By Matt Miklave
Democratic candidate for mayor
Common Councilman, District A
NORWALK, Conn. – Last week, in response to the incident involving DTC (Democratic Town Committee) Chair Amanda Brown and Bill and Regina Krummel, I called on Ms Brown to resign as DTC Chair. As I am not a member of District E, the district Mr. Krummel heads, I cannot formally request that he step down. But I urge him to do so as a result of his participation in the altercation. Needless to say, because our school system has a zero-tolerance policy on physical violence, I simply cannot support Mrs. Krummel’s bid to run for the Board of Education for similar reasons. I would hope they would all do the right thing, accept responsibility for their wrongful conduct and step away from their leadership roles.
While I am personally pleased that the parties have reconciled, I am disappointed that neither the participants nor the remaining DTC leadership will acknowledge what seems obvious to me – that no slur, slight or circumstance justifies physical violence in civil discourse and debate. In fact, several friends and supporters had urged me to adopt Mr. Rilling’s and Mr. Mangiacopra’s wait and see approach. I could not do so. To me, waiting for an investigation that will never come, or further explanations by the participants, is a fundamental error. That approach suggests their conduct can be justified or condoned. It cannot be.
The staged reconciliation on Sunday, where candidates were invited to serve as window dressing to give validity to the participants’ attempts to play nice and mend fences, cannot overcome the damage done to our city or our party. That altercation, and the DTC Leadership’s collective response to it, prove to me that just as our city needs to be reformed following years of neglect, the Norwalk Democratic Party needs to be reformed as well. Those who fail to condemn (and by implication condone) the brawl at City Hall, either because they do not wish to alienate DTC insiders from whom they seek to curry favor, or because they believe violence may be justified, do not represent the Democratic Party I know and have supported all of my professional life. I have said repeatedly that the only special interests I wish to serve are the families, small businesses, seniors, students and taxpayers of Norwalk. Whether you agree with my positions on the critical issues facing our city or not, I have never put my principles or integrity on the shelf to appease party insiders, and I am not about to start now.
The Democratic Party I know condemns violence and supports the peaceful resolution of conflict.
The Democratic Party I know supports integrity, transparency, accountability and responsibility.
The Democratic Party I know holds leaders accountable.
The Democratic Party I know promotes diversity of opinion, as well as diversity based on gender, ethnic or racial background, sexual orientation, culture or ancestry.
The Democratic Party I know certainly does not walk in lockstep and occasionally resembles a disorganized collective, but it never resembles an angry mob.
And the Democratic Party I know does not adopt a position or stance simply because it is a winning tactic. The Democratic Party I know adopts positions that are responsible, sound and moral.
That is the Democratic Party I will work to create, grow and preserve.
When I announced my run for mayor, I said I was a different kind of candidate, would run a different kind of campaign and would be a different kind of mayor. My administration will seek to reform Norwalk’s $350 million budget process by implementing performance-based budgeting, so we can do more with the resources we already collected. My administration will seek to reform City Hall by making it more accessible, accountable and transparent, and by holding civil servants to a higher standard. My administration will seek to reform Norwalk’s approach to economic development by focusing on the jobs we create, rather than the buildings we build. My administration will seek to restore integrity, civility and ethics to government, holding appointed and elected leaders accountable for their public and private actions. My administration will seek to arrest those who commit crime in our city, lock them up and keep them away from our families. My administration will seek to put all of Norwalk first, not one special-interest group, clique or party faction. And, now, my administration will work to rebuild the local Democratic Party into the party it once was – and can become again.
And so, today, I announce my commitment to help rebuild the Norwalk Democratic Party. Once I win the Sept. 10th primary on my platform of reform, and win the election to the office of mayor, I will spearhead a campaign to reform the Norwalk DTC. Working with those good women and men (many of them current DTC members) who are as disillusioned as I am with recent events, I will work to build a “New Directions” slate of candidates to run for leadership positions in the Norwalk DTC. The events of last week proves that the current DTC leadership is out of touch and out of time. This effort will seek to restore integrity, civility, accountability and responsibility to the Norwalk DTC, just as we will work to restore these values to City Hall. There is only one requirement for becoming a part of my challenge New Directions slate – a commitment to restore these principles to Norwalk DTC politics and to put our city’s interests ahead of all personal interests.
Whether these individuals support me for mayor or not, I welcome all women and men of good will who believe that now is the time to begin this party reform and invite them to join me in “Putting Norwalk First.” I look forward to hearing from you.