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Disappointed But Not Surprised

Something you will no longer see: Common Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-District D) sitting next to other Norwalk Democrats in the council chamber.

By the Norwalk District D Democratic Committee

NORWALK, Conn. –

To the Editor:

We recently were made aware of Councilman Bruce Kimmel’s decision to begin meeting with the Republican party instead of helping his own party stand up for the citizens who voted him.

Norwalk is divided up into five voting districts. Each district vets its candidates, and the town committee usually approves and supports district selections.  At times, both parties have openings and scramble to find the most qualified person willing to run.  It is not a foolproof system, and heaven knows that as a councilperson begins to serve, their style may or may not fit into city governance smoothly.

In a transparent vetting process in 2011, Bruce Kimmel answered the questions and concerns of nearly two-dozen District D Committee members as he sought the nomination to represent our district on the Common Council. The conversation lasted nearly three hours because there were many concerns. At the end, we decided to nominate and support him, thinking that he would be willing to help our party continue to grow.

Unfortunately, Bruce Kimmel has since shown no respect for our trust. From day one, Bruce decided he wasn’t caucusing with the elected Democrats. He didn’t even give our team a shot. Since then he has written several protest op-ed novels instead of trying to show guidance and leadership to resolve issues with our caucus. He has also voted for privatizing good Norwalk jobs and has been a “take his ball and go home” kind of councilman when things don’t go his way.

This decision, while regrettable, is not surprising, for it continues to demonstrate a pattern of Bruce’s inability to be a team player, which began during the Knopp Administration. As a councilman during that time he publicly expressed his inability to work with leadership and then later as a member of the Board of Education, he changed his party affiliation midstream, ultimately quitting on our kids. While restructuring our local party we recognized Bruce’s potential to contribute to the ticket, however, he has since breached that trust and shown little regard for the public that elected him to serve, thinking he was a Democrat.

This time around, maybe Bruce Kimmel can find a home in the Moccia administration. We have some advice for our Republican colleagues, watch when Bruce is holding the ball. He may take it home with him when he doesn’t get his way.

Norwalk District D Democratic Committee

Vinny Mangiacopra, chairman

Marilyn Robinson, vice chair

Diane Lauricella, secretary

Joe Tamburi, District D Town Committee member

Lynne Moore, District D Town Committee member

Warren Peña, District D Town Committee member

Shirley Mosby, District D Town Committee member

Mike DePalma, District D Town Committee member

Anna Duleep, District D Town Committee member

Dorothy Mobilia, District D Town Committee member

Tony Mobilia, District D Town Committee member

Bob Sodaro, District D Town Committee member

Comments

29 responses to “Disappointed But Not Surprised”

  1. Tim T

    People voted for Bruce Kimmel as Democrat and not a Republican. It seems to me that we should be able to recall our votes and remove him from office. Actually he should really do the right and honorable thing and step down. Tell us Bruce will you step down as that would be the right thing to do.

  2. Another Confused Parent

    There’s no reason for Mr. Kimmel to caucus with one team instead of the one that got him elected. He can still publish his “don’t blame me” letters to the editor regardless of the team he won’t cooperate with. He can still remind us how much better the Board of Education and Common Council would be if only everyone listened to him.

  3. oldtimer

    Voters who supported Bruce as a Democratic candidate have every right to feel betrayed when their Democratic candidate turns out to have been a Republican in sheep’s clothing. Betrayed is not a strong enough word. Wait till he finds out he will not be trusted by either party next time.

  4. Suzanne

    This is surprising. Someone correct me if I am wrong but I believe at the Congressional level the elected individual must wait until their term is served before switching parties. If that is not the case, it should be. Otherwise, this Council could be playing musical chairs. When elected members feel unhappy (or their “noses get out of joint”) with their constituents or fellow party members, they can just switch to the other side. I agree with Tim T and Oldtimer on this: it is not only a betrayal, it should not be considered a lawful act. It certainly shows no loyalty to the party that elected Mr. Kimmel to the Councilman position in the first place.

  5. Al Raymond

    Here we go again first Mike Geak then Joanan quits now Mr Kimmel.If you were elected to the council what ever party, you have an obligation to the people that voted for you.You don`t just say in mid stream oh I don`t want to be a dem or rep any more or just quite.It`s not right you owe it to the people that voted for you. Ladies & Gentelmen please can we STOP this crappy and get to the job at hand Norwalk needs your undevided attenion.Do the right thing work together and make everyone proud of the work that we all know you can do.

    Al Raymond

  6. LWitherspoon

    Bruce Kimmel was not elected solely by Democrats. He was elected by a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters. The idea that his party affiliation requires him to caucus with any particular group, regardless of how noxious that group’s partisan antics should become, is simply ridiculous. Let’s remember that in terms of registration, as of 2005 Norwalk was 30% Democratic, 22% Republican, and FORTY-SEVEN percent unaffiliated. Message: voters care less about party and more about simply electing people who will do the right thing for the City. Bruce Kimmel is such a person, and it’s to his credit that he has consistently declined to participate in the partisan gamesmanship that often pollutes Council meetings. He votes his personal convictions. A case in point is the recent outsourcing of trash pickup. Mr. Kimmel started out with major reservations about the idea, asked a number of tough questions at the first Council meeting where the issue came up, and ultimately stated that he was against the proposal. After further study at the committee level, Kimmel concluded that the savings were real and that he would be doing a disservice to Norwalk if he opposed outsourcing. He explained this decision in a reasonable and thoughtful opinion piece that appeared in the local papers. That’s EXACTLY the kind of representation we need at the Common Council level — thoughtful, communicative, and independent. Watts, Pena, Miklave, and Duleep seem mired in the partisan muck that has them kowtowing to traditional constituencies, for example municipal employee unions. That’s a shame, because they weren’t elected to represent employee unions – they were elected to represent all of Norwalk.

    I don’t enter a voting booth thinking about the Party affiliation of any candidate, I think about their policy positions and how they can reasonably expected to conduct themselves if elected. The fact that Bruce Kimmel has declined to participate in the partisan gamesmanship practiced by other members of council speaks volumes about his character and convictions. We may not agree on everything, but I will be pleased to vote for him again for Common Council or other elective office.

  7. jlightfield

    I think a better rule would be that all elected officials should not also serve on town committees or be active in their district’s political party of preference.

  8. Suzanne

    By re-affiliating himself with the Republican caucus, Mr. Kimmel has effectively participated in the partisan gamesmanship L Wiltherspoon so despises (as do I.)

    If he wanted to be truly independent and vote his conscious as well as divest himself from partisanship, he could have withdrawn from both parties and become an independent. For all the blame to Democrats for infighting and divisiveness, the Republicans (who have lost at least one Council member due to politicking instead of working) are equally to blame.

    The point is: I would much rather have had Mr. Kimmel truly be of value by voting and working to his conscious than affiliate with the opposite party to which he was not elected. Even if not elected “solely by Democrats” he self-identified as one. An elected official does not get to take their grievances and go home with them (or go to another party) just because they can’t get along.

    Mr. Kimmel’s job is to try, not vacate his elected representation because he is unhappy with how everyone does not get along.

  9. Tim T

    LWitherspoon
    All I can say is WHAT you are rambling about. We all know you support the filthy Republicans no matter what but this is even a new low for you. The situation is simple Mr. Kimmel’s ran as a democrat and not a filthy Republican. I don’t care if it was democrats, Republicans or whatever voted for him as they did so thinking he was a democrat and not a filthy Republican. In the real world as in the private sector when you misrepresent yourself on a job application you get fired.
    Also how do you know the party affiliation of whom vote for him???Do you have some type of inside information?

  10. LWitherspoon

    @Suzanne

    I believe that Councilman Kimmel stated in the Hour that as a member of no caucus, he was attending nearly every committee meeting, presumably to remain well-informed. Perhaps this workload became onerous. I know that many of the other Council members are frequently absent from Committee meetings, so for one member to be attending nearly every meeting is exceptional and a huge time commitment. And then at the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those such as David Watts who, according to Joanne Romano, boycotted HPW committee meetings for months because he felt she had “stolen” the committee chairmanship from him. Talk about sour grapes!

    If history is any guide, it doesn’t matter where Kimmel caucuses, he will continue to be one of the more thoughtful, reasonable, and hard-working council members. He will also continue to vote his conscience. But time will tell, and if that’s not the case, we can deal with it at the ballot box. In the end, I don’t really care about caucus or party, I just care about what each elected official is doing to deliver essential City services at the lowest possible cost.

  11. LWitherspoon

    Interesting quote from the letter:

    “At the end, we decided to nominate and support him, thinking that he would be willing to help our party continue to grow.”

    So your principle concern when you nominate candidates is nominating candidates who will help your party grow? What about the City of Norwalk and its citizens? Shouldn’t they come before your party and its growth?

  12. David Watts

    Lwitherspoon,

    The council position is a full time volunteer position. We have to make a living too.

    I get many request a week to attend community events. You keep posting and I will keep working.

  13. LWitherspoon

    Councilman Watts

    Funny, why didn’t you mention your other time commitments to Joanne Romano? Why did you say that you weren’t attending the committee meetings because you felt she had stolen the committee chairmanship from you? Sounds like you’re changing your story.

    I encourage you to START working for all of the people of Norwalk, rather than the narrow constituencies who make their living off of the City that you seem obsessed with supporting with my tax dollars. Up to this point I haven’t seen you do any work, all I’ve seen is a lot of partisan gamesmanship, bad manners, and embarrassing attempts at vote-buying with other people’s money.

    Everybody is still waiting for your explanation regarding why it was necessary for you to add fake applause and cheering to the speech you recorded. Your silence on that question says a lot.

  14. David Watts

    Lwitherspoon, your attacks have no merit. Vote-buying? This is one of the reasons good people do not run for office. I am a member of the minority party with no control over contracts nor payroll. I respect your free speech- but trashing a volunteer is not productive.

  15. LWitherspoon

    Councilman Watts,

    Yet again you have failed to answer the questions.

    1. Why did you tell Joanne Romano that you were not attending committee meetings because you felt she had “stolen” the chairmanship from you?

    2. Why was it necessary for you to add fake applause and cheering to the speech you recorded and distributed to everybody?

    These are not attacks, these are simple questions about your public actions as an elected official. If you feel that someone asking you questions about your public actions constitutes an “attack”, what does that tell us?

  16. David Watts

    L WItherspoon,

    Instead of focusing on rumor-lets deal with facts.

    I recorded a speech and the video has been viewed over 350 times.

  17. Tim T

    Mr. Watts
    Thank You for you service to Norwalk. We need more such as yourself that are not afraid to go up against the old boys club that has destroyed Norwalk.
    I however do have a question for you. Where do we now stand on the possible conflict of interest issue between Moccia and Maslin in regards to the Nancy Chapman issue?

  18. LWitherspoon

    Councilman Watts

    Yet again you have not answered the question. It is really disappointing to ask an elected official a simple question and repeatedly have that elected official refuse to answer the question. It makes it seem like you’re hiding something.

    Please, can you explain why you added fake applause and fake cheering to the speech you recorded?

    I would also appreciate it if you could explain why you didn’t attend HPW committee meetings for numerous months.

    Lastly, I would like an explanation of why your official acts on council seem aimed at buying the votes of municipal employee union members by supporting proposals that give more of my tax dollars to those same union members. That’s what I was referring to earlier when I mentioned your embarrassing attempts at vote buying.

    Thank you in advance for your answers.

  19. Tim T

    LWitherspoon
    Please provide verifiable facts as to how you determined that Mr.Watts added fake applause and fake cheering to the speech. Also please provide what qualifications if any you have to make this determination. Also speaking of vote buying what do you think if Moccia appointing a police chief from the old boys club of failure without any vetting or search for the best candidate whatsoever. Talk about vote buying as in the police union endorsement.
    Thank you in advance for your answers

  20. David Watts

    Lwitherspoon,

    You seem down… so here is a little mood music to cheer you up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFsFeTNt0ps

  21. Suzanne

    Mr. Watts, I am not giving up. Must you be so mocking to others in your comments AND include obnoxious Youtube links? What is your job again? Chief annoyer in chief? If you would think, take a breath, something, before posting disingenuous tripe and, instead, answer a question clearly or tell us why you won’t tell the truth, anything authentic, I could support you in your efforts.

    I have made a point to remain neutral as people seem to feel quite divided about you but, honestly, I am beginning to see your communications as complete nonsense. This does not reflect well on your efforts on behalf of the City of Norwalk as a Councilperson.

    If your ambitions are to further yourself in public office, you are cutting yourself off at the knees, mouth, attitude. You are supposed to be a public servant. All I have seen from you is a public naysayer. You seem to have a lot of energy for that – why not a paradigm shift to using your energy for good?

  22. David Watts

    Suzanne, this person goes from site to site attacking me. That band is important to me as a Yale grad. Just thought it would cheer them up.FYI- I am a not a candidate for higher office. He is here to discredit the video and the message- no special effect was used- we did add music- I am a preacher and I speak in front of crowds all the time. Good people don’t want to run for office-because of these type of attacks.

  23. Suzanne

    Thank you for your response. I think, when running for office or occupying any political position, it is good to have a thick skin supported by “the courage of your convictions” or some kind of values oriented mission statement so that these distractions can be read but not taken in by the office holder. It is important to stick with what you believe in yourself and your own convictions about the nature of your office. So, with that in mind, it would seem your desire to “cheer someone up” who seems to be attacking you about a topic of no great importance by suggesting a youtube video of the Yale band is a provocation not a comfort or even an answer to an important topic. What do you care if you are being attacked? It comes with the political terriroty. Does this really concern your job as a councilperson? It does not (thought you should know.) Stick with your mission and see the difference: what you might see as an appropriate answer as a preacher will not be the same answer as a councilperson. I guess I am writing all of this because I have hope for you: “Keep your eye on the prize” and remember to be the councilperson you were elected to be. Anything else feels like you are choosing to be a clown (and I know that can’t possibly be true after all of the effort it took to get elected in the first place.)

  24. Oldtimer

    Lwitherspoon
    Why are you so critical of efforts to grow Mr Watts’ party ? Don’t you understand the other party works hard for that same objective ? That is part of how a two party system works. Always has been.

  25. LWitherspoon

    @Suzanne

    Very perceptive comments. I think it’s interesting that Councilman Watts would rather talk about anything besides answering the simple questions posed by an independent Norwalk voter. We seem to have reached the point where Mr. Watts views questions related to his official acts and policy positions as “attacks” – a new low. I wonder if the next time a journalist asks him a question, he will tell the journalist to stop “attacking” him! Regrettably, “complete nonsense” plus self-aggrandizement is an apt description of much of what comes from Mr. Watts. It’s very sad – Norwalk faces some serious challenges as a City and deserves far better from its elected officials. Now Mr. Watts has claimed that he did NOT add fake applause or cheering to the speech he recorded. If that’s truly the case, he should simply tell us where and when, and in front of what audience, the speech was recorded.
    Mr. Watts also claims that I am attempting to discredit the video and the message. The fact is that I have posted numerous comments in support of Nancy Chapman. Mr. Watts is the one who discredited the video when he added fake applause and cheering to his recorded speech.

    @David Watts

    Why won’t you answer the questions? It is really disappointing when elected officials refuse to answer questions about their public acts.

    1. Why did you add fake applause and cheering to the speech you recorded? If you didn’t add fake applause and cheering, will you give us a straight answer regarding where and when was the speech recorded?

    2. Why didn’t you attend HPW committee meetings for numerous months?

    3. Why do you spend much of your time trying to buy union votes with policy positions that cost taxpayers more money?

    @Old Timer

    What I object to is that the writer of the above letter seems to prioritize loyalty to one political party over simply doing what’s best for the City of Norwalk. I would likewise object if the Republicans were seen doing the same.

  26. Deemooo

    That band is important to me as a Yale grad.

    Yale Divinity School – technically part of the Yale University system, though it’s a professional school. Not quite the Ivy League education that he’d have you believe. See http://divinity.yale.edu/ for information on programs and accreditation.

  27. Suzanne

    The very divisiveness I am trying to avoid is being co-opted by you, L. Witherspoon, as a valid way to further critique Mr. Watts on what seem to be matters of not only little consequence but complete nonsense. Who cares about a video? Has anyone looked at the Washington Street Development lately? Ryan Park? Violence with both guns and knives in South Norwalk? The Oak Hills fiasco? The progress of the School Board in finding a new Superintendent? How about security in our schools? Tax valuation? Do you we really care about the Yale Pep Band? I took a minor in Theology from a well-respected Jesuit institution where the Yale Divinity School was equally well-respected in the field of theology. If Mr. Watts attended there and is a preacher, I would say his preparation for his vocation was an excellent one. What does this have to do with his work as a city Councilman? Mr. Watts knows what I think about his comments and has answered to my queries. I find it sad that another contributor to these comments would use them to further a needless agenda when so many other issues are at stake. As I said to Mr. Watts, “Keep you eye on the prize” and head on straight. Do your job as a constituent by being responsible to the issues that matter.

  28. Norwalk Spectator

    @ LWitherspoon

    “What I object to is that the writer of the above letter seems to prioritize loyalty to one political party over simply doing what’s best for the City of Norwalk. I would likewise object if the Republicans were seen doing the same.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for stating it so clearly.

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