NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Democrats responsible for what Mayor Richard Moccia calls “personal attacks” did not realize they would be mentioned in his Tuesday evening speech announcing his reelection campaign.
“I’m flattered the mayor was thinking of us during his remarks to his supporters,” Common Councilman Warren Peña (D-At Large) said in an email. “I look forward to serving out the remainder of this term, running for re-election and being a part of something that will be talked about for months and years to come.”
Norwalk Democrats don’t raise issues, they raise personalities, Moccia said, referring largely to the many battles at Common Council meetings prompted by Common Council members Anna Duleep (D-At Large), David Watts (D-District A) and Peña.
Those councilmen say the only way they can get their issues heard is to write a resolution and debate it on the council floor. The Republicans who control all the committees won’t allow them to put things on the agenda, they say.
Watts said recently that council members had promised to be less partisan and work together after the emotional debate caused by the Freedom of the Press resolution he co-sponsored with Duleep.
“I am disappointed in this speech,” he said in an email. “I was hoping to spend the remainder of the term finding common ground. However, from the mayor’s comments he has rejected the olive branch we extended to him. What a shame.”
Moccia made reference to that latest controversial resolution Tuesday night as he ticked off a litany of complaints. “There’s a part of me that says they’re trying to discourage you, keep you from having that ambition to make life better for the citizens,” he said. “They don’t raise issues, they raise personalities. I pave a street, I repress votes. I don’t have a right to privacy, I don’t have a right to an attorney. They know more than a police department chief, they know more than DPW, they know more than the law department and they know more than the mayor.”
Duleep said by email, “I raise issues that are important to my constituents. I remain astounded it took prodding from me to get Mayor Moccia and his caucus to hold a timely election for a new Council president upon the expiration of Carvin Hilliard’s one-year term!”
The latest resolution questioned the ethics of Moccia’s relationship with Corporation Counsel Bob Maslan, as Moccia has described him as both his personal attorney and the city’s attorney.
Duleep is still working on the issue.
“Although my sources at the State Office of Ethics recommended that the city hire an attorney from outside Norwalk to replace Corporation Counsel Maslan as staff to the Board of Ethics – to assure the restoration of integrity to the process – I remain hopeful we will find a volunteer,” she said. “As for Mayor Moccia’s political career? Well, this week alone I trekked to Hartford, Newtown, Redding and Westport to lobby for common sense gun safety legislation. I’ve been so focused on attracting financial help to address gun violence in Norwalk that it never occurred to me Mayor Moccia might feel intimidated, or otherwise discouraged, by simple debate!”