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Norwalk Democrats split on racial lines when it comes to Rilling

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A) confer at a January 2014 committee meeting in City Hall, two months after Rilling took office.

NORWALK, Conn. — With the 2015 local elections looming, fissures in Norwalk’s Democratic Party are becoming more pronounced. The Democratic Town Committee remains firmly behind Mayor Harry Rilling, but Democratic Common Council members are split along racial lines, with members of the unofficial, so-called Black Caucus voicing unhappiness with the city’s top elected official.

While David Watts (D-District A) said he doesn’t know Mayor Harry Rilling well and they are not friends, Eloisa Melendez (D-District A), John Kydes (D-District C), John Igneri (D-District E) and Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) describe a good working relationship with Rilling.

Phaedrel “Faye” Bowman (D-District B) said that she, Watts, Travis Simms (D-District B) and Sharon Stewart (D-At Large) have not been consulted on issues that affect their constituents.

Last week, Nancy On Norwalk asked Watts a series of questions stemming from the last Council meeting, where Watts, Simms, Stewart and Bowman voted against Rilling and Finance Director Thomas Hamilton’s recommended 2015-16 operating budget.

Watts said he voted against the budget out of concern for his constituents. “I am a Democrat but I have to make sure that I answer to my constituents first, to make sure that when they have issues that they’re being addressed. I would like to have a relationship with the city in the event that when things get broken then we can get things done,” said Watts, who is in his fourth year as a Council member.

The question-and-answer session continued:

Q: What do you mean by relationship?

A: We want to make sure that things are moving, sometimes things are really slow.

Q: Wouldn’t having a good relationship with the mayor it help to get things done for your constituents?

A: The mayor and I, obviously we don’t know each other that well. We are not friends. My thing is – who wouldn’t want to have a good relationship with the mayor? He’s the mayor. No one chooses to be an adversary of the mayor. You want to be on a great relationship with the mayor. You would like to pick up the phone and call the mayor and have the mayor really try to work with you. Everybody wants that.

Q: People say they have never seen a Council member take on a mayor that’s in their own party before.

A: Yeah. For me, I would challenge anybody. I challenged Mayor Moccia. At the end, he sat down with me, he was, ‘Hey listen, I want to work with you to improve your community.’

Moccia did not return an email asking for confirmation of Watts’ version of the alleged conversation.

“I’d like to make one phone call to DPW or the mayor and send them an email and say, ‘Hey, I have an issue,’ and it can be dealt with, not in a way that is underhanded or sneaky but in a way that a Council member has to be able to do their job with very little resources,” Watts said.

Last week, Watts posted a satirical photo on his private Facebook page. One of his Facebook friends sent it to NoN.

The post showed Pinocchio with an elongated nose, and the words, “Harry Rilling has potential.” As a caption, Watts wrote, “Tonight, the Black Caucus voted against the capital budget. Why? Harry Rilling continues to neglect the urban core.”

Q: You say that you need to have a good relationship with the mayor. Does putting a picture of  Pinocchio out there and (mocking) the mayor … help?

A: The Pinocchio thing was meant to be funny, shared amongst my friends, and it was just something that I just threw out there to just say look. It’s a conversation, it’s a joke. It wasn’t meant to be malicious or anything like that. It was just a joke. It was a thing that you do among your Facebook friends. Now I understand that as an elected official that whatever I put out can be newsworthy so I have to be a little bit more careful.

The photo was also on Twitter, visible to anyone, at 10:32 p.m. after the Council meeting, without the caption. Former Democratic mayoral candidate Vinny Mangiacopra responded, “That ‘you have potential’ line from the Geiko commercial … hysterical. @DAngeloWatts out did himself with that one.  #norwalk”

“Love it!” Simms replied, and retweeted it.

“I don’t know Harry,” Watts said. “I’ve served with him and I don’t know him. I knew him very briefly when I worked in the mayor’s office (during the Alex Knopp administration). I used to see him come in here and there, but…”

“I am not going to get into a public debate with David,” Rilling said. “It’s up to him to explain why he said that. I try my best to work with everybody, regardless of party, to try to make things good for Norwalk. That’s why I was elected and that’s what I try to continue to do.”

NoN sent an email to all the other Democratic Council members, asking about their relationship with Rilling and sharing the comments from Watts. Stewart and Simms did not respond.

“The Mayor has and continues to work hard at building relationships with every Council member,” Kydes wrote. “It’s unfortunate but some have shut the door on his efforts since day one. For reasons they describe as political. I am personally proud to call Mayor Rilling my friend and I know that if others gave him a chance, they would see the same kind and giving man that I’ve gotten to know.”

“Having served on the council for a year and half, I do feel like I know the mayor,” Melendez wrote. “I would also consider him a friend. I think we’ve been able to work well together because we have a mutual respect for each other.  I’ve expressed before that I was nervous about how I would be treated by my colleagues, given my age when I was first elected. Mayor Rilling has always treated me with respect not only as a councilwoman but as person. He has always made time to hear my concerns and answer my questions and vice versa. That’s why I feel like I know him. I think I’ve been able to accomplish this because I believe if you want respect, you have to give it. You get in return what you give.”

“I think that there are things the Mayor could do differently in terms of asking Councilman Simms, Watts, Stewart, and myself what our needs are for our district instead of steam rolling ahead agendas and projects that either are not priorities or do not have widespread community support,” Bowman wrote. “The result is that no one is happy, not our constituents and not us. Had we been consulted, we would have been able to give informed feedback on whether or not certain decisions are a good idea or not and how it would be received by our constituents.”

Stewart is an At-Large Council member and does not have a district to represent.

“I am fully supportive of Harry Rilling as Mayor,” Igneri wrote. “He is available to all council members–both the D’s and the R’s. All you have to do is call him.   And his budget, which was approved with slight changes, is a good budget with one of the lowest tax increases the City has seen in years while still fully funding the BOE.”

“I’ve known Harry since 1997, when I was first elected to the Common Council,” Kimmel wrote. “We’ve always gotten along well, and over the years we’ve had a fair number of straightforward discussions on a variety of issues. Interestingly, during the 2013 campaign, even though I was on the Republican ticket, we bumped into each other several times while out knocking on doors. Those occasions were nice ‘breaks in the action’ as we shared campaign stories.

“Since his election, I think it’s fair to say he’s probably the most accessible Mayor I’ve ever served under,” Kimmel continued. “We communicate quite often, both electronically and in person. I am always surprised by his prompt replies to my queries. Also, I often copy him on emails to department heads or other city staff, and it’s nice to see his genuine concern with relatively small constituent issues.”

Kimmel said he served under mayors Esposito, Knopp, Moccia and Rilling. He also served with former Superintendent of Schools Sale Corda from 2005 to 2009 when he was a Board of Education member, he said.

“What I find particularly interesting about Mayor Rilling is his willingness to work closely with both Democrats and Republicans,” Kimmel wrote. “His door is open to both sides of the aisle; unfortunately, a few members of his own party are hesitant to walk through it with an open mind.”

Update, 2:05 p.m., Quote from John Igneri added. 

39 comments

Stephanie March 3, 2015 at 5:47 am

I’m curious to know if the self proclaimed ” Black Caucus” care about the rest of Norwalk? From what I’m hearing, they are incapable of working with anyone outside their race. It may be time to look for new candidates for the upcoming election.

SouthNorwalker March 3, 2015 at 6:38 am

I totally agree! I think it’s a disgrace the way Watts talks to Mayor Rilling and other members of the council. You and your black caucus don’t speak for all of your constituents, so please stop saying so. As for Simms, Stewart and Baumaum, please grow a backbone and speak for yourselves not let mr watts be your mouthpiece! Have you ever watched the replays of the meetings? You should,. if you are that unhappy. Resign and let someone else step up for the job!

LWitherspoon March 3, 2015 at 7:58 am

What specific acts by Rilling are Watts, Simms, Bowman, and Stewart unhappy about?

On which important issues did Rilling neglect to consult them?

The only specific criticism I can remember from Mr. Watts is his unhappiness with Rilling’s inaction on sidewalks, and an accusation that Rilling stole Watts’s idea to give underprivileged kids greater access to summer programs at the Maritime Aquarium.

piberman March 3, 2015 at 8:03 am

Mayor Rilling is one of the City’s more personable and approachable Mayors. Its unfortunate that he and the City is “burdened” with difficult members of his own Party who in their elected positions do not follow conventional protocols and behavior. Witness the behaviors of some Council members and the slanders of some BOE members against the BOE itself. Even though our Mayor largely serves in a ceremonial and administrative role he deserves the respect of every elected official. Especially by those who disagree with him. Its long past time for the DTC Chair to exert traditional “control” of errant Party elected officials.

Bruce Kimmel March 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

Good story.

Regarding constituent concerns: Sidewalks are an important issue in what is sometimes described as our urban core. And Mayor Rilling is the very first Mayor to call for a separate line item in the capital budget for sidewalk repair, and he backed that up with a recommendation of $1 million for fixing city sidewalks (not for footpath repair, which is a separate issue).

Mayor Rilling has also called for an increase in our road paving program from $5 million to $5.5 million a year. This is a big increase, and a step toward the $6 million a year the city needs to raise the overall condition of our roads to 80% in good condition, as determined by our consultants.

The Mayor has strongly supported fully funding the BOE budget request, and he required the city’s finance department to craft an operating budget with an extremely low tax increase.

Oldtimer March 3, 2015 at 10:47 am

There are politicians who work at serving their constituent’s interests and there are others who play at political theater. There are also a few, on the council, who do a little of both.

The so-called black caucus could be a force for achievement, if they adopted a few real goals and worked toward them. So far, the only goal seems to be recognition as a group. Now, they seem to have gotten the attention they crave. To prove they have some intent to serve the people that elected them, they need to do something a bit more positive than anything we have seen so far. It might be smart for them to require that Watts, their apparent spokesman, write down what he is planning to say well before a council meeting and give them a chance to read, and criticize, before he goes on, and on, with unscripted comments that serve no useful purpose beyond getting his name, and picture, in the media. Are the others in the “black caucus” being used only to stroke Watts’ ego ?

EastNorwalkChick March 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

“…I believe if you want respect, you have to give it. You get in return what you give.” Eloisa Melendez is very wise beyond her years, we’re very lucky to have someone like her on our Council. Wise words that Mr. Watts and the others on the “Black Caucus” should heed, it takes two people to build a working relationship, mutual respect is key.

John Kydes is correct, they shut the door from day one for any kind of working relationship with the Mayor and everyone on the Council. Why? Is this some kind of slick political move to garner points and favor for this cause of theirs that no one seems to know what it’s about? Who knows, and at this point who really cares…I think they have done more harm than good to their “Constituents”, (whomever they may be), to this unspecified cause of theirs and to the City of Norwalk.

Bill March 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Why do we need to have caucuses based on race? We are 1 city. No matter my race, I pay taxes and live in the city just as anyone else of any other race. We shouldn’t have different fiefdoms and representatives. Shame on Watts/Bowman/Sims for making this all about race.

Rid Racism March 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Last time I checked, I live in Norwalk in 2015, not Memphis in 1968.

We are not a color, religion or sexual preference. We are residents of Norwalk.

Those who choose to throw their racial agenda on us should be automatically barred from any public position immediately. For Mayor Rilling to allow for Watts to mention a Black Caucus, well, that’s unforgivable. He’s just as guilty for allowing racism to continue in our community.

Stop the circus and grab control of our city. If it isn’t corrected now, we will undoubtedly be referred to as Bridgewalk. Norwalk will be a memory.

piberman March 3, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Yes indeed John Hamlin has made a strong case for rejecting the Chamber’s call to extend Council terms to 4 years. Omitted from the discussion above is the role of the DTC Chair in encouraging Party “congeniality” and “togetherness”. Perhaps NON could interview Mr. Camacho on his views on Council behavior and attempts for improvement.
Long time residents know this isn’t the first time Council members have reached too far for “press attention”. What is different now is that the Democratic Party Chair and Democratic Town Committee appear not to have exerted their influence or attention on encouraging more collegial behaviors by Democratic Councilmen. Is this a sign that the Democratic Party is fractured far more than we realize ? Or is it just theatre for theatre’s sake to obtain press attention.
There is a cost of such bizzare behavior. Just as there is a cost to the bizzare behavior of Democratic BOE members claiming BOE discrimination some 6 months ago. The general public decreases not only its perception of public service but questions local governance, especially by Democratic leadership.
Meanwhile the Republicans remain quiet knowing that the feuding Democrats seeking attention in the press will only reduce their election chances next fall. Democrats have never in recent decades been in such disarray. What will it take for Mr. Camacho to stand up for the Party and demand an end to such ill considered behaviors ?
We now have a better sense of his silence 6 months ago in the BOE affair. Maybe Mr. Camacho will remain silent hoping that voters next fall apply some palliative medicine. Or maybe we now have a better picture of the City’s Democratic leadership. Mayor Rilling deserves better. And so do all of us.

Just saying March 3, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Wait a minute wasn’t Watts involved with that organization Acorn? What about allegation of voter fraud with them? Why so divisive with ourparty and with the citizens? No color or gender.. Stop it.

piberman March 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Lets do the maths. Some 6 months ago several Democratic BOE members charged the BOE with discrimination aka racism. Then we had the Ferguson incident and our esteemed NAACP President was quoted as being concerned of a “similar incident” in Norwalk. More recently the Fire Chief’s tenure is in doubt over minority hiring achievements. And now we have a “black caucus” in the Council with some difficult relations with other Council members and the Mayor. Is Norwalk’s governance becoming “more inclusive” ? Or just more “interesting” ? And the Republicans are so quiet. Going to be a “real good” election season ahead. Hold on.

Casey Smith March 3, 2015 at 10:07 pm

How sad is this?

I was floored when I read that Mr. Watts missed part of the budget presentation and then informed Mr. Hamilton he could read when Mr. Hamilton tried to fill in the missing information for him.

Now I’m hearing that Norwalk has a Black Caucus? Wow!

And Mr. Watts misses former Mayor Moccia??? I’m willing to bet Dick Moccia was more surprised than any of us.

Mr. Watts apparently became a Reagan Democrat in the voting booth. Surprise!!!

I gotta hand it to Mr. Kimmel for walking away from such theatrics. The Democratic caucuses must be quite a trip.

There’s an old saying about keeping one’s friend close and one’s enemies even closer. Mayor Rilling would be wise to take heed. At least he has the advantage of knowing where he stands in Mr. Watts’ estimation, so hopefully there wouldn’t be an “E tu, Brutus?” moment.

piberman March 4, 2015 at 9:34 am

More than a few residents were concerned that then candidate Rilling would focus his energies as Mayor upon the SoNo community that vigorously supported his election to the exclusion of other City constituents. Who would have imagined that a year later the real concern are the destructive behaviors of Democratic Councilmen representing those areas that so vigorously supported the Mayor ? And the stubborn reluctance of Democrat leaders, e.g. Sen. Duff and DTC Chair Camacho, to publicly admonish the errant Democatic Councilmen to adopt more seemly behaviors. Mayor Rilling and Norwalk itself are ill served by a dysfunctional Democratic Party leadership unable or unwilling to insist on collegial behaviors by some of its leading elected officials. Maybe they are more comfortable with GOP City leadership preferring the more comfortable minority role. No Mayor in recent history has aever had to deal with an out of control Party upon taking office. That is the ultimate irony for a Mayor who by sheer energy captured the office amidst a disorganized Party. Its beginning to look like “the past is prologue” here. Our once proud Democrats seem unable to demonstrate that they deserve and are truly capable of leading our City’s governance. Rather than point to the misbehaviors of a few why not ask “wither the leadership” ?

Joanna Cooper March 4, 2015 at 10:42 am

Piberman: well said.
Seems like Watts, Bowman and Sims have taken their cue from the three disgruntled BoE members. Scream to be heard using race and block progress in protest. I tend to agree with the comment by Rid Racism that the mayor himself has some responsibility in letting the issue of using racism get out of hand. It’s not surprising that he would now be attacked. He said nothing when the three attacked Mike Lyons with obviously bogus claims and let them get away with outrageous behavior. The council members are now claiming the essentially same thing: we don’t get listened to and consulted on their issues. Make an appointment!!!

Like many of the other commenters have suggested get an agenda together and a focus as to what needs to be done to make things better. Make it about the issues not about color. The general statement the budget doesn’t address the urban core….What does that mean? Specifics? It’s analogous to BoE crying racism but refusing to come to the table and have a discussion. They do more harm to their own then they realize. Be proactive, outline your concerns, come to the table with ideas and solutions not attacks.
Grow up. The Facebook Pinocchio is totally juvenile and inappropriate behavior for a council member. How does something like that help relations? You want to be a pilar of the community? Then act like one and represent your constituents with some dignity and behave in a way that doesn’t embarrass our city, earns you respect and allows people to take you seriously. Only then will you be doing a service to the ones you say you serve. Lastly, do not forget that one of the key ideas put forth by the founding fathers of our government is Compromise.

Eric Parrish March 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

The Council should come up with a charter revision to impeach council members and David Watts should be the first to go.

He is a hindrance to any real progress for the citizens of Norwalk. It has moved beyond the political party and now its dangerous. Having a loose cannon that has no real understanding of any issues that the council actually reside over is ludicrous.

It’s also mindboggling to know that he has the gall to disrespect the mayor and vote against the operating budget when he hasn’t even paid his own property tax.

DAVID! YOU’RE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION! YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

Mrs. Ruby McPherson March 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Why is it people who disagree with the other side is called dysfunctional,
when this area has been left out and has the most dirt companies because of these 13 zoning and grandfather in companies that should be changed. Not only this area seem to have the most low income and housing prisons(Monterey Village and Meadow Garden) and thats just what they are setup to be. Yes finally the sidewalks may get done who knows how thats going to work. Every group has a caucus, parade or even hall, except when it comes to the Black community we are being racist or discriminating. Like with the Naacp , why we have to have white members? If its a Black organization, or have that changed since we have so many bi-racial couples. For examples, Rilling has to work more with the Hispanic/Latinos because of his 2nd half, Crossland can’t really push for the Black people because of his 2nd half just to name a few.
All in all you can’t understand what a Black culture what/needs stole them away from their land and culture, American Indian, because you came and stole, their land and imprison them on what you call a reservation. So you want everyone to thing like the you!!!! We are trying to let you know what is wrong and how you should approach things because we are not going along with any and every things. Our community will no longer sit back and watch our community be over look. Our park need better play equipment yes, but not an egress running through it or a bike lane, so stop trying to make seem like this community don’t want anything done to Ryan Park. Build the apartments, take the egress in another direction and replace the play area equipment with swings and other fun things. Also make sure we can use it, and not locked out because of SoNCC trying to start after school and childcare, then it will have to be fenced and locked, federal guide line.

Rid Racism March 4, 2015 at 4:53 pm

@Nancy & Mark. I hope I’m allowed to say this, with free speech in the forefront. I feel so many people are thinking this, but everyone is afraid to say it. This isn’t antagonistic, but an honest assessment. Ruby elected to show a side of her vision on Caucasians and I feel it’s only appropriate to give my side on the black community.

@ Ruby:
It has been my hope for the better part of four generations to treat each and every person, regardless of race, religion and sexual preference, the same as an equal. My wife and I personally tend to help the black community more than any other race, as we believe that they simply have been given the short end of the stick. We have paid for college/university tuitions for those who have potential and help them succeed in life – all quietly and without the recognition.

With that, we also find that (some members of) the black community (are) rather lazy and (don’t) seem to want to climb out of poverty or their comfort level. These low income/socially challenged individuals seem to ruin everything provided to them, such as housing. You speak of “housing prisons,” which is a perfect segway to my next response. Fine, you want to call it a jail, I’ll allow that.

But tell me where or how these individuals are trying to get out of prison? They don’t. They sit in ‘prison’ and do nothing to help themselves. They destroy the property then complain to the city that it’s in shambles and needs renovation/replacement. And say we did oblige to this request… It will be a vicious cycle and simply destroy it again. If the parks & play equipment is renovated, that will be destroyed in no time. Why? Because it’s the lack of education and class your community was provided OR that they dropped out of school early. I’m not being mean or derogatory, rather, being truthful – and I feel really bad about that.

[…]

You go on to explain that ‘we came and stole’ a land that didn’t belong to us. What a bold statement to make. You are living in the past and people who think like you (in the past) will continually pull the black community down and prohibit them from growing. […]

Stop pushing your ‘black agenda’ on everyone and live as a human being. Doing so will allow everyone in South Norwalk to prosper and become as one. As long as the NAACP is involved and keeps the blacks separated from the whites, this will continue for generations to come.

Can’t we all just get along?

Editor’s note: This comment was edited in part to temper some broad and offensive generalizations. A paragraph referring to Councilman David Watts was removed because it was factually inaccurate: Mr. Watts in a product of New Haven, not South Norwalk, and represents District A, not South Norwalk’s District B.

Eric Parrish March 4, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Ruby I agree with what you are saying but people like David Watts…and I don’t mean an Afro-American. I mean loud mouths, people who run their mouths without having facts to back anything they’re saying.

He sits there and calls out the Mayor and the city operating budget while he doesn’t attend the finance committee meetings that he is a part of.

If anyone is to blame for “neglecting the Urban Core”, it is David Watts.

His voice “could” have been heard in the finance committee meetings. He “could” have made proactive contributions to the discussion for things he claims are lacking in the “Urban Core”. He “could” have stood up when it actually could have made a difference. BUT! He didn’t! He choose to disregard the finance committee meetings and then waste time in a council meetings airing grievances.

When residents complain about what the city isn’t doing for them, I’m curious where their council members stand… Are they proactive in bringing change? Are they really listening to what the residents concerns are? What are they doing to bring about that change? Complaining in Council Meeting will never bring positive momentum to any cause.

Kevin Di Mauro March 4, 2015 at 5:57 pm

I’m not sure of the exact wording, but there is an old saying that it’s the squeaky wheel that get’s greased. That might apply in politics as well.

mollyB March 4, 2015 at 7:21 pm

White folks love to discredit our black leaders. Most legislative bodies have a so called Black Caucus and it’s very much needed. These comments are a reminder that black people still have a ways to go before white folks will accept a black persons opinion.

Watts, is a hero to some and a villain to others. Whats wrong with a different point of view?

Rid Racism March 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm

@Mark & Nancy: I totally respect your editing and not offended in the least. Thank you for the clarification.

@MollyB: Some black individuals have a long way to go and they can only blame themselves. Unfortunately, they hide behind organizations such as the NAACP and Sharpton to stir up trouble and subsequently get what they want the easy way.

It’s unfortunate that Mr. Watts doesn’t step up to the occasion, dress appropriately and participate professionally in City Meetings. I think he had good intentions when he first came aboard, however, intellectually he couldn’t handle the workload? That’s the only thing I can think of, as he’s never around for the important meeting such as: The Budget! Perhaps he doesn’t have the capacity to read a budget and just going through the motions?

The way this proverbial ‘out of control train’ is driving is scary. One could stir up the minority community and turn against our police and overall authoritative figures and have our great City become Ferguson.

Remove the Cancer cells before it spreads. Mr. Watts has been given too many chances. It’s sad, because I know he is a good guy deep down.

Kevin Di Mauro March 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm

I think everyone on the BOE should undergo a rigorous exposure to Michael Jackson’s video “Black or White” until they show an understanding of the message.

Amanda March 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Watts, you’re not a leader. Sorry. You don’t attend the meetings you pleadged to your district as their council member, nor are you even a current tax paying citizen of this community. Thank god this is an election year. Here’s some life advice: attend your meetings, pay your taxes, read the docs you’re supposed to as a councilman PRIOR to the meetings, practice some of the ideals you learned in divinity school, stop harping on thee small stuff (like clothing stipends), be civil, stop making embarrassing videos, stop race baiting…the list goes on….when these things cease and you start acting for the community rather than as a victim, people will listen.

Ruby, you make a lot of really good points, but I echo exactly what Eric said. We can all disagree, it’s how it’s handled – esp in the public eye. The black caucaus can be just that – the black caucus. But people are allowed to think that Mr. Watts is making a mockery of it. It doesn’t have to be a race issue.

mollyB March 5, 2015 at 1:36 am

This is nothing more than a slime campaign against a great person and some folks will go the distance to trash a true public servant. I cannot attend council meetings but i do watch on TV and Watts always has on a suit and when he visits my church he looks sharp.
I live in District B but, I know Watts is very strong in his district and he will knock on hundreds of doors before any real challenger could come forward. I don’t agree with everything David says but, he is a true fighter and people love that about him.
Some white folks have a mindset that black people should be seen and not heard-that is simply wrong and undermines our democracy. Council members are not paid for their time unlike the current mayor who collects a pension and a mayor salary. Mayor Rilling has very little support in the black community which are traditional democratic voters.

End racism by accepting a different point of view.

Eric Parrish March 5, 2015 at 11:37 am

@David Watts
[…]
There was a meeting last night where the Police Chief discussed overtime. You had such a big issue with this I’m very surprised you did not attend.

This post was edited to conform to our comment policy.

Mrs. Ruby McPherson March 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

@Eric Parrish, not everyone has computer to check or know when the chief is having special conversations or coffee with a cope. as I was told about it, on the city web site on the side bar? Perhaps list it in the Hour.

@ Rid Racism- Oh yeah we have those in kind people who give, and don’t see color, only impoverish family. But you forget it still exist, where children don’t get the opportunities as others. And yes those families who have received welfare after generations because families have been on drugs generation after generation (and who set that system up) also because welfare to work didn’t work. Because the political friend who got the grant to do the job was not made really accountable. When all of these programs started popping up and every non profits where getting grants for after school program and other. Where the children really getting help with homework, Who made them accountable and how many times did they have surprised visits? I thought non profits was done with in kind volunteers and retired executives who knew how to delegate and contacts who had compassion for its community, not people who wanted top CEO and executive salaries claiming to care for people in need? (the fall of Neon) But I still am saying you don’t understand.
I go out to talk and also let them know when opportunities are out there which is very rare .
And most don’t destroy property as I have found laziness and socially incompetent in white, Hispanic and blacks. Depends on how you where brought up, to take care of what you have and remember where you come from and where you want to go. Trying to get out of those prison can be difficult when programs are cut for the low income where black or white and any other.
And by the way it’s not just Blacks in those housing prison!!

piberman March 5, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Actually the “racial divides” are more complex. While the downtown mall will certainly benefit some local residents generally the downtown residential community, mostly lower income and minority, will suffer the very substantial pollution, noise, dislocation and other unpleasanatries associated with unprcedented traffic congestion from one million visitors monthly brought by the mall. Yet their Democatic community “leaders” remain unconcerned. Who would they protest to ? Mayor Rilling ? Had the mall been proposed for a middle class neighborhood the protests would have rocked the heavens.
Nowalk is just one City. On paper. Discrimination is in the eye of the beholder.

Casey Smith March 5, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Mrs. McPherson –

I believe that the City is required by law to publish announcements of all public meetings – in this case, apparently the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) – in a local widely newspaper. The legal notices must appear 48 hours before the meeting and state where it is to be held and at what time.

The agendas for the upcoming meetings are posted on the City website, and the minutes from past meetings are also posted there.

As a Council Member, and also a member of the Finance Committee, Mr. Watts would have been sent notification of the meeting through a number of means.

piberman March 5, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Ms. McPherson:
What would you propose to make it easier for black residents to start their own businesses in Norwalk ?
I raise that question because reportedly there are very few black owned local businesses in our City and owning ones own business is a time honored way of clmbing the ladder to realize the American Dream.
And I suspect the forthcoming mall will make it even harder for everyone to start their own business here in the City.
Thanks

Mrs. Ruby McPherson March 6, 2015 at 9:01 am

@ piberman- You are exactly right, and I have been pushing for people to work on their credit so they can start their business, and apply to banks, or see about getting a grant, as we do have very few black business in Norwalk, all you see popping up is others restaurants and side variety stores.
Yes we need to work together.

EveT March 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm

@mollyB “Some white folks have a mindset that black people should be seen and not heard” ??? That is a strange accusation.
The point about Councilman Watts is not that he shouldn’t speak in meetings. It is that he, like all our elected officials, should do his homework, read the materials and attend committee meetings and be well informed on an issue before taking everyone’s time in a meeting to discuss that issue.

Knowledge is Power March 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm

@ piberman
Discrimination is only in the eye of the beholder when those eyes are OPEN!!
In Norwalk way too many eyes and mouths are tightly closed when it comes to discrimination, racism, bigotry and disparate treatment of minorities by a few administrative leaders (see fire chief), and until our community political leaders step up and speak up it will not end.

Mrs. Ruby McPherson March 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

@ Knowledge is Power I agree with that, and its time for people to step up and come out/speak out.
Washington has to pass a voter right for Black People? Is this the only race, while the other races has the right without going through this.

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