Grudge holding-Kimmel, a Norwalk Republican in Dem clothing, needs to go

Kimmel Pena March 27 2013
Common Councilman Warren Peña, right, says he has worked to try to mend the fence with Common Councilman Bruce Kimmel, left, to no avail.

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!

Warren Peña

Minority Leader, Norwalk Common Council

Committees: Finance/ Claims, Ordinance, Planning,

Land Use & Building Management


18 responses to “Grudge holding-Kimmel, a Norwalk Republican in Dem clothing, needs to go”

  1. Joe Espo

    Warren does like history, all right. I think he’s read-up on Stalin’s Great Purges of 1934-1939 aimed at purifying the collective thinking of the Soviet apparatchiks. He seems a quite learned student of Stalinesque technique of broadcasting threats and fear to the greater populace to gain autocratic control of his party. What if the District D dems want to run Kimmel again? Now, THAT will be the donnybrook of all donnybrooks. Pass the popcorn.

  2. Dave McCarthy

    This is outrageous. Mr. Kimmel stands up for what he believes in and what will benefit Norwalk. Mr. Pena forgets when Mr. Kimmel went after the Rowayton Av project, calling it a “boondoggle”. He has not been shy about disagreeing with Republicans on any issue. I can get by his opposition to “my” project, because we disagreed, respectfully, publicly, and moved on.

    Mr. Kimmel is a Democrat, unapologetically, but he is also a gentleman. In many matters of state and national interest, as well as in issues related to what I call “government as a solution” it is clear that we disagree.

    In matters related to our city, as stated above, we may disagree on some, but I know he is not taking direction from any puppet master, nor is he working to line his own pockets. He is working, though, and has impressed me by the amount of time and effort he puts into his council commitments.

    As far as our side of the aisle, I have never been pressured by any member of the RTC or the mayor. I have had conversations, sure. I walk away and then do what my conscience and beliefs dictate. It has become obvious that the minority members are just that because they represent solely the DTC and not Norwalk as a whole. That is why they are left alone, because they lack the political courage to stand up. I will bet Mr. Kimmel is on the next council, I would not be so sure for Mr. Pena’s mini-caucus.

    Mr. Pena, shame. You laud yourself with all of the meaningless titles you have collected, but you have done little in your time on the council and have no accomplishment to show for it. Nothing but excuses, as to why all you can do is go after headlines rather than working toward solutions.

  3. LWitherspoon

    Mr. Pena,
    With all due respect, I think you are succumbing to the tendency to view politics as a team sport. If you want to play a team sport, please join an adult recreational league. There is no Democratic or Republican way to pave a road – just pave the damn road as inexpensively as you can! There used to be a time when party politics mattered more at the state and federal level, because at the City level the people in the opposing party were your friends and neighbors and nobody wants to play partisan games against their friends and neighbors. I’m disappointed that you’re fighting to introduce MORE control by the local Democratic Party rather than applauding a council member who looks at every issue, considers the merits, and makes up his own mind based on his honest assessment of what HE thinks is best thing for Norwalk. Your view seems to be that elected representatives should simply do what the Democratic Town Committee thinks is best. The problem with that is that the voters don’t elect the Democratic Town Commitee, we elect individuals to represent us because we respect their values and their ability to make good decisions.
    Mr. Kimmel is one of the harder-working members of Council. I would wager that he attends far more committee meetings than you do, and spends far more time studying each issue that comes before the council. His thoughtful op-ed pieces explaining his own vote or Council’s actions on a particular matter are exactly the sort of communication that should take place between an elected official and the voting public. You, Mr. Miklave, Mr. Watts, Ms. Duleep, and Mr. Igneri would all be well-served to behave more like Mr. Kimmel and less like the partisan bloviators that you have become.

  4. Bruce Kimmel

    Warren, you are entitled to your opinions, but you should pay more attention to the facts: I told you on a number of occasions that I have no intention of seeking the endorsement of the District D Democrats. I do not recall you ever telling me the obvious — that they would not endorse me. I also told you several times that I would deny a District D endorsement and would primary my way onto the ballot, if that proved to be necessary. For the record, I intend to run for re-election to the Council this fall as a Democrat. I do not intend to sign any loyalty oaths (and yes, I believe history is important, as do most other people I have known). I am currently waying my various options.

  5. your daddy

    Apparently it’s not enough to be a Democrat … you have to prove to Mr. Pena that you’re a “real” Democrat, or the party will spend its time knocking on doors to knock you out of office … while the Republican mayor wins another term. Interesting strategy!

  6. Distraught Dem

    Warren you disappoint so many of us. Your lack of understanding about the city you live in notwithstanding, but here you have crossed a line that you neither understand nor deserve to voice your opinion.

    Your apparatchik footsteps in claiming omniscient power in who is a good democrat follows Gail, Galen, Marc and now Amanda. You can barely say that the democrats can muster a quorum in party business. Your bare bones caucus can’t manage to attend committee meetings whether political or as members of the council. You attack NEON, fellow democrats, people who disagree with you as if you are relevant. A fluke election that put you in office doesn’t mean you deserve to criticize someone who has served this city for over a decade.

    You think you are a Democrat when you kibitz with the Republicans pretending that you like them? Well the last laugh, as they say, is on you.

    You call yourself a Democrat? I call you out as a hypocrite, and an insultingly mean spirited one at that.
    (This comment has been edited to conform to our guidelines)

  7. Tim T

    I find it disgraceful that Kimmel ran as a Democrat and mislead the voters into believing that he had democratic values. I and many others were misled by him and voted thinking we were voting for a true democrat. I have never voted for a Republican and never will as I hate their agenda. With this said I feel betrayed by Kimmel and I and others should be able to recall our votes. Kimmel should do the right thing and resign and force a new election and run as a Republican and if he can gain the votes at that point so be it as that would be the American way. Tell us Mr. Kimmel will you do the right and honorable thing and resign?

  8. NorwalkVoter

    Pena is another “leap-before-you-look” Democrat. Sorry to see him squander his potential by behaving like a street brawler. We hoped for better from Warren. Who said this behavior was a good idea?
    p.s. This is Norwalk, not Bridgeport.

  9. Bruce Kimmel

    Thinking about Warren’s claim that I act and do things like a Republican, I decided it was a little silly. Look at it this way: Warren and his caucus voted to immediately raid the fund balance to the tune of $4 million last spring and hand it over to the BOE without first figuring out what happened and why, and without having a clue regarding the consequences of such a large draw down; Warren and his caucus voted against outsourcing solid waste pickup even though they admitted that the projected savings from the finance department were accurate and they were voting to avoid trouble with the DTC; Warren and his caucus fought against the wishes of the police chief and deputy chief and the police commission on a basic organizational question designed to make the department more mobile; Warren and his caucus voted against an operating budget that will come very close to fully funding the BOE. What gives? Did they really expect me to go along with these partisan games?

  10. LisaLen

    I am an unaffiliated voter and intend to stay that way. However, in speaking to many local friends and colleagues I will tell you the general public is getting tired of the back and forth “gotcha” politics that is going on in Norwalk. The fighting via “Letters to the Editor” is simply adolescent and getting ridiculous. Stand on your morals, your record and your hopes for our community, or drop out of public office. We have big problems that require big ideas and joint solutions. If you can’t play in the sandbox, take a seat and watch it pass you by.

    Hopefully the voters will demand this simple political approach and begin forcing the candidates to stand by their record, achievements and plans for the future. Norwalk residents deserve that much.

  11. Bryan

    Here is how district D voted in 2011.

    votes name party result
    2086 Doug Hempstead R elected at large
    1957 Jerry Petrini R elected in district
    1953 Fred Bondi R elected at large
    1918 John Tobin R
    1911 Joanne Romano R elected at large
    1781 Bruce Kimmel D elected in district
    1777 Victor Cavallo R
    1646 Bryan Meek R
    1593 Anna Duleep D elected at large
    1443 Lynne Moore D
    1427 Warren Pena D elected at large
    1415 Kate Tepper D
    1354 Sharon Stewart D
    1308 Yvonne RodriguezD

  12. Joanne Romano

    Simply Appalling that anyone would go to these lengths to discredit another person who obviously has dedicated 10+ years to the betterment of the City of Norwalk not only on the Council but the BOE as well…I have worked with Bruce over the years and have had the pleasure of knowing him most of the time he has been an elected official and I find Bruce to be one of Norwalk’s assets in that he leaves no stone unturned and no skeleton hiding…he asks the right questions and does the background work…have we disagreed? Absolutely, do I respect Bruce? Absolutely!! What I don’t respect is the lengths people will go to discredit someone for their own pompous benefit!

  13. Tim T

    I find it comical how all the Republicans are writing in sticking up for the appalling action of Kimmel running as one party and actually being another. I will ask the question again. Tell us Mr. Kimmel will you do the right and honorable thing and resign and force a new election where you can run as a Republican?

  14. Tim T

    Say what you will about Pena but one thing we all know where he stands on the issues.

  15. Carl S.

    Reading a front page article in a competitive publication today, apparently Warren’s family is involved in a somewhat confusing money trail between NEON and SNCC. Warren is Board Chairman of SNCC, his uncle is Executive Director. The article says that his uncle is also paid by NEON. And I understand Warren advocates that the City should grant NEON funds for headstart and summer camps. Warren would be the one voting for those funds, which would ultimately help his uncle. Not a pretty picture for a councilman who claims to be on high moral ground in his accusation that another councilman is doing something wrong. I wonder.

  16. oldtimer

    Bruce, unfortunately, believes he is the smartest person in Norwalk politics. He is encouraged in that belief by his Republican friends. Somehow he came to believe he can do the most good by running as a Democrat and then voting with Republicans. He apparently does not understand the contradictions of his position and the betrayed feeling of the people who elected him. I will not speculate on what causes his peculiar behavior, but it is a shame to see him being used by people who now claim to be his friends.

  17. LWitherspoon

    Unlike you, I don’t care what party our elected officials belong to. It’s about as important for me as whether they like the Mets, Yankees, or Red Sox. I suspect most voters feel the same, as evidenced by the fact that there are more unaffiliated Norwalk voters than there are Republicans or Democrats.
    My desire for our elected officials is that they pave the roads, fund the schools and other critical services, and fight to keep costs low. Spend tax dollars as frugally as they would spend their own money. Neither party has done a great job of keeping costs low. I hope that during the upcoming election there will be a discussion of why. There should also be a conversation about why certain members of council fought tooth and nail against cost-saving initiatives that were displeasing to municipal employee unions.
    As far as Bruce Kimmel is concerned, he should not be criticized for examining each issue on its individual merits and making up his mind for himself. Sometimes he votes with the Democratic caucus, sometimes he votes with the Republican caucus, and sometimes he votes with neither. We need more elected officials who behave that way, and fewer who take their orders from a small group of party leaders who were never elected by the taxpayers of Norwalk. Those who are looking to make politics into a team sport should find another outlet – perhaps an adult recreational league or debating society.

  18. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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