Norwalk political notes: Running for election

District B Common Council candidate Manny Langella, left, and State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140), at Monday’s District B meeting in Calvary Baptist Church.

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

  • Republicans mum, mostly
  • Dems work toward Council candidacies
  • Langella pitches himself as District B rep
  • Morris for mayor – Coming soon!
  • Melendez an NCC grad
  • Dem ‘political operative’ praised by Republican
  • McCarthy’s house for sale
  • Lauricella’s time at DEP
  • Lauricella’s ‘misquote’
  • Mosby on an ‘excellent question’ roll


GOP mum on candidates

GOP Chair and mayoral candidate Andy Conroy said that the party will wait until its convention July 24 at the Norwalk Inn to reveal its fall election candidates.

“I’ve cautioned our leaders to avoid naming candidates until the convention. One or two may file papers but nothing is a lock,” Conroy said in an email.

Come November, Republicans will be looking to increase their representation on the Common Council, currently comprised of 4 Republicans and 11 Democrats.  Sources say that Council members Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) and Michelle Maggio (R-District C) are not expected to run for re-election.

Neither replied to an email asking for comment.

Council member Rich Bonenfant (R-At Large) said he’d be running for re-election. Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (R-District D) said Saturday that she had just decided this week that she’d seek re-election.

Voters will elect representatives for all 15 Council seats, and four Board of Education seats. Republican BoE member Artie Kassimis’s term is up this year; he has elected to run for Council this time around.


Dems lining up to run

Manny Langella, who unsuccessfully challenged Council members Travis Simms (D-District B) and Faye Bowman (D-District B) in a primary two years ago, is set to try again. Simms and Bowman plan to run for re-election.

Diane Lauricella, a Democratic Town Committee member, said at Monday’s District B meeting that she is considering a run for Common Council at large. The decision is dependent on family circumstances, she said.

Meanwhile, there are four Dems vying for the two Council seats in District A, including the two incumbents:

  • Council member Eloisa Melendez (D-District A)
  • Council member Steve Serasis (D-District A)
  • DTC member Chris Yerindes
  • Kadeem Roberts


That’s according to Melendez, who said she’d abide by the vote of the district rather than go to a primary to try to win re-election.

Dems meet to elect candidates on July 20, DTC Chairman Ed Camacho said.


Langella explains his run

Langella, at Monday’s District B meeting, told NancyOnNorwalk that many more District B residents are familiar with him now.

His letter to the district, seeking the Council nomination, explains:

“In the times since my last run for office, I have continued to press forward to represent our District. I have since been elected to the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee, was appointed to the Norwalk Fair Rent Commission (getting promoted form Alternate to Full- Time in less than a year) and currently sit as a Community Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Open Door Shelter. Recently, I volunteered to sit as acting Treasurer in District B.

“I believe I can represent the interests of our Community. From having been there when we unified with AMEC to cleaning our streets and parks with South Norwalk Citizens for Justice, I have learned so much during this journey with all of you and most importantly, the dynamic of this District.

“For those whom I have not had the pleasure to meet, allow me to share my Norwalk history. I have been a resident of South Norwalk since 2011; all of which have been in District B. Recently in 2016, I bought my first home in South Norwalk on South Main Street!

“My educational background includes a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Connecticut from the class of 2008.

“Professionally, I am a Global Sales Strategist for Indeed.com. Simply put, I help people get jobs. I work globally scaling out Company initiatives to help streamline and drive performance. This involves careful analysis and cross-functional collaboration in many different markets globally; all while navigating and understanding industry trends in real time. I believe these same skills could help Norwalk on the Council. Previously, I lead the Norwalk Connecticut Avenue Best Buy and have operated a business with upwards of a 70mm P&L.

“…Two years ago I received District B’s vote of confidence as your Endorsed Candidate. I humbly request that support again and the honor to represent us.”


‘Morris is for us’

State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) says he’s still getting ready for his challenge to Mayor Harry Rilling’s re-election.  No other comment than – he’s created a Facebook page.

As of Saturday, the page was liked by 181 people and followed by 183 people.

A post from June 19:

“Hello to all the great people of Norwalk. I am running for Mayor because I Love every aspect of our City and it’s people. I am running for Mayor because I want to help every citizen build a better quality of life through financial opportunities so they can become financially secure. I am running to work for all of our citizens so they will have access to affordable health care and a education system second to none. Let all of us in Norwalk set the standard for our State and our Country. Through your help and prayers and through Gods guidance we can achieve these goals together.”

The state has set Sept. 12 as the date for a primary.


Melendez a college grad

Melendez recently graduated from Norwalk Community College and is enrolled in the University of Connecticut Stamford, she said.

She’s going to work toward a degree in political science and is taking a biology class at NCC this summer, she said.


Good review for Mayor’s assistant

When Rilling hired Laoise King to be his assistant in November, some members of the public cried foul.

“Another in a series of political patronage jobs going to cronies,” former Council member David McCarthy (R-District E) said in a comment on NancyOnNorwalk.

King was also referred to as a political operative, by a person who is highly critical of Rilling.

King now has bipartisan support, at least on the Board of Education.

“Laoise was very helpful with advancing the facilities plan, the capital budget plan, and has given us some good helpful advice on promoting it up in Hartford as well,” BoE Chairman Mike Lyons said at Tuesday’s BoE meeting, where he agreed with Rilling that King was very helpful in prompting talks between the BoE and the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.  “I am very pleased to have her.”

“She really is a hard working person and I appreciate what she has done,” Rilling said.



‘McCarthy’s house’ for sale

The home McCarthy shares with his wife, Pamela Block Works, is for sale.

Works owns the home at 38 Nearwater Road. Zillow has it listed at $3.475 million, saying it’s been on the market for 49 days.

McCarthy did not respond to an email asking if he’s leaving Norwalk.

Rumor had it, a year ago, that Works planned to move to Palm Beach.  That would be the end of McCarthy’s Norwalk political career, the source said.


Truth about Lauricella’s employment

Lauricella appears to have been the victim of a reputation-damaging rumor for years, a rumor refuted by just one email from NancyOnNorwalk.

Although Lauricella routinely mentions that she worked for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the 1980s, both Republicans and Democrats recently mentioned to NoN that they had heard that Lauricella was only at DEP for a few months.

“Diane was employed by the then Department of Environmental Protection from 1/11/1983 until 9/27/1990.  She was a Field Inspector in an area dealing with hazardous materials, including PCBs,” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) spokesperson Dennis Schain said.

The Republican who shared the false claim about Lauricella said he was very surprised to hear that. The rumor has been regarded as fact for years, he said.

“I decided to look for private sector work for many reasons,” Lauricella said in an email. “I got a good job in the private sector, consulting firm named Environmental Science and Engineering in Shelton where I was a Project Manager and the Health and Safety Officer.”


Chimento: Lauricella misquoted me

Lauricella, at the June 13 Council meeting, spoke on behalf of the Village Creek Homeowners Association, against the awarding of a paving contract to The Grasso Companies

She then referred to “what I witnessed at the Public Works Committee meeting.”

“I was very concerned that the staff, which will be called up to the podium, are very big cheerleaders for the Grasso Company and made it quite clear that they didn’t like the Deering Company,” Lauricella said.

Department of Public Works Director Bruce Chimento said that was “absolutely” a misquote.

He’s been friends with Deering for decades, he said, quoting himself as saying that Grasso is more responsive on sidewalk contracts than Deering. He’d recommend Grasso for sidewalk work, he said.


Mosby gets kudos for ‘excellent’ questions

Board of Education member Shirley Mosby asked three well-received questions at Tuesday’s meetings.

During a review of the new dyslexia clinic, after it had been explained that an $80,000 grant was getting the project off the ground,  Mosby asked where funding would come from in Phase II of the project.

“That’s an excellent question,” Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski replied.  “I think we should have included that in our presentation.”

Phase II is coming from the Special Education transitional development fund, with hopes of creating a program that will attract parents to an in-house option, he said.

Later, Center for Global Studies Director Julie Parham explained a plan to meet state expectations by revising her school’s operations to create full-time magnet school work for the students, who had been attending Brien McMahon High School classes for part of their day.

Mosby asked how this would affect the overall graduation rate for Brien McMahon.

“That is an excellent question and another example of something the state has not been really been helpful in answering,” Parham said.

Finally, after a presentation about changes to the schools’ food service, Mosby asked if the BoE or Whitson’s would be paying for a new executive chef.

“This is an important question, I think we need to spend a moment on this,” Adamowski said.

The food service get two-thirds of its funding from state and federal grants, with the remainder generated by food sales, he said.


3 responses to “Norwalk political notes: Running for election”

  1. John Levin

    “Gods guidance”? Are we talking Greek panoply here, hindu deities, or what?

  2. Susan Wallerstein

    @ John Levin, thank you for church & state reminder!

  3. John Levin

    Not to mention spelling/grammar, eh?

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