Moccia’s swan song: warm remarks and a fowl ordinance

NORWALK, Conn. – Mayor Richard Moccia’s years in the council chamber came home to roost Tuesday with a series of chicken and egg jokes and a reference to an unlikely bromance.

The accolades came from all sides — from almost all sides — in Moccia’s last council meeting. Moccia was thanked for his years of service, as were outgoing Common Council members Carvin Hilliard, Matt Miklave and Fred Bondi. Sarah Mann was also thrown a bouquet of respect. This amongst laughter inspired by an ordinance to ban roosters from Norwalk.

Moccia lost his re-election bid last week to former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling.

“I now will have an opportunity to move on and do some other things that I’d like to do in life,” he said. “Maybe actually teach a little bit and, I don’t know, impart some of my wisdom, for whatever that’s worth, to the people who really count the most to me.”

The best part of being mayor, other than working with City Hall staff, was all the time he spent in Norwalk Public Schools, making an impression on children, he said. Then he made reference to Councilman David Watts (D-District A), who, in his first council meeting two years ago, called Moccia “arrogant.” Watts went on to criticize the city’s purchase of a new vehicle for the mayor with a rap video that got under the mayor’s skin.

“The students in the city knew they had a mayor that cared about them,” Moccia said. “That will be my lasting memory, other than a few interesting meetings here and a few rap videos – we since have gotten by that, we’ve had a great second year. Maybe David and I will do a rap video asking everybody to come together one of these days.”

Watts, who has formed an exploratory committee to run for state representative, took the opportunity to compliment Moccia.

“When I first got on the council we didn’t agree,” he said of his initially contentious relationship with Moccia. “He was able to settle down a little bit by being a gentleman. Called us into his office and he reached out. I would like to thank Mayor Moccia because I honestly believe he did the best job that he could with lack of funding coming from the state.”

Watts also thanked Hilliard, Miklave and Bondi for mentoring him.

Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) lauded Moccia.

“I truly want to thank you for the job that you’ve done,” he said. “I think you have put the city in a good financial state. I don’t think people realize sometimes how tough that these times were. A lot of us were trying to deal with the facts and figures that were there. You did not make any easy decisions but you made hard decisions.”

Moccia's last council meeting 111213 003
Common Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large), center, wishes outgoing Common Councilman Carvin Hilliard (D-District B), right, well at the end of the council meeting.

Hempstead complimented Bondi and predicted that some of the younger outgoing council members would be back. He said he thought that only he and Hilliard had served the entire eight years with Moccia. There was an awkward pause when Councilman Nick Kydes (R-District C) mentioned that he, too, had served all eight years with Moccia.

Kydes endorsed Rilling in the election with a series of pointed criticisms of Moccia. No one thanked Kydes for his service, though the atmosphere remained convivial.

Hilliard was the first to call Moccia a “gentleman.”

“Oftentimes, we didn’t always agree,” he said. “In fact, there were a few times we didn’t agree. He was never disagreeable. … I would just like to say thanks because he was never overly critical of me, at least not publicly. So I’d just like to give him props while he’s here. He’s been a gentleman.”

Bondi, who has been on the council on and off for 28 years, and Moccia went to high school in Stamford together, though Bondi is older. Bondi said he didn’t know Moccia well then, but occasionally gave him a ride to school.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen but I’m going out with my friend Dick Moccia,” he said. “We go back at least 50 years, with school. It’s just something that we’re going out together. It’s really a tough thing to finish up after all these years on the council.”

Bruce Kimmel said he had enjoyed sitting next to Mann, who did not win election as a District C representative. Mann was appointed to replace Joanne Romano last January, after Romano resigned.

“I have never seen anyone learn the ropes so quickly,” he said. “We’re going to miss her. I enjoyed having somebody I could joke around with when I was kind of losing my focus at some of these meetings. She was very nice.”

So the biggest thing on the agenda, discussion wise, was the chicken ordinance.

Michael Geake, who was also in his last council meeting, said a resident complained about a neighbor’s chickens. It boiled down to a problem with the noise roosters make.

The ordinance passed with one nay vote, by Miklave (Anna Duleep was not present).

If you have roosters now, no problem. If you want to get roosters in the future, you’re out of luck.

The issue opened the barn door for some shell-cracking quips from Moccia in his final meeting as mayor.

“My final thing, I’m doing roosters,” Moccia said, shaking his head and laughing.

Kimmel said raising chickens has become popular but there was nothing on the books to address that situation.

“The issue with roosters was very funny,” he said. “Some of the things you deal with on the council – you don’t really expect to get into them but the last two years for me, I’ve learned a lot about beekeeping and raising chickens. I’m really not that interested in budgets and stuff anymore because I want to focus on things that are living.”

“I did get emails from the chickens complaining there wouldn’t be roosters anymore,” Moccia said. “But other than that I haven’t had a great outpouring of opposition to that.”


8 responses to “Moccia’s swan song: warm remarks and a fowl ordinance”

  1. nwkprobate

    And so long to that nasty Bob Maslan. Good riddance!

  2. Joe Espo

    And so long to Nick “Judas” Kydes. After all the time he spent on the council, no one has anything nice to say about him. Good! He deserves what he didn’t get.

  3. EDR

    Really? So much for civility Nwkprobate. Bob certainly is not warm and fuzzy but he worked hard at his job and did the best he could for the city of Norwalk. That counts for a lot in business or politics. By the way a more loving family guy you would never meet.

    On a different note not surprised Nick Kydes was completely ignored by his Republican and Democrat colleagues. It is amazing what happens when you lose respect from both sides of the aisle- abandoning your core principals only to get used by the opposition. Good luck to him in his business career. Hopefully he will take his lessons learned and apply them.

  4. Daisy

    So true about Kydes. Wish they’d tackled that chicken issue for I had neighbors in back – I had to remind the health director every week to go check and make sure they were keeping the smell down. We got rid of the rooster PDQ tho -pretty obvious they broke his neck and probably ate him for dinner.

  5. Betsy Wrenn

    I would gratefully trade the crow of a rooster for the daily howling din and stink of leaf blowers: Any time the weather is beautiful is a good time to haul out the leaf blower and spend a couple of hours blasting the yard. Several of our neighbors have every inch of their properties blasted weekly year round. Moonlighters come far too many Sundays and holidays, or at dinner time on a sleepy summer day.

    The exhaust and filth that drifts over our patio and through open windows is disgusting – a fine dust of pesticides, fertlizer, dessicated animal feces, molds, and whatever else is lying on the ground, gets whipped into the leaf blower’s 200 mph hurricane force winds.

    Here is what health advocate Dr. Andrew Weil has to say about leaf blowers:

    When it comes to really bad ideas, the leafblower ranks right up there with adding lead to gasoline and using CFCs in aerosols. Even if the claims promoters make for them were true, the damage leafblowers do outweighs such meager benefits by many, many orders of magnitude.

    Using these hideously noisy, highly polluting machines on sidewalks and driveways is bad enough. Turning them on lawns and gardens, beneath shrubs, between hedges, and around the trunks of trees, is irrational. Unless, that is, the people who are doing it are landscape professionals, in which case it is negligent, almost to the point of criminal.

    Leafblowers literally scour the earth: stripping off topsoil, desiccating roots, and killing vital soil-dwelling organisms, while, at the same time, propelling into the air clouds of dirt, dust and dangerous contaminants: volatile compounds, mold and fungal spores, weed seeds, insect eggs, pollen, molecules of the myriads of toxic chemicals people spray and sprinkle on their gardens, trees, and lawns, not to mention bird and rodent feces, and more.

    (Link to article: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART02059)

    Anyone who wants to join me in urging Norwalk’s new Common Council and Mayor to consider a ban on leaf blowers from Memorial Day to Labor Day – as other communities have done – or AT LEAST ban their use on Sundays and holidays – please write me at [email protected].

  6. Joe Espo

    Observation: never have seen a NON pic of Moccia with as friendly an affect as this, unlike Rilling who was visually purposed institutionally by NON as jolly St. Nick. I suppose we can cut the vanquished some slack for the sake of ersatz objectivity; right NON?

  7. Eddie

    Er, hey Joe, don’t watch much on youtube, do ya? Are you really trying to make something out of absolutely nothing? Suppose reporters are supposed to ask for a pose now, huh? Say Cheese, HOLD IT.Ok just two more for bracketing, say CHEESE, HOLD IT, ok one more, lol. Incredible. If NON had a cartoonist you could really tear up the terra firma, couldnt ya Joe? lol.

  8. TG

    Yes, Betsy!!!! Yes yes and yes! I have been exploring how to go about such a ban for several months! I will contact you. According to Sperlibg’s Best Places, Norwalk’s air quality rating is a 7 out of 100. We must begin to deal with the excessive use of these machines. I have no problem with using them for leaves, but a huge problem with lawn tidying. The noise and pollution is really unsettling.

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