Updated, 6:23 a.m.: Copy edits
NORWALK, Conn. — Here’s a roundup of Norwalk political items:
- Norwalk NAACP blasts Westport eatery’s racist drink title
- Norwalk Fire Department gets high-water-rescue truck cheaply
- Tax-hating Norwalker vows opposition to Innovation District
Hate has no home there?
“The Norwalk NAACP condemns 323 Main Restaurant for naming a drink after the ‘Tuskegee Experiment,’” Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams wrote Tuesday in an email to the media.
Penn-Williams included a link to a Facebook page: Eric Arora had on Aug. 15 posted a photo of a bar menu from 323 Restaurant Bar, with the caption, “Um. This is ridiculously horrible.”
The “Specialty Cocktails” listed include the “Sucker Punch,” the “Capetown Transfusion,” “The Red October” and “The Tuskegee Experiment,” said to be made of Myers Dark Rum, Malibu, pineapple juice, fresh lime, pineapple and jalapeño mash and a dash of tabasco.
“Based on facts the Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous, unethical, and malicious clinical study conducted between 1932 thru 1972 by the US Public Health Service which was mean and evil,” Penn-Williams wrote in her email. “To conduct such an experiment on rural uneducated African American men which was the leading cause of death is a travesty of injustice and a lack of human regard. It is a shame that 323 Main Restaurant continued with the same racist mindset in these times.”
Arora’s Facebook post has more than 600 comments, including one linking to an Aug. 16 article on Eater, announcing that the restaurant had removed the drink from its menu.
“It’s unclear why 323 in Westport named the drink after one of the most racist and shameful chapters of modern medical history,” Eater wrote.
Penn-Williams said Wednesday that she feels better knowing that the drink has been removed.
Her comment has gone nationwide, as Fox News posted a story about the awfully-named drink Wednesday, including her quote.
The restaurant has been open since at least 2014, when the first reviews were posted on Yelp; it’s taking a beating on Yelp now, as people from across the country have been posting angry comments.
NFD scores surplus truck
“The next time Norwalk faces a severe storm or flooding situation, there will be a new resource to help evacuate residents,” Norwalk Deputy Director of Emergency Management Michele DeLuca wrote Wednesday in a press release.
The Norwalk Fire Department on Tuesday took possession of a 2.5-ton military cargo vehicle used for high water rescues, she wrote.
“This large military vehicle has the ability to move in very high water conditions where most other vehicles would stall out. The vehicle can transport people, either rescue victims or rescue workers, where they need to go during flood situations, such as the rescues performed during Sandy,” DeLuca said.
“The vehicle was part of the military surplus buying program instituted by the federal government. This particular vehicle had only 1,800 original miles on it and unlike the much older NFD vehicle which has a double clutch, this has an automatic transmission. The vehicle originally sold for more than $140k, but the fire department was able to acquire the vehicle for approx $1,400. The vehicle is currently painted in the desert tan that most military vehicles these days are painted in but, the fire department plans to have this one repainted and add a cover. Special thanks to Deputy Chiefs Ed Prescott and Steve Shay as well as mechanics Patrick Keough and Jason Lorusso for acquiring this asset for the Fire Department.”
Norwalk taxes too damn high
The “Common Council forum, to discuss donating $15 million of our taxpayers’ money to property developers for the Innovation District was the last straw,” David Mapley wrote Tuesday, announcing an intention to “launch an initiative and get the whole of Norwalk behind me” and get the mill rate dropped to less than 2 percent within five years.
“I have worked hard all my life, and don’t want to spend retirement funding ne’er-do-wells and City cronyism,” Mapley wrote.
Norwalk officials would selectively award tax breaks to developers under the Innovation District plan, which aims to inspire development in the Wall Street area, create jobs, and support businesses. The tax breaks would be on the extra property tax arising from property improvements, and would not mean that Norwalk would be getting less tax from the properties than it did before they were developed.
The cap for tax incentives would be $15 million over five years. The Council Ordinance Committee allowed citizens to speak about the proposal Tuesday at its regularly scheduled meeting, after deciding to postpose its planned public hearing to Sept. 4.
Mapley has a Facebook Page, “Norwalk Taxes Too High,” which has 23 members.
“I pay 2.6% per year to City Hall in property tax – in 38.5 years I have paid Norwalk my property value (assessed), which is disproportionately high compared to other First World countries (5x versus my second home in Switzerland where streets are clean, public schooling is top notch, healthcare is so much cheaper and of higher quality, etc…),” Mapley wrote Tuesday.
“To give some perspective :-
“- very high salaries for police/teachers – investment banking levels… why do we need police to sit and watch utility workers working? Why is the Education Superintendent’s office adding headcount, with his amazing $254k salary??
“- why is Norwalk one of the very lowest recipients of ECS funds from Hartford for education?
“- why do City representatives think they can just award property developers $15m. of taxpayers’ money for the Innovation District? I am yet to meet a poor property developer, we should be incentivising companies and start-ups to come to Norwalk and grow our tax-base.
“- as stated above, I pay 5x in property tax what I pay for a second home in Switzerland. Sales tax there is 8%, income tax is lower, they just run their cities and towns professionally!!!
“Please support this initiative, and make your voice heard!! We have State Senator elections coming up in November, stand up and discuss..”