Dems: We are united to make Norwalk better

NORWALK, Conn. – The time has come to put that nasty primary behind them, Norwalk Democrats say, pulling together in a Tuesday afternoon show of solidarity that was nonetheless missing two of the men who fought against former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling in vying to be the next mayor of Norwalk.

District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, the Democrat who came closest to Rilling in the September primary, stood alongside Rilling outside the Family Diner on Main Street. The absence of Andy Garfunkel and Matt Miklave was attributed to work schedules, something that Miklave confirmed later.

Rilling said the primary has resulted in a better Norwalk.

“We had some wonderful, wonderful discussions and debates and opportunities to present platforms,” he said. “Those platforms are going to be brought together. One platform has certain components, another has others, you take the best of all those platforms and you put them into one solid platform, you can’t help but get excited about what’s going to happen in Norwalk.”

State Sen. Bob Duff, state Rep. Chris Perone, former Mayor Bill Collins, eight Common Council candidates, two Board of Education candidates, and three former chairpersons of the Democratic Town Committee also joined Rilling for the press conference.

“Our message here today is the primary is over,” Duff said. “We are here as one party, speaking with one voice, for a better community. … We have lots of talent here behind me who are going to be working hard for our city.”

“Take a look at the diversity of the people standing here today,” Rilling said. “We’ve got men and women, we’ve got people from different ethnic backgrounds, we’ve got some of the people with the institutional knowledge. We’ve got young people who bring in energy and drive and new young people to the party. So this party is going to be around for a very, very, very long time.”

People from all parts of the party are pulling together and working at Rilling’s campaign headquarters, Collins said.

Norwalk Democrats for Rilling 102213 026-003
Harry Rilling lauds Vinny Mangiacopra Tuesday.

Rilling was very deferential to Mangiacopra, who he called “a rising star” and a “future long-term leader in this community.”

Mangiacopra expressed “deep admiration” for Rilling’s service to the community. Rilling was a Norwalk police officer for 41 years and police chief for 17 years.

“This is important for everybody to know that the Democratic ticket is united behind my friend Harry Rilling,” he said.

He went on to remind everyone of recent history, the reasons not to vote for Republican incumbent Mayor Richard Moccia, including the $4 million shortfall in the Board of Education insurance accounts last year and “the lack of stability that has existed for eight years in the school system (that) has done nothing but hurt our kids.”

It is also important to vote for the Democratic under-ticket, he said, reminding voters that Democrats won the majority on the council last time only to have three defections to the Republican caucus.

Democrats are different this time around, he said.

“The Democratic candidates are different from the Republicans because they’re staying positive while the Republicans are getting down in the gutter every chance that they get,” Mangiacopra said. “We’re going to go out there and we’re going to work on behalf of the Democratic ticket. We’re going to get Harry elected to be the next mayor of our city and the Democratic majority.”

One little thing: Miklave said he had not been informed about the press conference.

“I was working,” he said. “I was working in the city.”

If he weren’t working today would he have gone?

“I was working today,” he said. “I was in the city.”

Mangiacopra said he and Rilling had discussed short and long-term goals for Norwalk.

“For me it was never a matter of if I was going to come out for Harry, it was just a matter of when,” he said. “We have been helping all along. Harry and I have had an open dialogue ever since the primary. … I’ve done a lot of work here with the party over the past half dozen years or so. A lot of the people that are running for Common Council and Board of Ed are many people that I helped recruit to run and were supporters of mine. So I just feel that I have an obligation to go out there and reciprocate support on their behalf.”

Norwalk Democrats for Rilling 102213 028
Norwalk Democrats celebrate a moment of unity Tuesday in front of the Family Diner. Vinny Mangiacopra chose the location.


12 responses to “Dems: We are united to make Norwalk better”

  1. Of course Bob Duff is out in front — pathetic.

  2. D(ysfunctional)TC

    LMFAO. Vinny, still jobless obviously, speaks the longest amount of time and in his uptown dialect. And, oh? Where is Amanda the widow-maker?

  3. Piberman

    Missing from the gathering were the 3 unions committed to Democratic victory and bigger salaries paid for by bigger taxes. And the two Democratic BOE members who opposed the hiring of our first Hispanic Superintendent. A Democrat controlled BOE would elevate the NFT to their former seat at the BOE table. We can be certain a Democrat controlled Norwalk would maintain our fame as the city with the highest salaried workers in Connecticut. Norwalk Democrats are following the Governor’s strategy – union support before election, higher taxes and salaries afterwards. Never mind our stagnant property values – most union employees live elsewhere. Democrats forever.

  4. EveT

    If Mangiacopra wants a political future in Norwalk, he needs to wash his hands of his past associations in Bridgeport. Glad to see him publicly supporting Rilling, but it’s pretty easy to see that he’s strategically following where the wind blows.

  5. Th Other Harry

    At about 6 minutes in, Vinnie tells you why to avoid this bunch. He flat out states that 3 D’s deserted the party…and that only the 3 standing there held together. What did they accomplish? What did they even try to do? Get their friends jobs and loot the rainy day fund.

  6. The Deal

    Does anyone have any proposals for positive change to help the city or is this site just for hurling unsubstantiated charges and insults?

  7. Piberman

    To “The Deal”:

    A good start to improve our governance would be to elect citizens who understand that property owners are poorly served by granting municipal workers the highest salaries of any City in the state (see the Arbitration Report). When our major unions vigorously support an out of office Party we know without any doubt what follows – higher salaries and much higher taxes and lower property values. It’s the Hartford strategy pioneered by Gov. Malloy – embrace unions before the election then spend and tax afterwards to provide the “rewards”. Norwalk has no positive future with the highest municipal salaries in CT and the taxes required to fund them. Everyone understands why Democrats are not discussing taxes and spending in this campaign. …
    … The president of the NFT — our largest union — is going all out to bring back Democratic rule in Norwalk. It’s real good business for the union on the backs of over pressed taxpayers. Politics isn’t rocket science. The facts are that the NFT gained their lofty salaries – 5th highest in CT despite our modest 19th ranking – when Democrats controlled the BOE – 1997 to 2009.
    Why do you suppose 2 of the 4 Democrat BOE members opposed hiring Dr. Rivera ? Ask them. The NFT president is moving heaven and earth to make sure they will never be taken to Arbitration again. By controlling the BOE they control City finances.

    (This comment was edited to remove factually false statements.)

    (Editor’s note: I asked BOE member Migdalia Rivas this week why she voted against Rivera. She said she did NOT vote against Rivera, but she did vote against the contract, which she felt paid him more money than the BOE could afford. She wanted to lower the salary and complained of being left out of the process until it was a done deal.)

  8. Still waiting

    Still waiting, to see a Moccia ad pop up. It’s getting late. Will he or wont he buy an ad? Or, is it just gonna continue to be all these drive bys trying to get something, anything to stick on the wall?

  9. The Deal

    Pib, you started out well but quickly fell back into character. This next little tidbit will probably raise your blood pressure. We all know Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, along with the current city administration, spent a lot of money on the new fire headquarters. There’s not much of an argument that they needed a new building, but that one? Anyway, Denis, who has no connection to Norwalk other than collecting his pay here, and has full support of the current administration, plans to spend more than $500,000.00 of taxpayer money for structural changes to the Westport Ave fire station. As I understand it the Westport Ave station could use a new HVAC system and updated plumbing, maybe $50,000 worth of upgrades. But since Chief McCarthy wants to spend our money his way, with the blessings of the current City Hall occupants, guess what’s going to happen and who’s going to pay for it?

  10. Mike Lyons

    Ms. Rivas voted against hiring Dr. Rivera – check the minutes. Ms. Murray abstained. When the vote on Dr. Rivera’s final contract came up, Ms. Rivas again voted no; this time Ms. Murray voted yes. This is also in the minutes.

    1. Mark Chapman

      Re: Mike Lyons comment:
      The minutes regarding the vote to hire Dr. Rivera are recorded as such:


      In discussion preceding the vote, the minutes reflect this:

      Ms. Rivas asked for a point of clarification on the approval of appointment and contract, and Mr. Lyons replied that the item is a vote for the appointment. She then stated that she had concerns with the Search Firm and she had protested the $250,000 figure at the last Board meeting. She stated that Norwalk cannot afford the salary, but her major complaint concerned the process by which the choice was made. She explained that there was a lot of uncivil behavior going on in the emails between the board members and, and that it seemed like it was conducting Board meetings in the e-mail. She stated that she would be voting no and that she feels the public was denied certain things that they requested.

      Ms. Murray said she had no problem with Dr. Rivera as the candidate, but she felt excluded from the process. She said there were times when information was not shared with all Board members, and added that we really do need to understand better how we can work as a nine member Board. She stated that they need to learn how not to divide but to be able to respect, fully listen to each other, and to evaluate what is being said as far as what’s in the best interest of all students.
      Mr. Lyons said the Board had differed about the candidates but it was clear that the one candidate that could generate the greatest degree of consensus on the Board was Dr. Manny Rivera. He added that no one had been excluded, and that he forwarded every document he got from Proact to every board member. He stated that he feels this is an opportunity for Norwalk to really turn a corner, and we are bringing in a person who knows our city, knows our school system, and certainly knows education. …

  11. The Deal

    Good job Mike! You see Pib…….facts.

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