By Common Councilman Warren Peña
To District D Voters:
I would like to share a fresh perspective with you as one of your at-large council members who happens to live in District D. In addition, I am the current minority leader of the minority caucus of the Common Council and a leader of the Democratic Town Committee. This is in response to one of our in-district council members who claims to be a Democrat but acts and does everything like a Republican, including caucus with them.
It is the right of every council member to explain or not explain why they voted yes or no on a particular issue. If one council member feels he needs to “constantly” explain himself or defend that he is a Democrat, perhaps there is something else going on. While I like history and know the importance of it, we live in the now and today is different from 10-15 years ago. The truth of the matter is it’s irrelevant what four members of the minority caucus said or didn’t say – we have what were originally three Democrats who vote and caucus with the Republicans, so they control everything.
Your councilman points the finger at the DTC for Democratic council member’s approval or disapproval of topics that come before us on the council floor. Do some of us on the council coordinate or collaborate with leaders of the DTC? Yes, of course, we do. This is called a team effort or a coordinated approach; the reality is four out of five members are fairly new. Do you think the RTC (Republican Town Committee), the mayor’s office and the Republican Caucus do not coordinate? Trust me; they make sure they are on the same page. Perhaps our councilman is on cloud nine or maybe just does not understand how to be a team player.
I have sat back for a year and a half now, watching, listening and learning. Our so-called Democratic councilman has voted primarily with the Republicans, from day one did not want to caucus with us when we had the majority, has consistently written letters bashing Democrats (similar to the letter writing campaign of the Republicans) – none bashing Republicans I might add; and has held 10-15 year old grudges against folks and against the new council members and new DTC leadership as if we had something to do with his bad experiences. Enough is enough! I always kept him in the loop with what was going on through emails, phone calls and side meetings. I tried my hardest to get him to caucus and to work with the Democrats. When I became minority leader I sat down with him to figure out a way to work together; believe me I tried while others told me that I was wasting my time. I learned the hard way, because I actually like the councilman personally but cannot respect his politics anymore.
If the new leadership of the DTC wants to test drive some ideas, what is wrong with that? Every new leader comes to an organization with his or her ideas. Not until ideas are tested and measured will we know if they are effective tools or not. The DTC leadership is open and willing to work with real Democrats who are willing to be part of a team. The new leadership has demonstrated in the past by the primary in District B, for example, that when we have folks involved who are opportunists, independent contractors and not willing to be part of a team – they will not be supported moving forward. Perhaps this councilman holds a new grudge against me being that I told him he will not be endorsed by District D in the upcoming election. That the party will work hard as it did in District B to make sure he is not part of our ticket; that we will knock on every door in the district to make sure he is out. Voters need to retire folks like this from our political process. Therefore, it seems to me it is OK for him to walk away for his own reasons but not OK for the party to walk away for our own reasons. Every action causes a reaction!
Minority Leader, Norwalk Common Council
Committees: Finance/ Claims, Ordinance, Planning,
Land Use & Building Management