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Density: Where’s Norwalk headed?

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Governments across national, state and local levels have called into focus health and to a lesser degree economic issues associated with COVID-19.  Policies have varied, impacting budgets, education, different socio-economic groups and the economy.  Amidst the pandemic, city officials have also faced protests over instances of racism and symbols of inequality from government institutions.  We’ve seen it in Norwalk.  With events like these dominating headlines, we can’t lose sight of the one constant in Norwalk – this Administration’s pursuit of density at the expense of everything else.  Injustice manifests itself in many forms.  It’s time to reflect on what’s happening in the place we call home.

 

Strengths: Historically, Norwalk has been a diverse, affordable, working and middle class city in an otherwise expensive ‘Gold Coast’ area.  Locals could buy or rent, give their children a good education, work in town or greater metro area and retire with children and grandchildren close by.  Norwalk’s diverse school system has a long history of closing the achievement gap, ranking  #1 in Connecticut’s urban districts today.  An aesthetically and environmentally pleasing coastal city, Norwalk is strategically located on Long Island Sound, with six miles of coastline and over a thousand acres of parkland.  Four train stations within an hour of NYC means residents have unlimited access to the largest cultural, media, sports, fashion, and entertainment city in the world.

 

Weaknesses: Lack of transparency and ‘communication after the fact’ has left neighborhoods scrambling when Zoning  decisions have already been made. Ordinance enforcement has been lackadaisical and not kept pace with density.  Local government has grown, with public employees earning more than the median income of most residents. Limited advocacy by elected officials has allowed Hartford to take financial advantage of Norwalk, especially in education funding, disproportionately impacting minority students.  Education is a financial equalizer, yet officials seem content with Norwalk’s future steeped in mixed retail and minimum wage jobs serving mega apartment complexes.

 

Threats: This administration has combined and perfected the art of short-term planning with expedient cronyism.  Overly involved in real estate, with a bias for spot zoning and developer tax incentives, many, but especially seniors and people of color are being forced out.  Fortress complexes abound; the latest planned for the East Avenue section of town with 1300 proposed apartments and same added to BLT’s mini-city on Glover Avenue.  Meanwhile, access to city hall during COVID-19 remains limited to YouTube,  Zoom or  paying one’s property taxes.  Moving at warp speed, over 6000 apartments have been approved or planned along bottleneck, congested routes.  New multi-unit housing, ranging from affordable to luxury has been corporatized, tax credited and concentrated in the hands of the favored few.  Rents are more than most local mortgages, likely because Norwalk continues to spend.  Despite concerns over private sector unemployment and tax collection later this year, Norwalk increased spending 4.9 percent.  Last week, Norwalk’s Chief Financial Officer warned the Mayor and Council about rising capital debt and concerns over longer term financial sustainability.  They approved bonding anyway.

 

Opportunities: There is still a strong sense of community held by residents of all races, many of whom have lived in Norwalk for generations and wish to remain so. If elected officials don’t understand public finance or Norwalk’s value – many people in this city do.  The climate for pushback on local government by citizens is growing, creating opportunities to 1) halt the cronyism,  2) encourage smarter growth, 3) improve quality of life, and 4) create a sustainable financial future for Norwalk.

The institutionalized and financial hypocrisy of city hall on housing, education and quality of life must be addressed.  Follow the money and follow the data.  According to the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC), Norwalk is more densely populated than Stamford and Danbury, with higher percentage crime rates and disengaged youth.  With the lowest tree canopy in Western Connecticut, we’re turning our urban core into an expensive, soulless, concrete jungle.  Stop enriching banks and developers with tax credits at the expense of residents and students.  Believe in Norwalk.  Quit selling us out on the cheap.  Friends and neighbors of all colors, creeds and sexual orientations, open your eyes and make your voices heard!

 

Lisa Brinton

36 comments

Manuel July 4, 2020 at 8:18 am

Bravo Lisa – thanks for stating what is a slow moving train wreck in motion. The city is becoming congested and crowded with its amenities being watered down due to the ever increasing density. What’s even more perplexing is a majority of citizens I have had recent discussions with are not for the higher density initiatives under way. Further, why are property taxes rising 4-5% under these difficult economic times? These developments have clearly brought zero relief to the taxpayer.

Clearly, Norwalk’s elected leaders are out of touch and operating in a vacuum.

Cecilia Andy July 4, 2020 at 8:38 am

Excellent SWOT analysis Lisa! I hope you run again.

My taxes were up 5% this year with my work hours getting cut while nearby municipalities were making real efforts to contain spending and taxes. Please continue to stay engaged.

Bobby Lamb July 4, 2020 at 10:11 am

Lisa – go away. Your uninformed, mean spirited, anti everything is boring. You’re obsessed. Get a life.

John ONeill July 4, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Norwalkers truly need to understand how short changed our schools have been by lack of representation in Hartford. Our demographics and school needs have changed considerably over the past 10 years BUT not our funding. If Norwalk was a private corporation our state officials would’ve been fired for ineptness years ago.
As I’ve sat in the sweltering heat this week, I’ve thought long and hard about our American heroes. There are sooo many to choose from!! Anyway, the heat is on and I’ve decided to name Willis Carrier as todays American hero!! For those who don’t know him, he’s actually a very cool guy. His claim to fame is inventing the Air Conditioner. Thanks Willis for your contribution to greatness.

Ron Morris July 4, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Harry may not be the answer. However without question Lisa is certainly not the answer. All she does is find fault and never not even one gives a solution. Heck she cant even make up her mind if she is and Independent , Republican or something else.

Mike Mushak July 4, 2020 at 5:28 pm

Happy 4th of July to you too, Lisa! Sheesh, you think a letter dated on our most sacred patriotic holiday might actually mention it, but since she didn’t, I will. Stay safe everyone, and remember, please do not act like our president, ever!

Now let’s get down to fact-checking Lisa’s letter, which no surprise includes insults, misinformation, and fear-mongering about density which is intentionally directed at a small group of angry-at the-world kind of folks who support her. These include many reactionaries and suburban nimbies and chronic complainers, including (no surprise) many hard-core Trump supporters.

Here’s some real facts:

Norwalk is a great city that is growing and planning itself in many smart and sustainable ways, directing residential and commercial growth in denser and more walkable (and often formerly industrial) areas near transit stops.

All smart cities are developing in the same way Norwalk is all across America, because it make sense for the future and saves energy and creates more attractive and diverse communities that are more attractive to businesses. Despite the temporary knee-jerk fear of density from the pandemic, and they are temporary, denser development near transit is the smart way to plan for growth well into the future.

Density therefore is not to be feared despite Lisa’s desperate attempts to demonize “density” by connecting it with the word “injustice”, an Orwellian trick I’m still trying to process. That clearly is a laughable claim, as if everyone should just be able to afford to (or even want to) live like Lisa, in a million-dollar single-family home in Rowayton. Oh the injustice of it all!

I doubt Lisa has ever actually visited any of the newer apartment buildings she despises so much in Norwalk’s urban core, and seen the diversity of race, age, income, disability, etc. that their residents actually represent. They are our friends, family, co-workers, fresh out of school college graduates to retirees who have downsized.

The apartment buildings are an important part of our community, and let’s not forget that many of them who may want to start families are our future single-family homebuyers once they get a taste of what a great place Norwalk is to live, work, and play, and how great our schools are!

Last year, Lisa tried her best to demonize apartment dwellers as something to be feared by those virtuous single-family home dwellers, in one of the ugliest and most divisive campaigns I have ever witnessed in Norwalk, which is why she lost in a landslide defeat.

She made false claims repeatedly, including the laughable claim that apartment dwellers are a serious financial burden on single-family homeowners. Thats hogwash.

The truth is just the opposite, as it’s the apartment dwellers in energy-efficient buildings in walkable neighborhoods who are paying more per square foot in property taxes (charged through their rent as every landlord does) and using much less city services than single family homes. Not to mention the economic activity they generate for local businesses, which averages between $50-$100k per unit depending on size of the unit (Urban Land Institute).

Lo and behold, it’s actually the efficient new apartment buildings that end up subsidizing the property taxes of the sprawled out single-family homes that cost a lot more for taxpayers to maintain per resident (paving and plowing hundreds of miles of suburban streets, maintaining hundreds of miles of sewer and water lines, maintaining thousands of utility poles and street lights, etc.).

You see, building denser communities near transit which is what Norwalk is doing is a smart planning strategy for growth that is cheaper, easier, and dare I suggest a lot more fun for creating a real “sense of place” with more vibrant street life, and is both more environmentally and economically sustainable.

Did I mention that single-family homes often have more kids in school too, something their property taxes rarely if ever cover? Compare this to the new apartment buildings in the urban core, with an average of .12 child per unit, or 12 kids for every 100 units. They are not a burden on our schools, infrastructure, or services. It’s false to say they are, and those saying it like Lisa Brinton need to be called out for the fear-mongering that it is.

Let’s move on to disprove another one of Lisa’s bizarre claims, that our urban core is an “expensive, soulless, concrete jungle”. That’s just more baloney written from Lisa’s lounge chair next to her swimming pool! (*See footnote at bottom about Lisa’s claim about our lack of tree canopy.)

The truth is, Norwalk is creating a vibrant, affordable, and attractive urban core with many new and renovated parks, wider sidewalks, better transit connections, and more housing choices in a region with a well-documented housing shortage.

Our grand list has been growing at a steady and healthy pace with smart planning, a very good thing to be happening in a mid-size post-industrial city in New England, and most of that growth has been in the urban core that takes the burden off of single-family homeowners in the leafier parts of the city.

With that healthy grand list growth, our schools are finally being renovated or replaced after decades of neglect, a move supported by most parents despite Lisa’s complaint about that investment. Our infrastructure including sidewalks and streets are also being replaced and repaired at a record pace after decades of neglect. Our great park system including our athletic facilities on our school grounds and in our parks are being re-built and renovated, all across the city built and not just in our urban core.

Contrary to the bleak picture Lisa loves to paint about Norwalk for petty political purposes, and to throw red meat to her fickle supporters on the Republican Town Committee, Norwalk is not growing into the urban dystopia she loves to portray but is getting better with each new project and improvement.

Finally, I’d like to ask Lisa how she pretends to support more affordable housing for Norwalk out of one side of her mouth, while out the other side of her mouth she opposes any subsidized housing including the Wall Street Place project, that is a much-needed affordable housing development.

Last year, Lisa astoundingly complained that real estate in SoNo was too valuable to put affordable housing at the former Washington Village site, now called Soundview Landing. Too close to the waterfront, she said, and it should therefore be reserved for luxury housing only.

Seriously, where did she think we should build much-needed affordable housing? I’d bet she would never suggest Rowayton, as real estate there is certainly too valuable there. Where then, Lisa? Cranbury? West Norwalk? Where does Lisa think affordable housing should go now that she is apparently suddenly morphing into a champion of affordable housing? And how would she pay for it? Oh never mind.

In Lisa-world, developers are just going to line up to build affordable housing with no incentives to offset their high costs and no ROI, even though that never happens in the real world.

Like so many other claims by Lisa, it just makes no sense. I also wish I had a beautiful swimming pool right now on this hot 4th of July like Lisa does, but I know based on my income and the real world I choose to live in, that it will never happen!

Happy 4th of July everyone, if we can even call it that this year. Stay safe!

And if you have more time, read my footnote below about Lisa’s claim about our lack of tree canopy. It’s funny.

*Footnote:

This refutes the debunked “study” Lisa referred to calling Norwalk’s tree canopy the worst in western CT. The study was poorly done, as it counted our vast city land areas that are underwater as tree-less open space (1/3 of the city land area is under Norwalk Harbor and out past the Norwalk Islands) which put us at an obvious disadvantage to the other cities on the list. And I must defend the city’s strong investment in tree planting through dedicated tree advocates and volunteers on the Tree Advisory Commission and the non-profit Norwalk Tree Alliance, as well as city workers like DPW’s Paul Sotnik and Mike Yeosock and Rec and Parks’ Ken Hughes who have all worked hard over the last 15 years to make Norwalk a certified “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Foundation, the nations premier urban forestry organization. Job well-done!

Andrew July 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm

@Ron, actually she does provide solutions – not doing what is currently going on. And she has made it clear she is an independent, when the RTC asked her to join she said no. Or are you just going to demand links after links after links to prove you point?

Joe July 4, 2020 at 10:49 pm

I think my topic is in line with Ms. Brinton’s comments and the 4th of July.

The democrats are trying to scam us out of our traditional secret ballot election using the chinese virus as their cover.

The proof is the “Executive Order 7QQ” absentee voter forms that Sec of State Merrill just illegally sent to us in the mail.

Hartford Courant 7/1/20 by Edmund Maloney
“Republicans sue to block Lamont emergency COVID order permitting all-absentee ballot primary election”
Merrilll and Lamont were sued in Superior Court on 8/20/20 to stop this illegal unconstitutional process but they have mailed all the forms anyway.”

Instead of going to the polls and voting like we usually do in the USA, the democrats want us to sign absentee ballots and entrust our precious votes to the democrat controlled postal union and other unaccountable people.

The results of this mail-in absentee election will take days or weeks or longer to get totals because the ballots will be spread all over the place and many could be dropped or lost or stolen or damaged or illegally harvested which happens a lot with “mailed in” ballots.

Right now it’s the primary, but they will stretch this chinese virus thing with their propaganda press to mess up our November election too. Just watch.

Instead, our mayor should be planning to protect our beautiful patriotic poll workers by using a small portion of our
$250,000,000 tax collection to not only pay our wonderful poll workers $500 each for a full shift of hazard flu pay on election day,

But he should also build plastic shielded poll worker stations so our poll workers will be safe and protected just like they built at the liquor marts for their cashiers. This should have been done by now.

We need to vote in person and keep our ballots in the same building to be counted and protected.

This bad stuff is happening very quickly and suddenly.

Rosie July 5, 2020 at 11:16 am

Lisa has my daily vote! I vote for her city planner point of view. I vote for her precision politics, in which she gets to the heart of the problems Norwalk faces. I am a native of Soulless Stamford, and Norwalk has just met that threshold. When you paint the streets over with parking meters, insult people with visioning workshops that by design have predetermined outcomes for our neighborhoods and replace city planning with regionalism, Norwalk is done for.

Ron Morris July 5, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Andrew
Actually she was a Republican right before she decided to run for Mayor again. Actually she has a Republican has her campaign finance manager. Actually she appeared on the Republican line of the ballot. Actually saying that you opponent is doing it wrong is not given a solution how you will fix it.

David Muccigrosso July 5, 2020 at 6:46 pm

Lisa – We agree on pretty much all of the fundamental facts of the situation, but I think our solutions are somewhat different. Norwalk needs MORE development at lower rents, not less development overall – and it’s hard sometimes to tell whether you come down on the former or the latter.

But rest assured, I’m in favor of the former. And I happily oppose both the Mayor and the Norwalk NAACP, who lack the moral clarity to see that prosecuting (in the court of public opinion) various email and social media scandals is less morally pressing than actually achieving REAL housing justice for the families of color who live here.

Regressivism finds little purchase in our town, and for that I am more than happy, but we forces of progress, whether we consider ourselves on the conservative or liberal side of that spectrum, should not mistake the forces of cronyism for anything but what they are – wolves hiding in sheeps’ clothing.

Patrick Cooper July 6, 2020 at 9:21 am

It is a fundamental question – how much density. In fact, of late, it is one that many Norwalk residents are increasingly at odds with what mayor Rilling is pushing, a largely Hartford driven agenda, along with his personally stacked commissions & committees. More bodies. Any bodies.

I must say it is a profile in courage by folks using fake names to disparage a point of view shared by many. It’s pathetic if you can’t own your opinion by putting your name on it.

As for our mayors furious defender, his obsession with Lisa’s pool is consistent. Class warfare? Or upset his vocation didn’t deliver. In either case – he is the KellyAnne con-man of Norwalk. Don’t buy it – especially when it takes 2000 words.

John ONeill July 6, 2020 at 12:17 pm

The one consistent I’ve seen over the years is if you disagree with a Liberal, you are immediately put in the deplorable box. Why is that? I’m sure many many non-posters agree with that statement. In a sad, but amusing way that is really intellectual prejudice. I don’t agree with everything Lisa B has to say, but we should respect her opinion. The political minions who paint her and her followers as deplorable Trumpetes is right out of facism playbook. It should be noted I don’the have a horse in the race. Just a fan of the game, like most taxpayers. All I want to know is where my money is going and why CT is the most taxed state in the country. If some of the smart people in the group can answer that question I and many others would truly appreciate it. Thank You.

BOB GIOLITTO July 6, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Ditto Mike Mushak and thank you! Ms. Brinton, as she did in her mayoral campaign, continues to distort and disregard facts. Joe, again fact based, there has been virtually no fraud with regards to mail-in ballots for the past five presidential year elections–that’s a span of 20 years. Especially in time of this pandemic, mail-in voting guarantees us our constitutional right to vote while ensuring our safety. Or would you rather only those who agree with you vote?

CT-Patriot July 6, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Mail in ballots o fraud? REALLY?

Look, if you can go to the grocery store for food, gas your car at a gas station, travel anywhere, you can get off the couch and go to your polling location. Stop with pandering that the virus is just waiting for citizens at a polling site..Geez.

There has been plenty of fraud with mail in ballots. So please stop that mail in ballots are just swell. They are not.

But they provide the Democrats so many fraudulent ballots by illegals, people who are deceased, duplicate ones and more. Plus, Democrats throw out mail in ballots from Republicans.. postal worker caught on video doing just that.

Absentee ballot is a different animal.

Ignore the mail in ballot initiative…

Just go to your polling location as you always have, cast your vote and go about your day.

We’ve been voting this way for years until the whole Democratic lobby pushed for mail in. Absolutely riddled with fraud.

carol July 6, 2020 at 9:38 pm

go to the polls,wear a mask,gloves and take a hand sanitizer. if you really want your vote to count DO IT IN PERSON.and stand 6 feet apart.

CT-Patriot July 7, 2020 at 12:09 am

Bryan Meek July 7, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Is Mushak getting Josh Morgan’s salary? He should with spin like that.

But taking credit for the trees that are a result of the late Hal Alvord is a new low for someone who was instrumental in getting him fired for among other things refusing to install dangerous and idiotic bike lanes on Belden avenue that go nowhere.

Bryan Meek July 7, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Where is Josh Morgan? Must be nice to be paid to do nothing and then get a raise for it.

Steve Mann July 7, 2020 at 1:32 pm

I think we’ve seen enough of the world today to admit that if there can be fraud committed, it will be done. Nothing I’ve seen on the news over the past months is useful in dispelling that belief. For all of you out there who look for the good in everyone, it’s an admirable quality, but being in touch with reality will give you a lot less surprises. Sit in a drive-thru at Dunkin, Wendy’s, Starbucks, look for the parking spot closest to the gym and Whole Foods doors, but get off your butts and go to the polls. Trust me, the virus can’t distinguish between you standing at the check out at Stew’s, or on line, with distance, at a poll. I’d think that every American would want to insure as little trouble as possible at the polls.

Peter Franz July 7, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Mike Mushak, thank you for the well-informed and well-researched response. As I’ve said before, the apartments being developed in Norwalk are a response to real-world market conditions, not the whims of any administration.

The reality is NIMBY towns are a recipe for failure. The shifting market of real estate from single family homes to condos/apartments is a result of what people want. Norwalk, if it modernizes correctly with smart planning, can become a thriving town.

When it becomes tougher and tougher to get taxes from commercial real estate, which is on a downward trend for both retail and business real estate, who exactly are paying the bills?

When you can answer that question, then maybe, you can present an alternative.

Justataxpayer July 7, 2020 at 10:15 pm

Waaaaah! I can go to Costco or Fitness Edge (the gym was packed today) but can’t show up to vote in person.

Where are the libs on defunding our police department?

Justataxpayer July 7, 2020 at 10:21 pm

Wow. This Mushak guy aims at Lisa for having a nice pool in Rowayton. I’ve been to his home for a 4th of July event. I guess a 5000 square foot Lockwood mansion on Golden Hill still requires pool envy. Many of us deplorables can’t sit 18 in our dining room

Banks July 7, 2020 at 11:30 pm

@ Mushak

As long as the grand list keeps exploding, homeowner taxes keep going up, and Norwalk’s rainy day fund goes down. you are there to support your aging knight regardless of anything.

Joe Ruggerio July 8, 2020 at 3:32 am

Mail in ballots=fraud.
Case in point (all hypothetical)I take in the mail for my family, got the notices, guess what, I filled them out and sent them in. All my votes.
3 children out in military, wife doesn’t pay attention or vote in person, daughter is not interested.

Got notices for 2 dead siblings and parent (I don’t know why), sent in my votes. (This actually true, received mail in for dead siblings and parent but no did not mail in)

That is why mail in ballots should be illegal.

Audrey Cozzarin July 8, 2020 at 2:52 pm

My husband Serafino and I wrote a comment to this article 2 days ago, but it wasn’t published. We are trying again.

Lisa Brinton is highlighting concerns that many Norwalkers share, and frankly we are pretty shocked at the biased/partisan remarks and personal attacks among folks commenting here. We find this level of “discussion” counter-productive and a form of distraction away from the quite valid concerns she is trying to bring out into the open.

We also notice the lack of response from any City officials who we believe should weigh in with any fact-checking needed. Otherwise, we citizens are left to bandy-about loose facts and figures without any official clarification that would help us understand the truth about issues.

We invite City officials to chime in. Nancy on Norwalk provides a news service, not unlike a living newspaper, and is an important voice for Norwalk. City officials, where are you?

And, we believe it is easy to write a biting comment. Writing an opinion piece is another matter. It requires a bit more chutzpah as well as courage to take the slings and arrows.

Lisa brings up matters that are worth discussing here in Norwalk (which are neither Republican or Democratic issues). She is not the only Norwalker to do so. However, many commenters seem afraid of Lisa. We are not comprehending why.

We all need to park our partisan biases and discuss the issues with facts, and if facts are needed (as they are not opinions), let City Hall respond. It appears to us that both political sides go off on partisan tangents and are stuck in their tribal mentalities.

Lisa tries to highlight issues. The issues are the point.

Cris Bowers July 8, 2020 at 11:25 pm

Just for fun, I checked out CT-Patriot’s link to the Heritage Foundation’s (a Trump-supporting conservative think tank) list of voter fraud in CT.

WOW! 26 Cases. Since 1988. Clearly a successful coup on the part of those demonic Democrats and their evil minions at the post office.

Those 1.23 frauds per year obviously threaten our democratic process. All patriotic Americans should definitely risk their lives to vote in person. And we should all vote maskless to show our support for our Dear Leader.

Thank you, CT-Patriot, and thank you, Fox News, for making us aware of this (utterly specious) threat.

Bryan Meek July 9, 2020 at 11:53 am

@Cris, leave basic statistics for the high schoolers. Your cherry picking of data points is absurd.

Ask yourself why efforts to have the town clerk report the deceased to the registrar of voters has been actively blocked. Then tell us how perfect our election system is now that it is being run on executive orders. Ask yourself why our state legislators can’t convene to pass laws when the rest of us can go shoulder to shoulder in grocery stores. Then tell yourself all of this is legit.

CT-Patriot July 9, 2020 at 1:40 pm

Snopes? You use Snopes for “facts”? 😂

Maybe read the numerous sources within the articles. One direct link was MSN. The other had links to NYT etc….so those are not “right leaning”.

Also, I’m sure you get your “food” from a grocery store. So, that being said, we can go to a polling site to cast a vote.

To this day, I still see the very same grocery store workers since the whole start of Covid. Imagine that.

I’m also an essential worker, in numerous locations and I’m fine. Why? Use common sense, that’s all along with PPE.

The virus does not have intellect in selective infection at a polling location.

If you wish to participate, wear your mask, gloves. Bring hand sanitizer for use as well.

You’ll all be fine, those who need an absentee ballot can contact voter registration and provide the necessary proof to obtain one.

Mail in ballots are easily manipulated and used fraudulently.

Please respect your duty as a registered voter, arrive at your polling station and cast your vote.

And NO, DO NOT arrive “maskless” unless that is your own position however, you may or may not gain access. 🙄

Tysen Canevari July 9, 2020 at 9:15 pm

Mike Mushak only likes to complain about any person that has an opinion opposite of his. BTW Mike The schools in Norwalk stink. Do you have any children? Have you tried the bike lanes around town you lobbied for? Waste of paint!

Lisa Brinton July 10, 2020 at 8:16 am

To get back on topic:

Norwalk’s school budget trajectory is unsustainable & P&Z density policies at state & local levels aren’t delivering the goods. Since one funds the other, the two are inextricably linked.

If folks wants to discuss voting – here’s something to chew on. Norwalk is so gerrymandered, we effectively have no voice. We’re the 6th largest city, contribute the 8th largest income tax receipts – yet have 2 allocated state reps & share 3 others with our leafier neighbors. The other five largest cities have 5/6 dedicated representatives in Hartford. It’s partly why I challenge city officials to advocate for Norwalk over party or personal ambitions.

Re: NiMBYism, less of an issue for long time residents than financial survival & quality of life. The crony ‘tax credits’ that provide hefty developer fees & lost tax revenue for years, under the guise of ‘low income housing’ are as disingenuous as the gentrification tax ‘incentives’ for luxury rentals in S. Norwalk. These policies aren’t delivering sufficient funds to pay for our schools – especially with a 60+ percent & growing poverty rate.

Financial illiteracy ‘trumps’ demonizing those not registered with the majority party in CT, but I surmise that tactic might be D.O.A. in November, along with city financials when local mismanagement leaves us millions in the red. We’ll be facing three options: the rainy day fund, substantial tax hikes or budget cuts.

Re: comments over my ‘true’ party status. As a U, I voted for Danbury mayor, Mark Boughton in the Republican primary for governor. Why? He runs an efficient city, implemented a Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team that’s become the state’s model in combating Health, Housing, Zoning and Fire code violations, gets developer money for his schools & just landed Amazon. I thought he’d be good for the state. I also vote in Democrat primaries when similarly motivated by talent. Until CT has open primaries like other states, registration changes happen. Hyper partisanship, like single party rule rarely produces sound policy.

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