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, specifically appointed by Mayor Harry Rilling. This year a majority of Norwalk taxpayers saw a decrease in their property taxes. In addition, we have finished the previous fiscal year with a surplus and our credit rating remains strong.
  • In 2017, I was appointed to the Commission on Judicial Compensation by Senator Bob Duff.
  • In 2015, I was appointed Police Chaplain by Mayor Harry Rilling, where I have been serving the needs of our city’s police officers for four years.
  • In 2010, I was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees by former Mayor Moccia, where I served two years before being elected to the Board of Education.

 

Why should people choose you over your opponent?

My decades of experience, both in and out of city government, is unmatched by my opponents. Norwalk needs to elect the most qualified people that will balance the needs of all residents and lead us through the days ahead with integrity and accountability. We cannot make this election about party politics. It’s time to work together in a bi-partisan effort, to do what’s right and good for the city of Norwalk. I have the experience, leadership, support, and trust of many city leaders and officials, and even my opponents, who know that I will do all I can to work together to make the tough decisions that will create a bright future for Norwalk.

I have proudly served the city of Norwalk and am grateful for all of these opportunities to give back and do all I can to create a bright future for all of Norwalk. My wife and I are the proud parents of four children, who are NPS graduates. We have one grandchild and another on the way. My two sons are police officers – one in Norwalk, the other in Trumbull. My oldest daughter is a teacher in Norwalk and my youngest daughter is a cosmetologist.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

According to many Norwalk residents that I have spoken to, the biggest challenge facing Norwalk residents is quality of life, such as overdevelopment, traffic congestion and high rents. While we cannot go back in time and undo what’s been done, we can move forward and make positive changes that will benefit all of our residents. For example, ensuring our grand list is as healthy as possible by securing the appropriate tax revenues from commercial properties, obtaining the most rebate revenue from Hartford as possible, and ensuring our education system is top notch. Challenges are simply opportunities in disguise. I’m looking forward to working together to meet these challenges head on and find solutions that will make our city even better.

How would you address it?

My experience, loyalty to the town of Norwalk, and proven track record of results will help us bring about the much-needed changes our city needs. Working together in a bi-partisan manner and being willing to listen to new ideas will enable us to do what’s best for our city today and tomorrow.

What do you consider to be your most important achievement in your previous term?

I have had multiple achievements that have been noted above and I am equally proud of each of them. I look forward to working with my fellow council members, other elected officials, and local residents to bring balance, experience, accountability, and change to Norwalk.

 

 

 

Manny Langella. (Contributed)

Manny Langella, Democrat

What has inspired you to run for office? 

It is easy to get caught up in politics from the Federal level, but the reality is that change starts and happens at the local level. I’ve had a passion for community service and politics my entire life and have a BA in Political Science.

What qualifications do you bring?

 Professionally:

  • I have worked hard to elevate myself in my career to work with Enterprise business leadership as a Global Strategist and Indeed.com. I live and breathe data analytics, go to market strategy, and am a precise tactician with a passion for project management. I believe in transparency, communication, accountability, and planning ahead.

 Politically:

  • Board Member, Connecticut State Lottery
  • Finance Committee, Connecticut State Lottery
  • Legislative & Games Committee, Connecticut State Lottery
  • Fair Rent Committee, Norwalk

Why should people choose you over your opponent? 

 I would add valuable business experience to an already diverse portfolio on the Council. Whether we like to admit this or not, we are running a business and making policy, a 330 million dollar one that impacts 90,000 residents of all races, ages, genders, and incomes from all communities.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

 This is more than a one issue answer. What will define the success of this City will be a strong education system, affordable housing for ALL of Norwalk, stable infrastructure and an expanded tax base fueled by innovation and new revenue streams that keep Norwalk competitive and relevant in the future.

How would you address it? 

  • Cross-functional collaboration and open communication channels with local government and the community. My greatest success has been questioning the status quo, taking a step back, collecting all the feedback and actioning.

 

 

 

Nick Sacchinelli. (File photo)

Nicholas Sacchinelli, Democrat, incumbent

Why are you seeking reelection?

I am seeking reelection to further my commitment to the public and serve the city that I love for another two years.

What do you consider to be your most important achievement in this term? 

There is a lot to be proud of from my time in office, but as Chair of the Health, Welfare, and Public Safety Committee, you can imagine much of my passion in office aligns with these critical categories. I am very happy with the progress the city has made. We have addressed things ranging from macro topics as broad as Environmental health and Urban Infostructure, to more focused areas of the city including support of individual residents. Public safety is a nonnegotiable and major focus of mine. With the support of my colleagues, and the mayor, we have been aggressively targeting public safety focus points that I feel are foundational to practical urban safety and security. We have done a lot of good work pertaining to urban infostructure, specifically in the realm of walk paths, sidewalks, lighting, flooding, etc… We have been able to address much of the flooding and have a well-defined plan for remaining areas. This was no small task, but the progress speaks for itself. We have streamlined the process for identifying need and implementing new walk paths / sidewalks, and we are consistently working with the public to improve upon public lighting. I am proud to say that I have been able to experience the best form of conversational government over the past two years in office. The public brings their ideas, we present ours, and we progress together.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

Norwalk is at a critical juncture. There has been a lot of thoughtful progress in expanding the city. However, most of the larger projects are coming online simultaneously in 2020 and for the first time we will be able to gauge the next steps for the city from neutral position. The biggest challenge to the city will be deciding on next steps. Do we hold here? Do we forge on? If so, what? Where? I am confident this will be a major topic of discussion for the next council

How would you address it? 

In addressing the areas of future development, I plan to approach with caution. I want to be certain we can support the good work we have already done. We are going to have an opportunity to assess city wide impact of every project coming online and that does not happen overnight. I do not take this task lightly and plan to review the opinions of experts in the field and comments from the public before any decisions are made.

What’s the most under looked aspect of your work?

It is easy to miss the fact that working for the Common Council is an immersive role. We never go home from it. I have found that most of the public assumes the Common Council is our full-time employment, but it is to the contrary. We draw upon all of our combined experiences, as well as, the knowledge and experience of experts and even our extended personal networks around us. Although it is very much a full-time job it doesn’t happen at city hall. Although, the meetings happen there, the work happens while we are working our day jobs, while we care for our families. The job follows us everywhere and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We do not do it for the $600 a year salary. We do not do it for some sort of celebrity, because trust me, it is not the celebrity that anyone would want. We do it because we care. We genuinely want to do good for the people of Norwalk.

 

 

Barbara Smyth. (Contributed)

Barbara Smyth, Democrat, incumbent

Why are you seeking reelection?

I’m seeking reelection because I am committed to serving the people of Norwalk.  I’ve learned so much in these past two years about the complexities of running the city, and have realized the more I learn, the more I need to learn to be the most effective Council member I can be.  Now that I have the foundation, I’d like the opportunity to serve another term so I can build on this knowledge and continue the work I’ve started

What do you consider to be your most important achievement in this term?

My most important achievement during my first term is being named Chairwoman of the Personnel Committee after serving such a short time on the Common Council.   As committee chair, I had asked that a performance evaluation be established for distribution of the Mayor’s bonus plan for ordinance workers. This plan has been in effect for many years, but we needed to assure the bonuses were not distributed arbitrarily.  The performance evaluation has been implemented and will be used to determine bonuses this fiscal year. I also supported a revision of the ordinance workers pay plan to ensure those workers are paid equitably in comparison to our union employees.  Fair compensation is crucial in helping retain good employees who help our city run effectively and efficiently.

What is the biggest challenge facing Norwalk?

I think the biggest challenge facing Norwalk is balancing responsible growth with the historic nature and culture of our city, while taking care of our neediest citizens.  There has been a lot of exciting growth in Norwalk that will move our city into the future. Today’s youth have different wants and needs than baby boomers, so we need to be visionary in preparing Norwalk for our children and grandchildren, while making sure those same baby boomers can afford to stay in their homes, and that our neediest citizens find comfort.  We need the right balance of economic and cultural growth while assuring a good quality of life for all of Norwalk’s citizens.

 

How would you address it? 

I am but one voice on the Common Council, but I believe we can work together to accomplish this balance by supporting small businesses with smart zoning laws and economic incentives, by providing fair taxes with relief for the elderly, and by increasing affordable housing.  Naturally, we need to continue growing our grand list to lesson the burden on taxpayers, but we need to ensure incentives for large development will ultimately help Norwalk to prosper.  I support improving our park system to offer programs and activities that keep our citizens engaged with the city and with one another.  I support a rich art and cultural center focused on the Wall Street area that will offer music, art, and entertainment for our diverse population.  And, I support an organized effort to coordinate services for the elderly and disadvantaged.

I believe that by working together we can accomplish the right balance of exciting growth with happy citizens.

 

What’s the most under looked aspect of your work?

The most under looked aspect of my work on the Council, aside from the many hours we all put in, is how very much I care about Norwalk and its people.  Norwalk is a great city, the best I’ve ever lived in.  I have been honored to serve Norwalk as a teacher in our public schools, and now as a council member serving all of Norwalk’s people.  I am committed to acting honestly, ethically, and with integrity at all times to serve the city I love.

 

Also seeking your vote as Council at Large candidates are Republicans Darnell Crosland, Glenn Iannacone and Patrick Murphy.

7 comments

Lisa Brinton October 15, 2019 at 10:47 pm

Is it my imagination or are the incumbent common council members running for re-election beginning to lift their foot off the gas pedal of unbridled development? Perhaps they’re starting to do the math?

Mike Mushak October 16, 2019 at 7:07 am

@ Lisa Brinton, you just can’t stop yourself from pushing that false narrative of “unbridled development”, can you? It’s flat out untruthful. Why do you keep doing this when you know it’s not true?

Norwalks growth rate is about 6% this decade, one if it’s slowest growth rates in history. We grew 37% in the 1950’s, and averaged about 20% growth every decade over the last century.

Our development is not “unbridled”. We are growing in more walkable areas near transit, and keeping up with economic growth to allow corporations to expand and startups to succeed by attracting new talent and residents, and restoring life to our once-abandoned and blighted downtowns.

This false narrative is designed to instill fear to gain power, plain and simple. In a city that always prided itself on its diversity, it’s just sad that a mayoral candidate would stoop so low.

Claire Schoen October 16, 2019 at 11:56 am

With all the back and forth (and sufficient snarkiness on both sides) over the mayoral election, it’s worth remembering that Norwalk has a “weak mayor” system. Pay attention to who’s running for Common Council and Board of Ed, as these are the folks who make many of the big decisions…

Audrey Cozzarin October 16, 2019 at 2:44 pm

I’m glad to hear these Common Council members and hopefuls talk about traffic in Norwalk.

As an advocate for traffic safety, I feel there is a relationship between density and traffic congestion. It is hoped that by Norwalk joining the Vision Zero Network (an international road safety strategy, https://visionzeronetwork.org ), initiatives pertaining to road engineering, enforcement, and education will help alleviate the aggressive driving behavior we’re all experiencing. Much of this behavior is a symptom of stress and difficulty getting around, with state and federal roads clogged so often. Our local roads take the brunt of drivers trying to make up time.

As human population increases, our cities have become more crowded. I believe there are alternatives and solutions to both development (economic or otherwise) and transportation. The committee I formed, the Norwalk Citizens Traffic Safety Committee (on which Lisa Brinton served until announcing her candidacy for mayor), is dedicated to exploring how cities around the world are coping with getting people around. Greg Burnett has attended the Committee’s events and we both attended the Vision Zero forum in June in New Haven.

I invite the Common Council members to listen carefully to what Norwalkers (residents and businesses) are sharing: A topic concern is traffic. Traffic congestion is not divorced from density. We have to find ways to live together with respect, courtesy, mindfulness, and intelligence. Smart growth–that’s the goal.

Personally, I’m glad Lisa and these Common Council candidates are highlighting what many see as an issue: Congestion in Norwalk. Norwalk has become a big city with big city issues, and we need all hands on deck to retain the values of community that ensure a good quality of life for all of us.

John Miller October 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm

@Mike Mushak: Lisa is absolutely correct about unbridled development. Exactly where are all the startups and corporate expansions needed to support it? Businesses aren’t coming to Connecticut, Mike, they are leaving. Where is your business tax base going to come from? Comparing population growth from the Industrial Revolution or the post WWII era when the United States was essentially the world’s production floor to the population growth in today’s global economy is totally bogus. Connecticut was once a manufacturing powerhouse. Most of it is gone, Mike. I spent more than three decades in the transportation, logistics, supply chain, and manufacturing sectors in this state, Mike, so I know what I’m talking about. You don’t. Bottom line Mike, the only fals narrative is the one that you are spreading, not Lisa.

Mimi Chang October 19, 2019 at 4:28 pm

I was researching the Common Council candidates online to learn more about them and be as informed as possible before Election Day. I perused Mr. Hosten’s Facebook page, and was highly disappointed to see that he included a comment he made under another article here on NoN where he character slandered Ms. Brinton, misrepresented her political affiliation (Ms. Brinton is Unaffiliated, not Republican, Mr. Hosten!), and implied she is racist/anti-immigrant. He also reposted Ed Camacho’s stomach-turning and disingenuous smear Op-ed from The Hour. Shame. If Ms. Brinton wins this election, and Mr. Hosten holds the council seat, then Mr. Hosten will be owing someone an apology big time.

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