Moccia: No politics involved in NotifyNorwalk call about recycling

Norwalk Common Council 061113 046
Mayor Richard Moccia makes a point at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s mayor says the only reason behind his Notify Norwalk call Friday afternoon was to get a message out – nothing political, in spite of accusations made by NancyOnNorwalk readers.

Phones rang all over Norwalk just hours after a much-publicized Democratic mayoral candidates debate. Incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Moccia was on the other end of the phone, announcing the city’s imminent switch to single-stream recycling.

At the time, there were severe-weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service and rain was falling steadily, all connected to what had been Tropical Storm Andrea.

A letter to the editor appeared on these pages within minutes. Reader “MWard” said he assumed the Notify Norwalk (also called Code Red) alert concerned a flood warning. “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,” he wrote.

Kathy Gallagher agreed. “The use of Code Red for single stream recycling is inappropriate,” she wrote. “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.”

Moccia said Tuesday that he had no motivation other than getting the word out about the new recycling program.

“Notify Norwalk is not just for emergencies but for important public announcements,” he said in an email to NancyOnNorwalk. “I wanted the message out; not sure the day of week makes a difference. When we have a change in our recycling program that will affect over 30,000 homes, this was the most efficient method of communication. Also we have a contract that allows us virtually unlimited minutes, so there is no extra cost.”

The recycling program, part of City Carting’s 10-year contract to pick up Norwalk’s garbage, begins July 1. City Carting was set to begin distributing the new 65-gallon bins for single-stream recycling Monday, Moccia said, another reason to make the call Friday. It was important to get the word out so people would not use them prematurely.  If they do, he said, their recyclable materials will not be picked up.

City officials were recently involved in a public relations nightmare. Residents of the neighborhood near Norwalk Hospital who normally have their garbage picked up Monday put their cans and bags out Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day, following the pattern some said they have known for decades, expecting their garbage to be picked up one day late. Instead, the garbage sat outside for days in 90 degree heat, resulting in angry phone calls to City Hall.

City Carting’s deal with the city provides for holiday pickups to me made the following Saturday. After a deluge of phone calls from residents, city officials got the trash picked up one day early and promised to rethink the situation.

One NancyOnNorwalk commenter made reference to that incident.

“The Code Red System is in place to notify the public of emergency information use only,” Norwalk Dinosaur said. “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!”

Moccia said in a Tuesday email that the day of the week had nothing to do with it.

“No matter what date I did it, people will perceive what they will,” he said. “All I did was to notify people that new bins would be delivered and what to do. There was nothing more behind it.”


14 responses to “Moccia: No politics involved in NotifyNorwalk call about recycling”

  1. LWitherspoon

    Nice to see the Mayor speaking to you again.
    Was there any answer to the question of why the Mayor’s voice has to be on the recording and not the voice of an unnamed DPW employee?

  2. rburnett

    Oh Puleeze!!! Just after the Democratic candidates had their debate, the Mayor had to get his voice into every household and he said it was a coincidence!! And LWitherspoon, you are right on target. Why did it have to be Moccia? Could it not have been Alvord?? Moccia may think the voters of Norwalk are fools, but he is only fooling himself.

  3. 0ldtimer

    They don’t call it th silly season for nothing. If Moccia expects anybody to beleieve there was no political motive involved, he must think the Norwalk voters are not too bright.

  4. Al Raymond

    Mr. Moccia & I don`t see eye to eye a lot of the times but this time I stand with him. After what happened over the Memorial Day garbage mix up he needed to make people feel as if he is in control of things this is one way of showing he is.

  5. M. Murray’s

    Why not the mayor??? Glad to be informed about the bin I received today. Much ado about nothing.

  6. spanner

    So many examples I have only touched upon a few but think back and how the mayor has and hasn’t used the robo call

    Its absurd to think after huge fires at Lajois and not once a call to alert those of toxic chemicals last fire took almost 20 minutes to put water on,never did the fire dept decontaminate after the fire and yes no call.Some people after the last fire could smell toxics in their home it wasn’t until a month later did the State admit there was a toxic release.Must be nice to think for others and not call them to close windows or keep your children out of danger.

    School lockdowns from gunfire and voilence at schools never a call

    Shootings where suspects were clearly on the loose near bus stops at schools end and not one call.(Lincoln ave a few weeks ago on Toms watch)

    Water st bridge out once for days no calls

    many other times a call would of been great to alert those who were in danger and nothing.

    Free day at Lockwood would of been a great call but Moccia doesn’t love to give anything away without a vote.

    This was just another time when most heard his voice simply hung up no one who knows the King wants to listen to his crap so in other words a wasted call.

    Those emergencies at King Industries where was the call?The State and Feds have a plan to evacuate half the city in case of fire anyone give them Moccias number?

    Someone should simply explain to him there are those who can’t won’t and never will respect him for the way he has ruled.

    This system when the train accident happened would of been great but why suggest when it could of been used no ones home and the lights are on.

    I realy would hate to be a republican next election its like Romney running how can you honestly back a loser? Don’t vote at all if thats how you feel.

    Question for the day

    Did the police tag just Democrats cars today at city hall per request of mayor Moccia or did they ticket everyone?

  7. Tim T

    Well Old Timer You say “he must think the Norwalk voters are not too bright” He has every reason to think that as Norwalk Voters keep re-electing him no matter how badly he screws up..

  8. piberman

    Give the Mayor a break. The Hour’s sponsored “debate” with one minute allowed questions presented by publisher Valiente didn’t break new ground, the candidate’s similar platforms were predictable and the attendance modest sized. And even the criticisms of Mayor Moccia were fairly mild.

    Whether or not the Mayor’s phone call was “political” or not its no big deal and he does have a nice speaking voice. Surely there are more substantive topics to comment upon pro or con during the campaign than the phone call.

  9. spanner

    You are correct piberman, isn’t it about time the Mayors team start paying those stores for placement of the election signs?

    Last election some stores were paid more to place a sign in the window some suggested if your store was more of a bodega you got less as if you were a high end store in another part of the city.

    I respect your post but to deny a heads up on the quality of life during some emergencies that could of used a robo call this one was at best lame.

    Now the story is on those who have nice lots in nice areas of Norwalk are shocked when they see this big blue shed on wheels. They don’t want this thing outside where those shopping cart connoisseurs can now find your returns. Its going to get interesting Norwalk police has said for years there is no law against picking ones trash in Norwalk. This will entice more people to walk onto your property and help themselves because they can see this enormous container. Where are the details on what happens if this bucket gets stolen there is a market for these buckets nothing like the blue buckets? You can tell this whole system has been worked so City Carting can make some extra money.

    We all know who City Carting backs don’t we so I don’t think its all about the bin is it?

  10. Tim T

    I am afraid I see it differently as I consider the possible misuse of city funds a very big deal…

  11. EastNorwalkChick

    “Notify Norwalk is not just for emergencies but for important public announcements,” he said in an email to NancyOnNorwalk.”

    Then why did the call come up on my phone and TV id as “Code Red Norwalk” and not “Notify Norwalk”…am I missing something here?

  12. dc2

    Good thing it wasn’t an actual emergency, as I never received the call on either my home or cell phone!

  13. Broderick I. Sawyer

    What should the fire department have decontaminated after the fire?
    The Norwalk Fire Department will soon be distributing free smoke alarms to Norwalk residents in need of them.
    Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, including the basement.
    Now that message I do not mind hearing from anyone!

  14. Don’t Panic

    It’s interesting that he chose to promote single-stream recycling in advance of the bins being delivered on Monday. For months, the City’s public information on single stream recycling indicated those bins were going to be delivered in late May, early June. Apparently that never happened. A major change to garbage pickup that affects many residents?

    Why wasn’t it used to let everyone know about the ridiculous new yard waste pickup schedule that requires you to leave bundles of branches or bins with branches out on the sidewalk from Sunday night for the WHOLE WEEK so DPW can send people around to pick it up when the guys “aren’t doing something else”.

    It seems that now we have privatized garbage, nobody has to meet a deadline or inform us when one is missed.

    BTW, it should be noted that that “unlimited” minutes plan was purchased after Hurricane Irene nearly shutdown the sewage treatment plant and the city had no minutes left in the plan that year to warn residents. The effectiveness of an emergency notification program will become diluted if used for routine announcements and especially so if people perceive it to be used for political advantage.

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