Letter: Mayor’s office has become too politicized

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Letters must be signed with your real name and include a contact phone number that will not be published.

Peter Torrano is chairman of the Norwalk Republican Town Committee.

To the Editor:

On Monday, June 30, two good things happened for Norwalk, and South Norwalk in particular. A groundbreaking ceremony occurred at 99 Washington Street for the SoNo Pearl Apartments, and Norwalk was given $30 million dollars for the rebuilding of Washington Village.

What was notable beyond the excitement of new construction was who was missing from the gathered crowd, all invited by the City Clerk, Donna King, who sits in the mayor’s office. Former Mayor Moccia and the Republican State Representatives were excluded for some reason. The planning behind these projects and all other projects underway in Norwalk were started during the Moccia administration, and in some cases as far back as the Knopp administration – one Republican, one Democrat.

When Mayor Moccia was in office he routinely invited and recognized former Mayor Knopp and other high-ranking Democrats whenever they had any involvement in a particular project that extended into the Moccia administration. It is a courtesy and a civil thing to do that seems to be missing with the current administration. Mayor Moccia and Mayor Knopp both employed City Clerks who performed their function beyond being a political operative.

As all of us have come to expect, however, State Senator Duff was there to speak at Pearl Apartments, a project he had nothing to do with. Mayor Rilling spoke at Pearl and did recognize several people, including selected members of the Zoning and Redevelopment Commissions. That was the right thing to do. But why are former Mayor Moccia and certain other elected officials routinely left off the invite list by the City Clerk? Is it at the direction of the Mayor? I doubt that. The long-serving political operative in Ms. King just can’t seem to perform a non-political job and our Mayor needs to fix that.

Some Republicans who have had to interact with the new mayoral staff, and City Clerk Donna King in particular, have told me there is a deep partisanship never before seen in the mayor’s office, under any previous administration. The mayor’s office seems more like party central than a representation of the workings of the city.

I sincerely hope that Mayor Rilling will speak with his staff, explain that the Mayor’s Office is the people’s office, and that they should act in a nonpartisan manner that will benefit all residents, and not ignore residents or elected officials just because they belong to other political parties in our city. Never did the staffs in Mayor Moccia’s or Mayor Knopp’s office and City Clerk behave in this manner. Nor should our current Mayor’s staff. Remember the mayor’s campaign pledge of “civility.” I do.

Peter Torrano


43 responses to “Letter: Mayor’s office has become too politicized”

  1. Ilean Santiago

    Peter, you have too much time on your hands sir. How about trying pitching in and helping out instead of just slinging mud from an armchair.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Mother Ilean White

      For someone who slings mud from behind fake names that have exceeded double digits, that is a pretty funny statement. With all of the judgment passing and postulating that exceeds that of just about everyone else here, perhaps you might come out from behind the shroud and join the fine folks who stand behind their opinions instead of simply flaming those with the courage of their convictions?

  2. Don’t Panic

    Does Mr. Torrano know for a fact that no Republican law-makers were invited because of partisanship? Might it have been that these were not in their districts? Did Mr. Moccia decline to attend, as he has at other events where a courtesy invitation was extended, out of a sense of allowing a new mayor to operate without the shadow of a multi-term predecessor hanging over him? Did Mr. Cafero, perhaps, hang back because he is currently representing another real estate developer with a project of mixed popularity before the city?
    Mr. Torrano appears to be viewing the past administration with rose-tinted glasses. While Mr. Moccia’s civility to Democrats was apparent with elected officials in connection with events featuring golden shovels and oversized scissors, all bets were off with respect to appointments to various commissions around the City. The toxicity from some of these appointments still hangs over City business today.
    Just because Republicans weren’t in a position to see partisanship coming from the Mayor’s office doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.
    What’s more, incivility from the Mayor’s office didn’t just stop with elected officials outside of the sight of cameras–the past administration dealt with dissent from members of the public in some very interesting and uncivil ways, as well.
    Some of us here in the cheap seats see Mr. Rilling working very hard at accomodating the Republican position where it counts, in the day-to-day decisions. In fact, some Democrats are criticizing him for doing so at the expense of other party members.
    Has anyone who has purportedly been snubbed contacted the Clerk’s office to make them aware of the oversight? Or are we going to be treated to a full election season of having every mistake turn into a head-line making food fight?

  3. One and Done.

    GOP should stay clear of Washington Village. $30 million dollars that the federal government doesn’t have to build housing that will cost $600,000 per unit given to favorite contractors of this corrupt HUD agency and managed by the corrupt and incompetent NHA isn’t something they should associate with, rather they should investigate the money trails on these projects and prosecute the slum lord profiteers of these boondoggles.
    Look no further than Czarina of Staff of the White House Valerie Jarrett who has made millions off of these scams. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-kjEMcBol4

  4. TLaw

    Well that didn’t take long. Mr. Torrano should note that Mayor Rilling is rookie. He’s bound to continue making mistakes until he’s gotten more experience. Heck – he’s been told by his own party that he leads from behind. I recall when he was the Police Chief and at times he would engage people on The Hour in decent down to earth discussions – not sure what happened to that guy?

  5. Donna King, City Clerk

    Mr. Torrano,
    Ground breaking for the Pearl was not the Mayor’s event, nor did he or I have anything to do with the invitations. All were handled by the developer.

    The announcement of the $30 million grant awarded for the Washington Village Choice Homes project was completely handled by HUD. Invitations were extended by HUD and the Housing Authority. Our office and others were told to not discuss it with anyone, very hush, hush. They wouldn’t even confirm what the announcement was. The local paper, The Hour, ran a front page story speculating about it two days in advance so some people showed up on their own.

    I hope this clarifies what really happened. Our office is not used for any purpose other than to serve the citizens of this city.

  6. One and Done.

    Donna King wrote “very hush, hush”.
    Sounds about right for the people who promised to have the most transparent administration in the history of the country.
    Will Tony Rezko or one of his Chicago cousins be the developer? Or will the paper trail of where the money is going be “very hush, hush”?

  7. Mike Mushak

    Much ado about nothing, really. Perhaps Mr. Torrano should ask himself in the mirror why members of his own party on the Planning Commission including Victor Cavallo tried to scuttle the Washington Village project by voting it down in 2012, forcing the Common Council to have to take a rare 2/3 vote to override the Planning Commission’s myopic decision that could have cost the city $30 million in federal funds to rebuild the oldest housing project in CT that routinely floods and where entire families are living in moldy sub-standard units less than 400 square feet, a space smaller than an average 2 car garage.

    So Mr. Torrano now is disappointed his GOP party didn’t get enough credit for something they tried to scuttle? Wow, now that’s chutzpah, or in Italian, arroganza! To make it even worse, it seems through numerous caustic online comments that some members of his party still think this new Washington Village is another “housing project”, which it isn’t. The government doesn’t build “projects” in the traditional sense anymore, where poverty is concentrated and social problems can fester. It just shows the level of ignorance of some folks in Norwalk, some of whom are even in leadership positions sadly enough.

    Washington Village is a HUD Choice Neighborhoods mixed income project with a substantial number of market rate units, an on-site security force with state of the art security cameras, and smart design solutions that will add over 250 new housing units in a beautifully designed setting, which will change SoNo and Norwalk and hundreds of lives for the better.

    I suggest Mr. Torrano would better spend his time dealing with his GOP party philosophy of saying “no” to almost every smart planning initiative and professional study that taxpayers have spent millions on but are sitting on shelves in City Hall unimplemented. Or he can ask why lawyers who are well-connected GOP insiders are writing bad contracts for Redevelopment projects that do not protect the best interests of Norwalk citizens but their own interests in generating high fees as projects drag out unnecessarily for decades. Now there is a good story!

    What are they afraid of, that Norwalk may actually become a successful vibrant city full of smart folks who will look around once they move here and go “WTF happened here?” That is already happening, and you should hear the responses when I explain to them the decades of bad governance and a few key bureaucrats that do not have any professional qualifications but who are paid 6 figure salaries and get 12 weeks paid vacation to basically do nothing to move Norwalk forward. People’s mouths drop at the level of corruption I tell them about, including multiple frivolous zoning violations reported right here on NON against my church, business, and home by “anonymous” complaints that GOP insiders somehow hear about from staff before I even do. Yes, its that corrupt, and that petty.

    Mayor Rilling is trying to change that decades-long slide into mediocrity and incompetence, and I am proud of him for that. It isn’t easy and the petty nonsense like Mr. Torrano’s relentless angry letters (personal animosity towards the mayor perhaps?) are not helping move Norwalk forward but are just more muck for Harry to have to wade through, which is probably Mr. Torrano’s intent. Generating obstruction and nasty criticism is basically just a heck of a lot easier for lazy folks than generating solutions, which we see from politicians on a national level every day on both sides of the aisle.

    Mayor Rilling is developing many solutions to many of our serious problems, and will need some time to turn this broken ship of a city around. He’s only been mayor for 9 months, which is a very short time for anyone in a new position to steer a new course for a huge entrenched bureaucracy. If anything, he needs the help and support of folks who care about our city, not more petty nonsense like this letter from Mr. Torrano complaining that members of his party weren’t invited to the groundbreaking of a project they actually tried to kill.

  8. Bruce Kimmel

    I am a member of both the Common Council and Mayor Rilling’s party. I don’t recall receiving an official invite to either event, even though I participated in at least half a dozen discussions, debates and votes on the Washington Village plan. I heard and read that something was scheduled to happen regarding the $30 million grant, but never knew the particulars until I read about them after the even took place. Ms. King’s statement above must be accurate.
    It would seem to me, based on the above column (and the column that also appeared in today’s Nancy on Norwalk under Mr. Torrano’s name about the mosque) that the partisanship seems to be coming from the Republicans, not the Democrats. The mosque negotiations are being directed by a judge who has ordered the participants to stay quiet until a settlement is reached. Mr. Torrano must know this.
    I take great exception to the crass mudslinging by the person behind the name “One and Done.” I believe I know who that person is and hope that the vicious comments regarding affordable and public housing come to an end, as well as the constant attacks on the city’s corporation counsel.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Bruce Kimmel

      We receive all press announcements from virtually every official city department, including the mayor’s office. I went back today and double-checked my emails. We received no notice of the Washington Village event or The Pearl from the city. We reached out to Curtis Law at NHA regarding a rumored event at Washington Village that was played so close to the vest that the visit to Norwalk was not on Rep. Jim Himes’ official event schedule emailed only two days earlier. We received notice of The Pearl event from the developer.

  9. One and Done.

    Crass mudslinging Bruce? Facts are HUD has been an abysmal failure for our society and NHA follows suit. Why should we believe all of a sudden…just because they come up with some new name that it is some wonderful new idea. This groupthink and mindset is why we have projects today. The situation in Chicago is shameful and we shouldn’t be repeating the failed policies. You also forgot to mention that the city’s share of expense from this is going to massively dwarf the $30 million grant. Be honest Bruce. I know you are.

  10. One and Done.

    Mike, every single housing project in this city was formulated and fabricated on similar lies. I hate to break it to you, but there just isn’t a large market of individuals who want to spend $3000 a month on rent to live on top of gang bangers and shiftless government dependents. Eventually the subsidies and feel good intentions will fade away and we’ll have just another project that drains resources and contributes little value to society. Buy these people houses on the open market instead in decent neighborhoods if you really care about them. The drop in housing stock will accelerate local property values and make it easier for NHA to properly monitor their properties.

  11. One and Done.

    Bruce has his wires crossed somewhere. I’ve never had an opinion of the city’s corporation counsel. He might also be surprised that I think he is an exceptional councilman himself regardless of party affiliation. I would point out that he isn’t really welcome on his own reservation right now.

  12. Mike Mushak

    One and Done, the research doesn’t bear out your obsolete notion from the last century that economically integrated housing doesn’t work. Get with it! Do you honestly think everyone will afford a nice suburban house with 2 cars like you probably have while making minimum wage or not much more in our lopsided economy, where even most of the the middle class is struggling to survive? Give it a break. Your “blame the poor for their problems” is what cost Romney the election last time. Who do you think do all the menial low paying jobs holding the fabric of our economy together? Do you want them all to live with their children in homeless shelters or out of their cars?

    Here’s some research although changing your mind is probably unlikely I suspect:

    “HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods are both premised on the idea that mixed-income, economically integrated neighborhoods improve the lives of residents and aid the surrounding community. In studying four mixed-income developments, Turbov and Piper found that such projects were instrumental in both revitalizing the market and improving residents’ quality of life. In all four sites, the median household income of neighborhood residents grew significantly faster than elsewhere in the city or region. Likewise, unemployment levels fell, workforce participation rates improved, and residential markets strengthened. As Turbov and Piper explain, “With market rate renters and homebuyers getting a foothold in these renewing neighborhoods, property values and new investments have also soared in these more viable, mixed income communities.”

    Noting these ripple effects, Zielenbach and Voith found that HOPE VI redevelopments are responsible for positive economic spillover to surrounding neighborhoods. Their study of four redeveloped sites in two cities, using changes in residential property values, crime rates, and household incomes as indicators, found mostly positive effects. They observed that the degree of improvement depended on local market conditions and preexisting economic development resources within the community. In analyzing changes in property sale prices in neighborhoods surrounding three HOPE VI redevelopments in Baltimore, Castells also concluded that conditions in the neighborhoods before HOPE VI rehabilitation, as well as HOPE VI’s emphasis on private investment and the mixed-income model, affect the magnitude and nature of spillover effects.”

  13. Just saying

    What? Is this the Torrano who wants elections staff to be very partisan?

  14. One and Done.

    We’ll see Mike. So far HUD and NHAs track record of failure is pretty well documented. It would seem no one in a decision making capacity has the [fortitude] to admit that collocating disadvantaged children and poor mothers in these collectives has not produced positive results. Really, I hope I am wrong. You can cite Stamford, but would you risk your life walking the neighborhoods there after dark by yourself? I doubt it.
    I’m not opposed to subsidizing decent housing for the disadvantaged. I am opposed to the projects that we continue to blight our landscapes with enslaving these poor folks to destitute lives of dependency. There are always a few diamonds in the rough, but let’s be serious and admit our failures. Others have pointed out that you can outright buy these folks homes in decent neighborhoods for less than the cost of these projects that seem only to serve enriching those connected to the political rulers.

    This comment was edited for language.

  15. Robert J Sodaro

    I can’t help but to be entertained by Mr. Torrano who is upset that (Democratic) Mayor Rilling to be “less partisan” and represent the entire city, and yet is very clearly upset at (Republican) Registrar of Voters Karen Doyle Lyons because she has the audacity to serve all voters in Norwalk equally, and hasn’t gone out of her way to register more Republican voters (something she is legally prevented from specifically doing).

    Is he even listening what he says?

  16. Don’t Panic

    Once again, Mr. Torrano’s accusations appear to be short on facts. Perhaps there’s a more constructive way for Mr. Torrano to keep his “loyal opposition” in the news?

  17. Dave McCarthy

    I also received an invitation to the ground breaking of the Pearl from the developer, not the mayor’s office. That may actually be telling, and I may agree that this is a rookie mistake by the City Clerk, after all it is very clear that Mayor Rilling had nothing to do with the Pearl, Washington Village, the Iron Works, Waypointe or any of the other major developments that were completely the Moccia administration’s accomplishments. I would hope that the administration might learn from this and there may be some positive development.

    However, there have been a number of events for which the mayor’s office has been solely responsible that all Republicans have been cut out of… most notably the graduation ceremonies at the high schools, about which I actually received phone calls because the omission of R’s was so glaring.

    Washington Village was advanced during the Moccia Administration and for him to have been excluded was criminal. Most of what is written here is drivel, and I recall speaking out (with Mr. Kimmel) against borderline racist comments made by 1 small faction that was built around one D councilperson, that seemed to be self-serving and that was brushed aside.

    I don’t recall anyone ever saying anything about wanting Karen Doyle Lyons to do anything illegal, the Republican Party wishes for her to work for the Republican Party as well as Mr. Wells works for the Democratic Party. I think this is a choice better suited for the Republicans of Norwalk to make.

  18. Don’t Panic

    The Clerk’s office is responsible for invitations to high school graduations? Really?

  19. Robert J. Sodaro

    Once again I find myself confused by comments made here by the Republican leadership+.
    Mr. McCarthy once again faults the Mayor’s office for not sending him an invitation to the ground breaking of the Pearl Apartments in SoNo, when it was clearly pointed out by others in this very thread that it was not the Mayor’s Office prerogative to send out invitations, it was the Developer’s party, so the Developer was the one who sent out the invitations. Hence there was no mistake (rookie or otherwise) on the part of the Mayor or his staff.
    As to the graduation ceremonies, I honestly don’t’ know how that works but, you know, logically speaking, wouldn’t the respective schools in question that were holding graduation ceremonies be responsible for sending out invitations to their own graduations? Why would the Mayor’s office be responsible for that?
    And finally, Yes, Mr. McCarthy, both Mr. Torrano and Mr. Federici, and now you have been (and are) asking Karen Doyle Lyons to do things that are illegal “…the Republican Party wishes for her to work for the Republican Party as well as Mr. Wells works for the Democratic Party.” Apparently Mr. McCarthy missed my earlier comments in that it actually IS illegal for a Republican or a Democratic Registrar to work specifically for their own party while acting as Registrar. (Misters Torrano and Federici have also stated that they wanted Mrs. Lyons to add voters’ phone numbers and emails to voter registration cards (the Secretary of the State has indicated that not only are Registrars are not allowed to add emails, but only voters themselves can add their own phone numbers to their own Voter Registration cards).
    If Mr. McCarthy doesn’t believe me, I bid him to contact the Secretary of the State of Connecticut’s office (860.509.6200) and ask her that question. She will be happy to inform him the very same thing that I have just (and repeatedly) said. As Registrars we work for the voters, not our respective parties. Yes, we are Democrats and Republicans, but while working as Registrars we are required by law to be non partisan (after all it is the City that pays our salaries, not our respective parties). Further, if we did what Mr. McCarthy wanted (only worked for only our own parties), who would represent the Unaffiliated, Minor-Party, and non-voters voters (who combined, represent a larger bloc of citizens) living in Norwalk?
    Needless to say, this last point of Mr. McCarthy is especially ironic as it occurs in a thread following a letter by the RTC Chair accusing the (Democratic) Mayor of being “too Partisan” (Should Mayor Rilling ONLY represent the Democratic party?) but, his comments ring especially hollow given that — back in January of this year, in comments made here in Nancy On Norwalk (https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/01/torrano-norwalk-republicans-democrats-need-to-work-together/)— Mr. Torrano went on at great length expressing his feelings that “Norwalk Republicans and Democrats need to work together” for the good of the city.
    Finally, while I get that Mr. McCarthy would prefer that the Republican Party decide how the Registrar of Voters’ office operates, personally, I (and I suspect the rest of the voters of Norwalk) would prefer that the office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut decide how an office specifically and legally under its jurisdiction operates.

  20. Peter Torrano

    Mr. Sodaro,

    You must stop telling lies, intentionally or otherwise.

    You said, incorrectly, that I, Mr. Federici and Mr McCarthy have asked Karen Lyons to do illegal things. How you know this is baffling to me since you have never, not one time, asked me what I have asked Karen Lyons to do, have you? And, you have never, not once, asked Mr. Federici what he has asked Karen Lyons to do, have you? And, you have never, ever asked Mr McCarthy what he has asked Karen Lyons to do, have you?

    This has been the problem for many years faced by the Republicans with Ms. Lyons. Since all of your information is coming from Ms. Lyons, and you have never, ever taken the time to speak with any of the three of us that you are accusing of wrongdoing and possible illegal activities you can only be considered foolish, ill informed or gullible. Many times over the years, and particularly now that Ms. Lyons has not been nominated by the Republican Party, many false and inflammatory statements have been made by Ms. Lyons, and you, sir, have been duped by her.

    I will now tell you, so that you hear it from the horses mouth, none of the three people you have besmirched have ever asked Karen to do anything illegal. We have questioned why some things are not done, and according to a Registrar of Voters from another town, what we have been told by Karen is inaccurate. What would ever lead you to believe we would intentionally ask someone to break the law? Seriously?

    As for the Republicans, as I recall, you are not one, but in fact the Democrat Assistant Registrar of Voters, having been handed your job on a silver platter, devoid of any qualifications or experience. I understand you needed a job, and your party was kind enough to give you one. For that, I’m happy for you. We as Republicans did not question why you, with no qualifications, was hired. We did not interfere when your party dumped your previous Registrar of Voters because your party was upset with her father-in-law. We did not make an issue of the fact that the person who replaced her is the husband of the previous Democrat Town Chairman, nor did we question his credentials. Stewart Wells, is in fact, a very good Registrar, and has been far more help to the Republican Party than has Karen Lyons. Stewart has not been fine $1500 by the state for failing to comply with state mandates, as has Karen Lyons. Stewart did not arbitrarily and illegally remove thousands of voters from the rolls and then be forced to replace them, as did Karen Lyons. Stewart did not turn his office into a babysitting operation, forcing the mayor to intervene and stop that practice, as did Karen Lyons.

    So, Mr. Sodaro, tell all the readers you have misinformed that you have not spoken with any of us, that you formulated your faulty facts based on what Karen Lyons has told you, and then ask Ms. Lyons why she was not chosen to continue in her present elected position by her fellow Republican RTC members.

    Oh, and if you are confused as you state in your first sentence about what Mr. McCarthy said, you may want to reread it. He did say he was contacted by the developer, not the mayor’s office. What he says further, but needs to be explained to you, is that even if it is the developer who calls the mayor’s office to extend an invitation, the common thing done in the past, and not done today, is that the City Clerk would recognize that the invitation is not sent to a person, but to an office, the mayor’s office. In the past, the mayor’s City Clerk (correction, the taxpayer’s City Clerk) would have enough sense to extend the invitation to all involved during the project, regardless of party affiliation. They did not throw up their hands and say “not my job, man.” They acted.

    One last thing. Since your first post was at 9:50am, were you on paid duty in the RoV office while scanning this site?

  21. Dave McCarthy

    Mr. Sodaro, I find it strange that you are launching some odd campaign here, perhaps at the behest of Mrs. Lyons, though I am not sure. I never said anything about her treating any voter who wishes to be registered any differently, I said the choice is up to the Republicans of Norwalk, which it most certainly is.

  22. Don’t Panic

    Art, wherefore art thou? Why have you forsaken your party?

  23. Just saying

    Karen Doyle Lyons is not the dirty one here. Looks like a few others. She never said anything and yet you have… Who is the good guy?

  24. Michael DePalma

    I have personally seen a letter sent out from the Federici campaign that stated that if elected, he would work to register Republican voters. This is not what the job of the registrar entails. The reason there is a registrar assigned to each party is to keep it non-partisan. I can post that letter if you’d like, or maybe someone can explain exactly what that statement was supposed to mean.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Michael DePalma

      Documents are always welcome and provide complete context. Feel free to post.

  25. Michael DePalma

    No problem. I will scan it tomorrow.

  26. One and Done.

    The Peter Torrano Playbook.
    Exhibit A on how to run a local party into the ground.
    I’m not sure what’s worse, parking lot battle royales or gutter blogging.

  27. Lisa_P

    Mike DePalma, yes, get it from your mother-in-law, Karen Doyle Lyons, just don’t look for her in the registrar’s office, because that’s the one place she rarely is.

  28. Robert J. Sodaro

    A couple of quick things and then I’m out:
    • I haven’t lied. If a lie is an intentional misrepresentation of the truth, then how does one “unintentionally lie”?
    • Whoever said that I “needed a job” and was given one by the Registrar’s office misrepresented the facts (well, we all need jobs). I was initially hired by The Town Clerk’s office in ’04 to work that election and was subsequently hired by Stuart Well’s predecessor and trained and served as a moderator. When Stuart’s predecessor abruptly walked off the job three weeks prior to the ’08 Presidential election I (along with others), jumped in to assure the citizens of Norwalk that our election ran smoothly. The following year I was appointed by Stuart as his deputy based (I can only assume), on not only my demonstrated abilities and willingness to help during the previous election cycle, but the fact that I’ve had a nearly 30-year business relationship with Stuart in the publishing industry, and he was well aware of my capabilities.
    • Stuart (not “Stewart”) Wells. If you keep getting the easy stuff wrong, how can you be trusted to get the hard stuff right?
    • As I understand it, both registrars were fined by the SEEC but were eventually exonerated and reimbursed.
    • You are correct, I have not spoken to any of you in regards to these matters; I have, however, been reading what you all have said to the press and quoting you directly. Like when Mr. McCarthy wrote in his own response earlier in this very thread “…the Republican Party wishes for her to work for the Republican Party as well as Mr. Wells works for the Democratic Party.”
    • Yes, my initial post in this thread was at 9:50 a.m. however, I am a part-time employee, and usually don’t start working until Noon. I was home when I posted that and all other responses.

  29. Michael DePalma

    Lisa, I’m not sure what that comment even means. I’m not hiding the fact that Karen is a relative of my wife’s; (although she’s not her mother in law). If I was trying to hide that I wouldn’t have posted my full name; I would’ve used the First Name, Last Initial move like you.

    I tried to post the letter but couldn’t attach it to this comment thread; so I emailed it to Nancy; hopefully she can add it to the site. But the second bullet point of this letter, which outlines his reason for running, states: “Provide an active voter outreach that will include working hard to reach out to new and existing voters to register them as Republicans, and thereby increase the voter rolls for our party.” That seems pretty straightforward, so, again, maybe someone can explain to me how this statement should be interpreted.

    Editor’s note: Below is the text of the letter from John Federici supplied to NoN by Michael DePalma. This has been retyped because of technical limitations of our comment program. If anyone doubts the accuracy we can provide a copy of the uneditable pdf or jpeg we were sent. – mc

    John Federici
    20 Katy Lane
    Norwalk, CT 06851

    Dear Fellow Republican,

    I would like to advise you of my intention to run for the Norwalk Registrar of Voters position, and to ask for your support.

    I have been an active member of the RTC for 18 years. I have also served on the Historical Commission for five years, and was chosen to serve on Charter Revision. For six years I served on the Parking Authority and was Chairman for four of those years. Was appointed to the Board of Estimate and Taxation for two years and I am the past Vice Chairman of District C and the past Vice Chairman of the RTC. I am also a 17 year board member and Past Chairman of Keystone House.

    I have worked on many campaigns throughout the years in several capacities, and served as the Assistant Registrar of Voters in 2003.

    My reason for wanting to run is to accomplish the following:

    1. Update all current information and files regarding the Republican Voters. This will mean a voter-by-voter contact with all registered Republicans to verify phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses and the correct spelling of their names, and to purge the files of deceased and relocated Republicans who no longer reside in our City. By accomplishing these tasks, it would allow for accurate voter information such as where people vote on election day.

    2. Provide an active voter outreach that will include working hard to reach out to new and existing voters to register them as Republicans, and thereby increase the voter rolls of our party.

    3. Provide accurate and comprehensive voter statistics to allow our candidates during elections to enhance their opportunities to reach out to those voters.

    I would truly appreciate your support at the convention in May. Should you need to contact me please feel free to do so. I can be reached at [email protected].


    John Federici

  30. Peter Torrano

    Mr. DePalma,

    I believe what the original intent of your posting is supposed to be is to prove what the RTC, and three members in particular have done, is to demand that Karen Lyons violate the law. Where, pray tell, in this letter that was sent to all RTC members and not to the general public, including your mother-in-law, Karen Lyons, does it say anything at all to that effect? Please explain. The level of misinformation being blathered about by some in Karen’s camp is astonishing.

    As for the second part of John’s letter, what he says is true and factual. The RTC bylaws allows for a “Voter Registration Committee” Article VII, sec. 4c that John will chair when elected. The bylaw states ” The Voter Registration Committee shall prepare plans for broad based voter registration efforts by the Norwalk Republicans and for contacting all newly registered Republicans within 30 days of their enrollment. The plans of the Voter Registration Committee shall be approved by the Executive Committee.” John did not say he would violate any law by advocating for the Republicans while sitting in his office, or by using his office for that purpose. If he did, please show me. He will work outside his office with the Voter Registration Committee and lend assistance on regulations authored by the State that dictate the proper, and legal way to register voters.

    Mr. Sodaro,

    You make inappropriate statements and assertions and then “your out of here.” Hit and run, I guess.

    You state you made your assumptions of things written by me that would demand Karen violate the law. That is a strong statement, yet you do not back it up. Please cite where and when I wrote anything to that affect. You have made the allegation, and it is now your responsibility to back it up. I think it obvious that since you work side by side with Karen, that it is from her that you receive your information.

    As for correcting my rapidly typed misspelling of Stuarts name, “got me on that one.” A little juvenile on your part, but…. I have not been so trapped in an obvious little error like that since the 4th grade.

  31. Peter Torrano

    That should be “you’re out of here” Mr. Sodaro, before you again correct my spelling. Three years of typing in high school and I still err.

  32. Michael DePalma

    But if he is going to be serving on this Voter Registration Committee outside of his duties as Registrar, what is the point of mentioning it in his campaign materials? He actually states it’s one of his 3 main reasons for running. If his passion is to register republican voters, that’s his right to do so. But it has absolutely nothing to do with being a registrar of voters for the City.

  33. Michael DePalma

    You asked where he said that, and all you have to do is read the letter. ‘My reason for wanting to run is to accomplish the following…’

  34. Peter Torrano

    Mr DePalma,

    The letter was to the RTC only, as stated. Mr. Federici will work to register voters on the committee he will chair once elected at the RoV. As said above, he will then have the ability to guide through the committee the legal way of registering voters. He need not do so from his office in an official capacity, but will have the knowledge needed to do so.

    Still, you’re purpose in posting was to prove that several of the RTC have demanded Karen Lyons perform illegal acts. Where is that proof. Why have you gone silent on that aspect of this exchange?

  35. Michael DePalma

    Maybe you have me confused with someone else, because I never said anything about anyone doing anything illegal. I was responding to the comments above by you and Mr. McCarthy that John would would not use his position to help register Republican voters. I have used actual facts in my posts, so show me where I said anything about illegal acts. I also don’t understand your comment that the letter was only intended for RTC members. Does that mean he says one thing to the insiders, and something else in public? I don’t see how the words ‘my reasons for wanting to run is to accomplish __’ can be taken any other way than that he intends to use this elected position to do exactly what he states. Which is to ‘reach out to new and existing voters to register them as Republicans, and thereby increase the voter rolls for our party.’ Why is his chairmanship of the registration committee contingent upon him being elected as ROV, as you state above, if the roles are completely independent of one another? To say he’s running to gain the knowledge to ‘understand the legal way to register voters’ is the spin of all spins.

  36. Peter Torrano

    Mr. DePalma,

    I went back and checked, and you are right in that you did not say that some RTC leaders have asked Karen to do illegal things. Your offer to post the RTC letter came directly after and exchange that did assert that, and I mistakenly thought you were following up on that. My apologies to you, sir.

    As for John looking to increase the Republican rolls, that remains correct. He will do so as the chair of the committee the RTC has in its bylaws. We feel, moving ahead and with changes that are most definitely needed to be made, that having the new RoV chair our committee will be the best spot for him. The RTC has, in the past, sometimes not filled committees and made proper use of them. As chair, I want to change all of that. I have formed several new committees, and the existing Voter Registration Committee is one that has been neglected in the past. You may call it spin if that is what you think it is, but it happens to be the truth. I’m pretty sure that considering your family connection to Karen Lyons, that connection will not allow for you and I, or you and anyone supporting John Federici to come to an agreement, so for my part, I will end this now. You produced your letter, and I responded. You are questioning the integrity of the letter, and we stand by it.

  37. Don’t Panic

    That letter is troubling and voters should be concerned about someone who seems not to understand the difference between the non-partisan role of the Registrar of Voters and the partisan responsibilities of a member of the RTC.
    And before Mr. Torrano goes postal with name calling on me, let me be clear, I don’t know Ms. Lyons and have no position on her candidacy. This is about Mr. Federici’s position.
    Letters like the one above can result in actions against the Registars’ office, which is bad for the city and decreases public trust in voting.
    One does not need to be a registrar to reach out to new movers. They are not on the voter file until AFTER they are registered.

  38. Car 54

    Where are you?

  39. peter parker

    Who cares who was there or invited. What is important and matters is, Norwalk was given $30 million dollars for the rebuilding of Washington Village. Get a life is right.

  40. Piberman

    Imagine if all these energies by our public officials were redirected into managing City budgets affordable to our citizens ! Then they would have our respect. Where else in CT are so much time and energies spent on “little stuff” ? Only in Norwalk.

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