Letter: Did Moccia misuse Code Red/Notify Norwalk?

By M. Ward

NORWALK, Conn. – At about 2:30 this afternoon, I received a phone call from the Code Red system. With all the rain coming down I assumed it was about flood warnings. I was surprised to hear that it was about “Single Stream Recycling.”

This could be a case of complete clueless ignorance to the weather conditions or a calculated maneuver hours after the debate of Norwalk’s Democratic mayoral candidates. If this was ignorance, this message could have waited for a sunny day when the weather service did not have warnings posted for the city. If this was the latter, this was a gross misuse of city services for a political gain.

Either way, it shows a breakdown of Norwalk’s leadership.



20 responses to “Letter: Did Moccia misuse Code Red/Notify Norwalk?”

  1. LWitherspoon

    I agree with the writer. I have commented in the past that the Mayor should not be the one recording announcements on the Code Red system and I still feel that way. Let an unnamed City worker record the announcements, not someone who is running for office. Having the Mayor record the announcements unintentionally promotes the Mayor with a robocall to each household, funded by our tax dollars.
    I also found it objectionable when former Mayor Esposito enclosed a letter in our tax bills talking about all the great things he was doing for Norwalk. If he wanted to send a letter to all the taxpayers, he should have had his campaign pay for it, rather than use our tax dollars to promote his re-election.


    The use of Code Red for single stream recycling is inappropriate. For the mayor to be on the line, as a tropical storm is bearing down on us, for something so trivial is questionable to say the least.

    Someone should take another look at this.

  3. Mike Mushak

    This is just sad, and desperate, for this announcement to come out when it did.

    The debate this morning was a wake-up call to all Norwalkers, Democrat, Republican, and Independent alike, that Norwalk is on the wrong track and needs new leadership!

  4. Hobbes the Calvinist

    It was sad when Mayor Alex Knopp would include letters in the tax bills blaming Frank Esposito for tax increases. It is sad that Dick Moccia uses an emergency alert system to get votes.
    But if you have a populace who thinks crime is out of control, parents who are p-o’ed over school funding and defections from your party because it is overrun with right-wing fanatics, you got to go with what you got. And for Dick Moccia, it seems that what’s he’s got is trash.

  5. Tim T

    Typical Moccia just does whatever he wants.

  6. dc2

    This is an alarming abuse of power in an election year for an incumbent/candidate mayor to use the reverse 911 system to announce enhanced citizen services.

    I didn’t receive the message on my home or cell phone, so I don’t know if it was directed to particular neighborhoods, but I’d certainly like to know, and if so, what criteria was used to determine the zone(s)?

    If City Carting and DPW are doing their jobs, then no reverse 911 call would be necessary, or if it was, then I agree with LWither that an unnamed person representing Customer Service should have recorded the message, and absolutely not during a storm with potential for flooding and treatment plant shutdowns!

  7. Debora

    Where are the new single-stream containers that were supposed to be delivered end of May, early June?

  8. M. Murray

    Really? And you would be complaining if the mayor didn’t inform you about the new recycling system. Can’t win situation with some people.

  9. dc2

    M Murray: Why would anyone complain if the mayor didn’t inform us about recycling? Who the heck would expect him to? We have a small army (pun intended) under Hal Alvord, including a waste programs manager whose job is to manage recycling and the communication of the program.
    No one is complaining about being informed (heaven knows Norwalk does a poor job of communicating) rather pointing out how inappropriate it is for an incumbent mayoral candidate to do so.
    In fact, it was even pointed out the other night at DPW meeting that a phone call to the folks whose trash sat out all week would have been in order, but NOT from the mayor….

  10. Norwalk Dinosaur

    @M. Murray, you’re missing the point. The Code Red System is in place to notify the public of emergency information use only. Mixed recycling will be great, but it is hardly appropriate to use an emergency protocol to publicize the pickup. There is an appropriate avenue for this and it is called public notice in The Hour & norwalkct.org. And if the Mayor did feel a need to use the Code Red System, the least he could of done was to apologize to our neighbors who dealt with piles of garbage on their curbs for a week after Mem Day Weekend!

  11. Ergo

    Eh, if you didn’t want to listen to the call, hang up. I’m sure it didn’t take more than five minutes out of his day to record the message. It seems to me like it is the best way to reach everyone about an issue that will effect every Norwalker.

    The city screwed up with trash pickup Memorial Day week and they were probably trying to be somewhat proactive this time.

    No big deal to me.

  12. MWard

    @Ergo the point is we (the taxpayers) pay every time the code red system is used. It is designed for use to disseminate important information during emergencies based on National Weather Service WARNINGS to safeguard life or property. It was also appropriately used to give commuters updated information when the Metro North train derailed last month.

    If it is used for announcements outside of an actual emergency or an event that has the potential to adversely impact residents of the city, it becomes the boy who cried wolf and as you wrote, people will just hang up without listening. That is why the system is called “Code Red” and not code magenta or code green.

    Appropriate notification of single stream recycling should be done thru bulk mailer (which we received), through the city’s broken website (which if you look hard enough, you will find) or via regular email (which we received 2 weeks ago).

    Even if this was a scheduled call that was recorded weeks ago (a stretch I know), one has to wonder if it was aimed to coincide with the debates held Friday morning of not and could it have been rescheduled for after the storm.

    Again, as I originally wrote, this was gravely ignorant cluelessness or a calculated misuse of political power and warrants a change of leadership.

    Michael Ward

  13. M. Murray

    This is being blown out of proportion

  14. dc2

    M. Murray, do you understand that the incumbent mayor has a variety of tools at his disposal to “campaign” that most of the challengers do not get to take advantage of unless they are invited to speak: ribbon cuttings for grand openings; mayor’s comments AFTER public comment at council meetings; charitable events; and, yes, even communication of city services thru the media. How can you think it’s not an abuse of power for him to use our only city-wide communications system to announce a recycling service?? As to being blown out of proportion, I disagree. In fact, this is more serious than you think, and perhaps warrants a full investigation by the Secretary of State and Elections Enforcement Commission.
    The “mainstream” media dropped the ball on this – thank you Nancy and M. Ward to bringing this to our attention.

  15. M. Murray

    Incumbents all have that ability at every level. I am sure you were outraged when Obama made appearances in NJ after Sandy durin an election year and gave a speech. Or state of the union addresses. I think we have much more serious issues than a phone call that I actually felt informed me of something. I would be more concerned about a candidate that tried to help resurrect the career of a corrupt and convicted politician like Ernie Newton. But we don’t read anything about that.

  16. dc2

    M. Murray – I’ll check, but I believe the prez visited NY and NJ more than a week AFTER the elections, and even if he did visit immediately after the storm, surely you see a distinction between an incumbent visiting a storm-ravaged coastline and one who announces recycling programs!
    As to the annual State of the Union address in an election year, the opposing party has airtime devoted for comment and rebuttal, as do they following the Saturday morning weekly address.

    Detractors of the 4 dems have all the space they want on this site to submit letters and make comments…are you claiming this site is somehow censored?

    As to Vinny Mangiacopra and Ernie Newton, here is a link to an article by nancy that raises the topic, as apparently noted earlier by her readers:


    “Mangiacopra may have a problem with some voters: his support of Ernie Newton, a former Bridgeport state senator who served five years in federal prison for political corruption, was pointed out by two NancyOnNorwalk readers Wednesday.”

  17. Tim T

    M. Murray
    Please with your Pro Republican Propaganda. Obama going to NJ after Sandy the worst storm to hit the area in years is nothing like the stunt Moccia pulled. See thats what presidents do they go to disasters and reach out to the people. Unlike Bush who created the disasters. Also I would be more concerned with a candidate that was a disaster running one department and now wants to run the whole city.

  18. M. Murray’s

    I guess my point is that 95%! Of the public don’t really care about this either way. And at this point I am probably more libertarian than republican. I want the government making less decisions on our life and determining where my money goes

  19. Ergo

    MWard, I really think you are reaching with this one. There are much larger issues to get worked up about and you really are making a big fuss over nothing.

    Oh my goodness, we the taxpayers pay! Shocking. If you are that concerned about the cost, then opt out of the Code Red system and save the city $0.00005 for your one phone call.

  20. Tim T

    Actually the right thing would be for the Moccia campaign to reimburse the city as in taxpayers for each and every call. However why would we want them to do the right thing…NEVER HAPPEN

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