Norwalk campaign notes: Mistaken Hispanic identity

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This Mangiacopra campaign mailer has gotten a poor review from Norwalk Common Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-District D), who is running as a Republican-endorsed candidate for a council at-large seat.


NORWALK, Conn. – The mailers are out for Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidates, some making bold statements, either verbally or with imagery, some drawing an intense response.

Here’s a sampling from the campaigns of Matt Miklave and Vinny Mangiacopra:

Oops, not a Democrat

Brookside resident Dawn Calle said she was surprised to have a Norwalk’s Future Now worker come to her door with a Mangiacopra mailer. Calle said the woman told her the city has Calle registered as a Democrat. She is not.

“I wrote in my party affiliation as ‘Right to Life on Principle,’” Calle said in an email. “I know it does not exist. But I am in no way a Dem, if anything a conservative.”

The woman came to see Calle because she thought the would-be Dem is Latino, according to Calle.

“She knew nothing about Vinny,” Calle wrote. “She could not answer a single question. She was shocked when I told her I was right to life. Only that he is doing a lot for Spanish people. He works with Peña, who was in one if the pics in the ad. They were targeting a Spanish audience and they might just get it.”

In a follow-up email, Calle said she had some fun pumping the campaign volunteer for information about Mangiacopra.

“All she could say was he does a lot for Spanish people,” Calle wrote. “I said that the Spanish voters are not much. Most of the Hispanic are illegals. She smiled and realized that it was time to go.”

Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said Calle is registered as unaffiliated.

Norwalk’s Future not

Calle was given a Mangiacopra flier that shows a photo of the youthful candidacy under a photo of the 70-year old Republican incumbent, Mayor Richard Moccia. She was unimpressed, but Common Councilman Bruce Kimmel, a Democrat who has been caucusing with the Republicans and was nominated for a council at-large seat by the local GOP, had plenty to say about the mailer in a Facebook post:

“Received a disgusting piece of mail today from the Mangiacopra campaign; the kind of mailing that goes out around the country — and which is much criticized by those who follow politics — but is somewhat new to Norwalk. The mailing, which is on a rather large piece of heavy duty paper, devotes one-fourth of its entire space to two juxtaposed pictures. One is a somber, tight lipped mug shot of Mayor Moccia with a background of dark clouds and the words, “More of the Same?” And below the Mayor is an equally large shot of a smiling Mr. Mangiacopra, from the waste up, with the word, “Or…” What are we supposed to take away by this — that people in their thirties are better than people in their sixties? That older folks are mean, and younger folks are nice? No wonder one of the four Democratic mayoral candidates is actually campaigning against the dysfunctional leadership, of which Mangiacopra is a member, of his own party. Norwalk politics used to be much better than this.”

“We have met the enemy, and he is us”

Common Councilman Matt Miklave has drawn condemnation from one NancyOnNorwalk commenter for his “Putting Norwalk First” mailer, which went out last week, bearing his promise to reform the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee.

“I will reform the Democratic Party and end the back room deal making that puts special interests ahead of the public interest,” Miklave says in a “letter to Democrats” in his mailer. “I’m willing to put in the hard work, bust down the walls and toss out the insiders that are currently running Norwalk, and the Norwalk Democratic Party, into the ground.”

Miklave finishes his statement with a promise to send Democratic Party insiders and the Republican administration packing.

Won’t the councilman need those party insiders if he wins the primary?

Miklave said in a phone call that he is unperturbed.

“I’ve been in town for 22 years. I’ve watched the Democratic Party both from the outside and the inside. You have to keep in mind, we have won two city-wide elections in the last 26 years. Those elections ended when the administration basically imploded and was defeated after four years. The question is why did that happen? I do think I have a view of why it happened, having been quote -purged – unquote, from the party several times because of different reasons.”

Norwalk needs to build a different Democratic Party, he said.

“The Democratic Party I know is based on inclusion, it’s based on diversity. It’s based on openness. It’s based on respect and dignity. I just haven’t seen that in the Democratic Party operation in Norwalk over the last years. I think it is time for a change. I do believe that there’s overwhelming support for that view among Democrats. Not necessarily among party insiders, the people who hold power, but among Democrats.”

It’s commonly thought that the Norwalk DTC is dysfunctional, he said.

“You hear that everywhere you go in the state of Connecticut and I think you hear that everywhere you go to talk to Norwalk Democrats that aren’t totally involved.”

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Matt Miklave’s latest mailer.


7 responses to “Norwalk campaign notes: Mistaken Hispanic identity”

  1. Molly Henery

    Why is there no mention of Rilling’s mail? Rilling’s mailers seem to be copying the other campaigns because he has no message.
    I also would like to point out how hard volunteers for all campaigns work and I do not think it is tasteful to write about how a voter “had some fun” putting a volunteer on the spot. Obviously this volunteer went to the wrong door because of an error on a list and Calle would not have been polite no matter who the volunteer was working for.The mailers of Mangiacopra are not pointing out the “age” issue, but in highlighting the “old boys club” that exsists now. Miklave’s mail seems to be focusing on this issue as well.

  2. Don’t Panic

    I think I’m the commenter that posted “We have met the enemy and he is us.” But it was about Mr. Watts’ exploratory challenging Rep. Perone.

    Editor’s note: Great minds think alike.

  3. Norwalk Dinosaur

    @BruceKimmel the noble, moral compass for all of us to follow. Thanks @BruceKimmel for showing us the light. Thanks @BruceKimmel for being the vindictive, sore loser, hurt feelings candidate who is now unabashedly backing Mayor Moccia, the man truly responsible for running our City into the ground. I’m glad that @BruceKimmel is so worried about pictures on flyers now, and not issues. Who has really lost the way?

  4. Nora King

    Hi Nancy,

    I am a big support of you but is this journalism? What type of article is this? I don’t even understand the door knocking story.

    I give Matt and Vinny credit – they are getting their message out. Rilling has said nothing new and doesn’t have his own viewpoints or thoughts. Though I support Vinny at least Matt has a platform.
    I do not understand this entire article.

    Nora King

  5. YourDaddy

    Vinny’s supporters shouldn’t be so sensitive, especially after the kid puts out a packaged campaign that could just as easily be used for Ernie Newton’s next run in Bridgeport. Only 6 more days until we can stop reading about he boy wonder.

  6. Piberman

    So far its 4 flyers from the former Chief – “One Norwalk Together”, 3 flyers from “Norwalk’s Future Now” and 9 flyers from Attorney Miklave. Only Attorney Miklave mentions budgets, budget reform, housing values and taxes pledging no tax increase. And replacing the DTC. At least one candidate judging from the flyers has actually thought about what he’d like to job if elected. For Norwalk Democrats this is very encouraging promising a serious campaign.

  7. LWitherspoon

    Surprised to hear you say that after Nancy on Norwalk’s revelation that Attorney Miklave told the DTC in a candidate questionnaire that “I believe the public will support the level of taxes necessary to tackle the challenges we face.”
    Miklave does say more in his mailers than the other candidates, although they’ve all set the bar quite low in that regard. The problem is that Miklave says a lot of things. If you’re a teacher looking for a raise, he’ll bloviate in favor of more money for schools. If you’re a union worker protesting outsourcing because you don’t want to lose your job, he’ll bloviate against outsourcing. (In the process he’ll also condemn the cost of the new Fire Station, even though he voted for it.) If you’re a group of cyclists looking for more bike lanes, he’ll pander that he’s personally wiling to paint them.
    As always, the devil is in the details. Nancy on Norwalk asked Attorney Miklave to provide just one example of budget cuts that could be instituted to save money in a Miklave administration. Miklave refused, saying it wouldn’t be fair without looking at the whole budget. He has been on Common Council for eight years, voting on city budgets the entire time, but he can’t identify a single spending reduction in the budget? Yet he’s sending around multiple mailers promising $7 million in savings from Performance Based Budgeting! Such double-talk and gamesmanship is an insult to the intelligence of every Norwalk voter.

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