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Common Council, District E: Denise Brown

Denise Brown. (Contributed)

Independent

  • Describe how your occupation will assist you in serving Norwalk and give three brief but specific examples, including what committees on which you hope to serve.

My background with 20 years of Bookkeeping and working to organize youth programs has helped me pay attention to detail. I currently serve on the OHPA as Treasurer and head of the tennis committee, and I would like to serve on the Common Council.

  1. Organizing 12 years of annual fundraising banquets for 250+ families raising over $700,000 for scholarships funds has helped me to see the growing need of assistance to lower and mid income families and focus on budget balancing.
  2. Worked with multiple small business owners, helping them start up their company, organize their books and run the day-to-day operations. Whether is a $250,000 or $50 million business, the books need to balance, and money needs to be spent wisely.
  • The Norwalk Charter is on the ballot for its first major revision in about 100 years. Assuming it passes, would you support forming a new Charter Revision Commission in the coming term to address unfinished business? What would be your top three priorities for change? Can you explain why? 

I would support forming a new Charter Revision Commission if it is representative of all the parties of Norwalk, not a lopsided one-party rule. 1. Greater emphasis on public engagement and pre-budget public hearings. 2. Defined terms that are public friendly for the ordinary public. 3. Take the mayor out of every appointment of Commissions and Boards and Change the position of Chief of Staff to a City Manager that reports to the Common Council and not the mayor.

  •  Do you believe Norwalk should have a Civilian Police Review Board and why or why not?

No, there is much training that goes into law enforcement that civilians don’t know, it would hinder their day-to-day work. But I would support a public survey to see citizens’ concerns that may be addressed.

  • There is a constant public battle between city government, the school board, and concerned citizens. It seems that all are “dug in” with their positions, eager to “defeat” the other to win their own agenda. What would you specifically propose to bring all groups to the table to solve issues rather than fight about them? Policy changes and revisions can certainly be part of your answer.

Norwalk’s BOE budget problems require both the city and BOE to be honest with each other and the residents of Norwalk. There are a couple of components that drive our education budget issues: planning and zoning strategies that are disconnected from education funding, like tax credits for developers that forfeit city revenue and under taxed, illegal apartments that shortchange the city – and its largest dept the BOE.  The decades of underfunding from the state for ECS monies is now at a crisis level and Norwalk politicians remain silent. Too much emphasis on building a new high school it’s not needed, when several schools still lack basic air conditioning or struggle to fund the instruction that is supposed to go on inside.

  • “Housing affordability” means different things to many people. The current standard is based on the median income of Fairfield County, which is $84,233 per household. A job that pays $30 per hour misses that standard by approximately $22,000. What is your definition of Housing affordability, and do you think the standard should be made more equitable?

Equitable? Everybody’s new, feel-good word. Affordable makes more sense to me. A lot of new prefab housing may make new units more affordable as long as they are up to code. (especially fire codes, to avoid what happened on the Richards Ave. Complex) I think that designing a unit to include a one car garage built into the unit and allowing an extra parking spot is important.

  • What would you propose to move Norwalk’s government agencies, businesses, organizations, and private citizens towards a zero-carbon footprint?

I think a zero-carbon footprint is unrealistic. Correcting our waste management system, improving our infrastructure, especially in flood zone areas, curve industrial building on and around our waterfront, eliminating these huge, ugly buses and incorporating smaller hybrid buses is a starting point.

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