Mangiacopra sees youth an asset in Norwalk mayor race

Vinny Mangiacopra 050513 201
Norwalk Democratic District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra speaks at last week’s Democratic mayor meet in the South Norwalk Community Center.

NORWALK, Conn. – Vinny Mangiacopra knows he has a couple of hurdles to clear if he is become the next mayor of a city that casts a wary eye on “outsiders” and change in general.

“I can’t control where I went to school or my age,” he said recently, answering frequent detractors after addressing a Cinco de Mayo gathering at the South Norwalk Community Center. But he quickly tried to turn both to his advantage.

“I think I bring a fresh perspective, a sense of reality” to the race.

For the record, Mangiacopra, one of four contenders for the Democratic Party nomination to run for Norwalk Mayor, is 31 and graduated from Notre Dame Catholic High in Fairfield. His career has taken him to Bridgeport and Monroe. He is married to a lifelong Norwalker and has lived in Norwalk for eight years.

Mangiacopra said he wants to use his fresh perspective to change the way Republican incumbent Mayor Richard Moccia has done business over the past seven years, and pointed to the City Carting 10-year trash collection and hauling contracts in particular.

“There were several City Carting employees on Moccia’s campaign donor list” in 2011, he said, “three of them for the maximum of $1,000. People figure that’s the way politics are, but it shouldn’t be that way.”

Another area where he said the mayor has been deficient is technology. “Modern-day technology is a part of everyday life,” he said. “It’s how we communicate. I will evaluate it, of course, reach out. It’s a way to get more people involved. That’s my goal, to be a conduit to get more citizens involved” in their government.”

He also cited Moccia’s years in office as an impediment to getting a handle on the city’s finances and spending priorities.

“It is important to get new eyes on the budget, to look at all of the numbers,” he said. “I am not confident we are getting accurate numbers, from past experience,” pointing to discrepancies including the school and NEON budgets, the missing money in the town clerk’s office and losses at Oak Hills Park.

Mangiacopra did not confine his barbs to the mayor, though. He addressed the city’s violent crime, and used the opportunity to take a swipe at the Democratic rival many consider his biggest challenger for the nomination, former Police Chief Harry Rilling.

“We need to get control of the (police department) overtime budget,” he said. “I’ve talked with the rank and file officers. They need more bodies. During Rilling’s 17 years as chief, you would think he could have found a way to get more officers. It’s a matter of priority.”

Rilling has laid out his plan to increase the number of officers if he is elected, but Mangiacopra has his own idea.

“I’m not sure how soon we will be able to get more, but I know I can get them one. On Day 1 of my administration, I will be out there walking with them.”

Mangiacopra said there is a problem between some segments of the Norwalk population and the police. “It’s a cultural issue with the community and the police department. We need to change that.” He talked about creating a bridge as mayor between the police and the community.

“As mayor, I’ll be held accountable for everything,” he said, “and the police chief will be accountable.”

The great thing is there’s a distinct choice now,” he said, setting up a veiled swipe at Rilling and his other opponents, veteran Common Councilman Matt Miklave and former town clerk and former mayoral candidate Andy Garfunkel. “It’s not going to be the lesser of two evils. We will have two candidates who will take things in distinctly different directions.”



21 responses to “Mangiacopra sees youth an asset in Norwalk mayor race”

  1. LWitherspoon

    Who will be in the Mayor’s office on Day 1 while Mangiacopra is out walking around with the Norwalk PD? If what Vinny really wants is to be a cop, they are looking for candidates. He should take the fitness test and the written test and see how it goes.
    I would be interested to know any Police Officer’s perspective on whether or not babysitting an untrained, unseasoned Mayor while on patrol would be a net benefit to their policing activity.

  2. Bruce Kimmel

    Mr. Mangiacopra, when commenting on the City Carting contract, basically accused the mayor of promoting “pay to play” politics in Norwalk. Interestingly, he does not comment, not a single word, on the contract itself, which will probably come close to saving taxpayers $17 million over the next ten years. Also, by implication — assuming he knows something about the process leading up to a final contract — he indirectly has accused the city’s procurement officer of being involved in “pay to play” schemes. I find all of this fascinating, considering Mangiacopra’s previous career.

  3. rburnett

    Ding Ding!!! Vinny is taking the gloves off and now attacking other dem candidates publicly rather than behind the scenes!!

    I hope they take the high road and not allow him to bring them down to his level. Shows a total lack of character but what can you expect of someone so young and with such limited experience?

  4. NorwalkLifer

    Out with pay-to-play! In with a clean slate! The people are behind you Vinny.

  5. shoegogirl33

    Vinny is the face of change! Those who disagree are undeniable blind to the social and economic issues that impose great deters to the Norwalk community. Having been a life long resident, the Norwalk community fostered the integrity and mindset I needed to compete on a global scale. I have much to thank for the Norwalk Public school system (NHS’00) and the teachers/coaches that inspired me. I am proud to recognize my Norwalk roots even though this not the place I remember from my youth. I moved back from NYC with intent to recapture that essence for future generations, that is why we are voting for Vinny Mangiacopra. He will deliver leadership, a fresh perspective and take action where our current mayor has turn the other way. Let’s not make this next election a popularity contest but vote on Norwalk’s future now!!!

  6. Joe Espo

    Vinny seems to be fomenting an anti-establishment rebellion reminiscent of the 1960’s Yippie (Youth International Party) movement (Abie Hoffman, Jerry Ruben, “kill everybody over the age of 30…”) Just a quick Wikipedia search brings up scary parallels to Vinnie’s agenda which seems to be “throw the gray-hairs out the window.” There’s no other plan that he offers other than to infuse Norwalk government with young, inexperienced and misguided people.

    If you want to understand what a Vinny administration might mean for Norwalk, look up the record of Dennis (the Menace) Kucinich. In 1977, Kucinich was elected Mayor of Cleveland at age 26, then the youngest mayor ever to lead a major American city. His youthful inexperience caused Cleveland to be the first city to go bankrupt since the Great Depression.

    God help us!

  7. Harold

    Joe you went pretty far back to find that guy.. You must have combed through hundreds of good “young mayors” before finding that guy! Lets all be honest here, Vinny is the change we need. Also, sounds like Bruce knows a little more than he should with this pay to play matter. What part of Vinnies previous career are you talking about?

  8. NorwalkVoter

    One comment about some of the postings on today’s thread: Where are the spelling/grammar police? Duh!

  9. Norwalk Dinosaur

    @Bruce Kimmel, what “previous career” are you insinuating of Mr. Mangiacopra? Did he land a 10-year contract with the City after donating thousands in campaign contributions to the Mayor or are you simply throwing unrelated mud?

    Legal or not, it seems that the contributions raise a red flag and warrant discussion. As taxpayers, we expect more from our elected officials and playing footsie in the sand box with contractors is not what we want to see from our representatives.

  10. Joe Espo

    Dinosaur: I think Mr. Kimmel is referring to Vinny’s role as loyal campaign wingman to Ernie Newton of Bridgeport. From various sources: “Ernie Newton was found guilty of nine felony counts in a public corruption scandal and served 4 years in a Federal Correctional Facility. Newton accepted a $5,000 bribe, evaded taxes and pilfered campaign contributions to pay for car repairs and personal cellphone calls. After his release from prison, Newton announced that he will be seeking reelection…” and got charged again. – Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernie_Newton_%28politician%29.
    “In 2013, he was busted on campaign finance fraud charges stemming from his failed bid to regain his old seat in Hartford. He’s accused of falsifying documents to obtain $80,550 from the state’s Citizen Election Program to fund his campaign for the 23rd District State Senate seat last year.” – CT Post. http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Ernest-Newton-arrested-on-campaign-finance-fraud-4168334.php .
    Vinny was involved in both campaigns.
    Here’s an interesting piece on Vinny:


  11. NorwalkLifer

    Too funny. What’s wrong Joe? Scared of the up and coming Vinny? Every time Vinny’s opponents bring up Ernie, you know who’s winning…

    By the way are you accusing Vinny of a crime? Didn’t think so. To imply that he did…that’s smear tactics..

  12. Broderick I. Sawyer

    @ Joe Espo, that link said Newton was the criminal, not Vinny.
    Guilt by association, I don’t think that’s fair at all, he was the political strategist, not the finance guru.
    I think it’s a stretch insinuating that Vinny was anything other than the polital strategist, now chew on this; the chance of Newton making a comeback after all of his well documented problems and coming in second place; Vinny did a good job as his political strategist!
    If Vinny doesn’t get the nod, maybe the winner could use an experienced strategy guy!
    At this point I have yet to decide on one particular candidate, the above comments are just my opinion.

  13. Broderick I. Sawyer

    @ NorwalkVoter, you jinxed me mentioning the spell check police!

  14. Tim T

    LWitherspoon in his never ending attempt to smear each and every democrat states
    “I would be interested to know any Police Officer’s perspective on whether or not babysitting an untrained, unseasoned Mayor while on patrol would be a net benefit to their policing activity.”

    LWitherspoon police ride alongs are very common and citizens do it all the time. Maybe you would like to ride with the NPD and do nothing for a shift.


  15. Tim T

    I actually think its comical that Mangiacopra is running for mayor as he has about as much chance as the Rowayton cowboy. However what I find even more comical is Bruce Kimmel stating
    “I find all of this fascinating, considering Mangiacopra’s previous career.”
    What’s fascinating is Kimmel having the nerve to critique anyone after his little stunt of running as a Democrat and then for all practical purposes becoming a Republican . What Bruce Kimmel should do is the right and honorable thing and resign and then run as a Republican.

  16. oldtimer

    In criticising the City Carting deal, Vinny failed to mention the Meadow Street site manager and a principal in the company that owns the real estate, ( Meadow St Partners) Joseph Fiorillo jr, was not allowed to work on the Westchester County garbage contract with City Carting because of his history with organised crime. http://web006.westchestergov.com/articles/070304a.pdf

  17. Joe Espo

    An old proverb is apropos here: You are the company you keep. Vinny enthusiastically associated himself with a convicted felon, and worked ardently for him. It must mean that he scoffed, Soprano-like, at the significance of Ernie’s conviction for a $5,000 bribe, evasion of taxes and pilfered campaign contributions. And then doubled down for a second helping of crime-flavored ice cream in 2013. He outwardly ignored the gravity of Ernie’s crimes, and perhaps for youthful blind ambition. Say what you will about Garfunkel, Miklave or Rilling, none of them can be pinned with this kind of poor judgment.

  18. Tim T

    Joe Espo
    You say
    “Say what you will about Garfunkel, Miklave or Rilling, none of them can be pinned with this kind of poor judgment”.
    What do you make of these issues while Moccia was mayor and Rilling was chief?
    Officer Santo

    Officer Ouellette

    LT Cummings

    The Domestic Abuse cover-up

    The Pastor “Kidnapped” by police and then payed $20,000 not to sue.

  19. Joe Espo

    Tim T: you don’t have substantiation that Garfunkel, Miklave, Moccia or Rilling would have defended -like lawyers would have- the s*bags that you mentioned. But Vinny had no problem defending a criminal like Ernie. What does that say about his character? … irrespective of his youthful inexperience.

  20. Tim T

    Joe Espo
    your reply doesn’t make any sense???

    The question was pretty simple.
    What do you make of these issues while Moccia was mayor and Rilling was chief?

  21. Joe Espo

    Tim T: Let me get back to you after Amanda returns my call.

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