Moccia says his heart is in golf game now, not political slam game

Former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, right,
Former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, right, speaks to the press Friday as Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, left, and congressional candidate Dan Debicella listen.

NORWALK, Conn. – Dick Moccia says he’s retired, that’s it. No mayoral aspirations, no sirree.

This in spite of comments from an experienced and close-to-NoN community observer that Moccia, whose 8-year reign as Norwalk mayor ended last year at the hands long-time Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling, was plotting a move to return to the office to the City Hall office where his Yankees memorabilia used to be on display.

“I am not going to run for mayor. I can’t make it any clearer than that, but I am not running for mayor,” Moccia said, Friday, as he stood next to Senate Minority Leader John McKinney after speaking at a high profile press conference promoting congressional aspirant Dan Debicella.

Moccia said he’s enjoying himself, and pulled out his phone to show a photo of a golf ball very close to the cup, which Moccia said was quite a shot. Moccia said he’s going to London and will visit Normandy.

“If I were going to run for mayor I would have been out there on a lot of issues,” Moccia said. “If you notice, you haven’t seen me at meetings. I was with Christie in Trumbull, I’ve been with John – Senator – on a few other things and with Timmy Herbst up in Hartford. I am going around trying to help Republicans to help turn the state around, but as far as running again, no.”

Harold Cobin asked Moccia if he could get state Rep. Larry Cafero to run for mayor.

“John has worked with him a lot closer over the years than I have,” Moccia said, with a laugh.

“Let me tell you something,” McKinney said. “Larry and I talk a lot. We both have more smiles on our faces these days than we usually do. That’s usually the way it works as ex-legislators.”

“I’m not going to speak for Larry Cafero, what he’s going to do,”  Moccia said.

“It would be great,” McKinney said.

“It would be great,” Moccia said. “I think he could do a great job, but he might also want to be a great judge and he might want to go down that road. You don’t know.”

Moccia referred to the “mosque and other issues.”

“I sort of take the George Bush philosophy, you know, with Obama,” Moccia said. “Harry is the mayor now. Anything I come out sounds like sour grapes. So I haven’t been to anything to say anything.”

“Dan Malloy doesn’t take that philosophy. He’s still blaming Jodi Rell,” McKinney said.

“The only thing I say is I sort of look at some things that are going on – I remember when Dinkins beat Ed Koch, and ‘well, the people will be punished,’” Moccia said. “But that was Koch, not me.”


19 responses to “Moccia says his heart is in golf game now, not political slam game”

  1. Suzanne

    Sly guy. Heaven help us. And please give others’ a change to fix all of the things you were so good at breaking. (Whoa, Nellie, folks, I am not saying EVERYTHING, just the important ones like urban development, maintenance, Developer prejudiced Zoning Regulations, etc.)

  2. Tony P

    Wish him the best – the new mayor is certainly good at posing in front of projects that Moccia got moving (Ironworks, SoNo Pearl, Waypointe, etc)

  3. Lisa Thomson

    Tony P – ALL politicians are good at posing in front of the cameras and have been doing so since the beginning of photography. No need to single Harry out 🙂

  4. WOW just WOW

    I was no fan of Moccia, however I would vote for him in a heart beat over Rilling. Mayor Rilling is coming up on his one year anniversary (half of his term is over) and has accomplish ZERO. Its time that the ones the were fooled by Rilling admit this and stop with the excuses. We need change ASAP in the Mayors office.

  5. Lisa Thomson

    WOW – what change do you want to see in the Mayor’s office? Per our City Charter – it is the Common Council – 15 individuals, who are ‘in charge’ of our city. Yes, there is a mayor and countless boards and commissions appointed by mayors from both parties, but at the end of the day, the Common Council has to approve most appointments. It would seem that ‘nobody’ is really in charge of Norwalk, which is perhaps why it is so hard to get anything done or to hold anyone accountable. Perhaps that is the objective?

  6. WOW just WOW

    The Mayor is the chief executive. It is his job to influence the Common Council. Rilling leads from behind as Mayor, much the same has he did as chief. He takes a stand on nothing. Its time the excuses stop from his supporters and they admit they made a mistake.

  7. Suzanne

    Wow, examples please, pro and con. Anyone can say, “He leads from behind.” And “He takes a stand on nothing.” To be fair (if that is what you want to be), you might want to give more accurate specifics. Also, please share with us what you have accomplished in one year that would specifically imply your opinion of Mr. Rilling, in serving the community, has not done anything.


    I tend to agree with wow just wow. I would challenge you to give examples of what your Mayor Rilling has accomplished. That does not include what was started during the Moccia administration. Also please give us examples one case where Mayor Rilling took a stand and was a leader.
    It looks like Mayor Rilling will be a one term Mayor.. Thank God

  9. Suzanne

    Turn about is not fair play in this case, The Truth. If you see my response to Wow Just Wow, you will see I ask for examples of his statements that are specific, both pro and con. Likewise to you. General statements with no support are likely not to be very interesting in terms of an argument for or against Mayor Rilling.


    So you cannot give any examples of Mayor Rillings accomplishments or of him taking a stand and showing leadership. I figured you would not be able to as they don’t exist.

  11. Suzanne

    The Truth, I did not make the initial contentions. WOW did. The onus is on you twp to provide and qualify statements.

  12. Oldtimer

    Takes any mayor a long time, by way of appointments, to assemble a team that works the way he wants. Give Harry time, he is making progress.

  13. rburnett

    Best thing for Rilling is if Moccia would run again. The people spoke loud and clear the last election. This time around the slaughter would be much greater. Dump Moccia and bring in new vision. Look at the results. Rilling has cleaned up so many messes left behind by Moccia that it has been difficult getting much else done. But look at the progress with so many things that he has done.

  14. independent voice

    Recently, I came across former Mayor Esposito’s letter to Norwalk citizens (circa 1997 -1998) and thought I’d share. I became nostalgic after reading it given how much taxpayers and the city’s grand list have suffered under current administrations. The disciplined approach to taxes and spending contained in the letter is exactly what is needed for the city and should be a must read for all current and future mayoral candidates and administrations.

    Here is the letter:

    “Dear Fellow Norwalker:

    As we begin the budget process last Fall my administration sought to build upon its achievement of four consecutive years without a tax increase by extending this mark by one year. In November the Charter revision was approved which among other things provided the Common Council with the ability to establish a budgetary cap. As a result of this additional Council authority, my administration and the Board of Estimate and Taxation embarked on a collaborative effort with the Council that culminated in the adoption of a budget that preserves the string of fiscal years in which taxes have remained flat.

    As part of our continued effort to constrain taxes the adopted budget contains the reduction of thirty budgeted positions excluding education, police and fire services. Over the last ten years, the City’s non-education and non-sworn personnel have been reduced from 523 positions to 360 representing a decrease of 163 positions or 31%. My administration, will continue to work on improving services while searching for ways to reduce costs and enhance non-tax services.

    I have once again provided an illustration of how your local tax dollars are spent as outlined in the table on the reverse side of this letter. This example is based upon an average residential tax bill in the fourth service district. In reviewing the allocation, you will notice that approximately 73% or $2,419 of your dollars will be used to provide police, fire and education services.

    In my past letters I have argued that if we were successful in holding the line on taxes Norwalk citizens would reap the benefits through an expanding grand list. This strategy is beginning to pay dividends as evidenced by the City’s recent grand list growth. In addition, the City continues to attract new businesses and jobs while retaining many of our existing enterprises.

    In closing, I am proud to report that, as evidenced by our strong bond rating, Norwalk continues to be financially solid and that by working together as a community we can successfully address any challenge. It has been a privilege to serve you as Mayor and I look forward to serving you in the future. As always, I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.

    Thank you for your continued support and assistance.

    Very truly yours,
    Frank J. Esposito

    The letter also reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a senior and current resident here. She recently decided to rent instead of remain in her home despite facing a nearly $150,000 capital loss on her property. She mentioned her breaking point and decision to sell came after a visit to city hall where she inquired about her multi-year rising tax bill despite no appreciation on her property. In so many words what she was told, “Do you know how we determine taxes in Norwalk? We simply look at what we need and raise everyone’s taxes to cover and you should always expect your taxes to increase.” I sympathized for her and wondered what her destiny would have been had the prudent and fiscally responsible approach to taxes and spending that Norwalk once had would have carried over to modern times. Unfortunately, her plight and many other long-time seniors here are struggling to remain in their homes as spending and taxes continue to loom out of control

    Thank you Mayor Esposito.

  15. RU4REEL

    Harry handled the hot button mosque situation, which he inherited. He did not comment when it was inappropriate, and did what he said he would, let the legal system handle it and worked behind the scenes (leading from behind folks).
    My understanding was he also fought to make sure the Riverboat Captain didn’t get over on us, again behind the scenes.
    If he takes credit for these two instances, he gets blamed for taking the credit. Bottom line is not everyone will be happy, no matter what he does. That’s politics!

  16. WOW just WOW

    I am here laughing hysterically at the excuses being made by the ones that voted for Rilling…Odd how not one of them can state even one accomplishment that he has made. The reason is simple he hasn’t accomplished a thing. In the real world as in the private sector it would be great if you could tell your boss , I have only been on the job a year why would you want me to accomplish anything.
    Half his term is over…How long before the sheep admit they elected someone that is in the running to be worst than Knopp as Mayor.

  17. WOW just WOW

    You state
    “Rilling has cleaned up so many messes left behind by Moccia”

    Please provide us this list
    thank You

  18. Suzanne

    While I appreciate the memorable letter from Mayor Esposito and the quandary older people are in to pay their taxes (the response by the staff at Norwalk City Hall was not only disrespectful but decidedly unhelpful), what I remember is Mr. Esposito keeping taxes down during his terms for re-election and then those same taxes shooting up out of necessity for the lack of needed resources by City Government under his watch. So, while it may seem he did a lot to keep costs down and probably did, it was not helpful ultimately to the consumer – home owners, because in order to keep himself in office, he artificially depressed the natural order of incremental increases and, instead, left a lot of home owners with much larger tax bills after his tenure.

  19. WOW just WOW

    Please tell me that you are not attempting to spin the mosque situation, which cost the taxpayer almost 2 Million as an example of Harry’s leadership.
    As far as the Riverboat Captain, maybe you are not aware but we have had 2 or 3 near riots on the riverboat in the last few month. Yes another great example of Harry’s leadership.

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