Norwalk political notes: A candidate; GGP needs a new HQ

Norwalk Board of Education member Artie Kassimis. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s what we have for you in political notes this Tuesday:

  • Kassimis running – for Council
  • GGP’s Chicago headquarters being redeveloped…  
  • Goldstein’s public comment stuck in transit
  • BoE blamed for Ely fire
  • Malloy assigns resources to New Haven line
  • A McQuaid in government – someone new

Kassimis running again

Board of Education member Artie Kassimis’ term ends this year, but he’s not running for re-election, he’s looking to join the Common Council.

Kassimis, a Republican, will run to represent District C on the Council, he said recently.

Asked who else might be running, Kassimis said, “There are a few newcomers that are considering. No one else has committed.”


GGP’s latest national news blurbs

The Howard Hughes Corporation, a spinoff from mall developer GGP, is planning to build a new office building at 110 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago, Commercial Property Executive reported Monday.

If that address sounds familiar it’s because it’s currently headquarters for GGP, the company seeking to build a Class A mall, The SoNo Collection, in Norwalk.

A GGP spokesperson said GGP has not finalized relocation plans, the website reported, continuing on to say, “Read into this what you will” given that GGP CEO Sandeep Mathrani last week refused to rule out selling the company.

Mathrani’s comments came in a conference call to explain GGP’s first quarterly report.

An ‘outright sale” of the company is the most likely outcome of that report, Alexander Goldfarb, managing director for Sandler O’Neill + Partners, said, according to a May 4 story on CoStar.com.

NY Stock News reports a bearish attitude on GGP stock, with a negative outlook, in a story posted Monday.


Sheehan apologizes for ‘confusion’

East Norwalker Deb Goldstein has been outspoken in her opposition to the deal with GGP that the city is currently considering, but on April 26 was frustrated to learn that her letter to the Redevelopment Agency had not been delivered.

Goldstein, addressing RDA as a public speaker at its meeting, asked Commissioners if they had received her written comments. The answer was no.

“That’s a concern,” Goldstein said.

The comments were not relative to the topic of the meeting, Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said.

With all due respect, when the public sends comments to the agency with the intention that it be read by the Commissioners, it’s not up to anybody’s judgment as to whether they are appropriate or not,” Goldstein replied.

The comments were relative to a public hearing, which would come later, Sheehan said.

The plan for a public hearing had already been mentioned publicly.

“There is no sense of screening the information,” Sheehan said. “The issue ultimately, I think there was confusion as to if you were sending it in relative to the public hearing requirement or if you were sending it in relative to this meeting. But we are happy to forward all of the comments… I apologize if there was confusion on that.”


Dumas’ inflammatory comment

“It’s bothering me,” South Norwalk activist Ernie Dumas said at last week’s District B Democrats meeting, explaining why he felt he had to speak up about an incident.

On April 15, there was a fire set behind the tennis courts at Nathaniel Ely school, he said.

The Board of Education is seeking to build a new school behind Nathaniel Ely; that had been a topic earlier in the meeting, with comments made about South Norwalk losing open space.

Dumas reported that on April 15 John Mosby called 911 and one truck came, with no police vehicle and no fire inspector. Mosby chased children off the tennis court and the fire had been burning for some time, he said.

“I think it all points to the Board of Ed. If those woods were to burn down they would have a free shot to all that land over there,” Dumas said.

BoE officials declined to comment.

An email sent Thursday to the Norwalk Fire Department did not get a reply.


State studying New Haven line

A trio of consultants will develop a strategy to improve rail service on the New Haven line, Railway Age reported Friday.

The initial planning phase for improvements is funded with $3 million allocated by the Connecticut State Bond Commission as part of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 30-year transportation plan, “Let’s Go CT!”, the website reported. Recommendations are expected in 2018.


McQuaid appointed to Transit District

Attorney Alice McQuaid, wife to Town Clerk Rick McQuaid, was appointed recently to the Norwalk Transit District.

Rick McQuaid has been active in city government for decades but this is the first time Alice McQuaid has taken on one of Norwalk’s volunteer roles on a time consuming Board.

McQuaid said she was honored to accept the appointment.

Norwalk Transit District Commissioner Alice McQuaid, left; Town Clerk Rick McQuaid, right.


6 responses to “Norwalk political notes: A candidate; GGP needs a new HQ”

  1. Sherelle Harris

    Best of luck to Artie Kassimis. He is fair-minded and tends to vote his conscience.

  2. Mike Barbis

    I hear about these allegations about the fire behind the tennis courts at Ely … I called the supervisor for Norwalk Dispatch at 203-854-3112 but there was no record of anything for Ely School, 11 Ingalls Avenue. The supervisor thought that maybe a different address had been used but there was no record for any call on April 15th.

  3. broken record

    What was Mr. Mosby doing at Ely to begin with? Seems like wherever he goes some sort of controversy pops up.

    So Mr. Mosby happens to be at Ely school on a Saturday and there is a fire burning… kids standing around watching it burn and did not call the Fire Department.
    …and how exactly is this the BOEs fault? Maybe these kids should have called the Fire Department themselves or maybe they set the fire? Kids are kids… they do dumb things and don’t always react accordingly.

    Also, on several occasions over the years I’ve heard or seen small brush fires, BBQ mishaps, etc. and one fire truck responds… no police car, no fire inspector etc.

    My point being is that “Why is Mr. Mosby trying to make this into something bigger than it is?” He called the fire department and they responded.

    Regardless of who set the fire, would Mr. Mosby and Mr. Dumas like the property to be fenced and secured during non-business hours?
    I’m sure this might prevent something like this happening in the future.

    I doubt it! Then they would cry that the community is being prohibited from using the property.

    It really amazes me that the folks that “supposedly” represent the community are so opposed to the school being remodeled.

  4. Faye Bowman

    Email from Assistant Fire Chief…

    Sent April 15th

    #Begin email transmission#

    “Good evening Councilwoman Bowman there was a brush fire at the end of Ingles Ave. Approximately 150 x
    150 in the middle of the woods…Cause is undetermined. Anything else you need please email me. Enjoy your Easter.”

    #End email transmission#

    We will be discussing Fire Department related topics on May 25th at the HWPS Meeting at 7:30 PM in Room 231. If anyone has any questions or information for the Asst. Fire Chief, they may come and speak during Public Participation.

  5. Kath Montgomery

    Great news, Alice! Thanks for your contributions to Norwalk!

  6. Yow!

    So now besides questions about a fire we have the Fire Department giving two elected officials different information.

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