Norwalk political notes: Facebook revelations; retirements

Norwalk Recreation and Parks Department Director Mike Mocciae. (File photo)

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

  • Perone comments on Trump tweet
  • Wilms gets engaged
  • East Norwalk Library gets new director
  • That slow moving mayoral race crawls ahead
  • Mocciae moving on
  • Norwalk volunteers honored

Perone posts on Trump

President Donald Trump on Thursday pulled off something new: he inspired State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137) to directly criticize him on Facebook.

Perone has had a number of satirical or amused posts since the last election, with the Russia investigation dominating his May offerings. Trump’s tweet attacking the MSNBC program Morning Joe, claiming that he rebuffed “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe” at Mar-a-Lago while she was bleeding from a facelift, drew this Facebook post from Perone:

“When Trump tweets the kind of poison he did today, the world asks why. If Obama had tweeted the same thing, the world would ask if he had had a stroke.”


The first person to comment defended Trump, claiming that Obama’s mishaps were swept under the rug by a liberal media.

“Sometimes, you just have to speak it. America has become too soft and offended, thanks to Obama,” he wrote later. “We’ve taken Christ out of Christmas; People want God removed from the Pledge of Allegiance; Parents want 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place Trophies removed from school activities and replaced with ‘Participation Awards’ for ALL students to receive; We have Safe Spaces for those who get offended if they’re called dumb blondes.. I mean, I could go on and on and on… Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and move on. You don’t like it? Don’t read it.”

“The ‘poison’ is the neurotoxin introduced into all major media outlets for 24-48 hrs after a personal attack on a journalist occurs, making it impossible for the White House to focus messaging on tax reform, healthcare reform, infrastructure investments etc. If the trend continues it will have a devastating impact on our economy long term,” Perone wrote.

Commenters traded insults, and the first writer said he was a Democrat who voted for Trump.

“If you think that Trump’s behavior is ANYTHING like Obama’s, you can rest assured that you’ve been brainwashed,” another person wrote.

“Lol,” Perone wrote. “I could have easily said George W Bush instead of Obama. It’s more about how he previous 44 presidents conducted themselves while in office. There is nobody I can compare Trump to. Unless it comes to light that James K. Polk was seen as a Honey Badger who often seemed strung out on too many cans of Red-bull.”

A woman wrote, “Chris, Have you heard all the hateful name calling and threats that have been going on against our President of the US since he took office? The media, hollywood, far left liberals(not all) have been inciting violence into the people and hate against the president since day one……it has to stop with them!! It’s disgracefull! I think he finally had enough>

“He has been working tirelessly to put forth the agenda that people voted him in to do. Soooooo many positive things he has done thus far and so quickly! He has taken quick action, the quickest that I have ever seen in my lifetime and getting things done……No one is talking about that on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NYT……All they are talking about is the hateful rhetoric against POTUS.”

“As long as any Republican is in the White House, you’ll see this from liberal media and the radical liberals,” the first commenter wrote. “And this is what turned me off for the first time ever, to vote for a republican. They don’t realize, it’s working against them and he’ll be in for 8 years!”

“That’s all fair,” Perone wrote. “I just want him to ease up on tweeting and to do the job he was hired/elected to do. Every tweet about Mika or fake news is a lost opportunity where he could be pushing infrastructure or regulatory reform. Stop the self inflicted damage and put the country first. Yes he should push back when the criticisms are egregious but he has a finite number of news cycles to promote an agenda before the midterms so he also has a responsibility to use them wisely.”


Wilms gets a yes

Also from Facebook comes the news that State Rep. Fred Wilms (R-142) is engaged to Terri Vlahos McCartney.

“Engaged! Terri said Yes!! At the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island,” Wilms posted Tuesday.

McCartney lives in Stamford, studied law at Hofstra University and works at Americares, according to her Facebook page. A Terri McCartney is listed by Americares as its director of clinic operations and volunteer services at its Stamford office.

Her Facebook page also shows that she went with Wilms to the Norwalk mayor’s ball in February. They went skiing in Vermont in January and to the Bahamas in June.


East Norwalk Library moves forward

“The East Norwalk Library has a new Executive Director, Sylvia Archibald.  Sylvia started on Monday June 19th.  She is the first full-time director with an MLS in the library’s one hundred year history!  Very exciting for us and for the community,” East Norwalk Library Board of Trustees President Sarah Mann wrote in an email.

This is a result of the Third Taxing District’s funding of a master plan for the library, a study that then-East Norwalk Library Association Executive Director Stan Siegel did not appreciate. The Board of Trustees fought the work along with Siegel, but eventually agreed with consultant Alex Cohen that a change in leadership was necessary and Siegel was let go.

TTD electors approved the salary for a new full-time director in March.

“On another note, Dan Cisek, the assistant librarian has booked some new, fun and educational summer programs for the library this summer season,” Mann wrote. “Two of the ones I am most excited about are Animal Embassy on July 28th and Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation on August 4th. Great for kids of all ages.”


Morris is for Us

State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140), who filed papers to run for mayor in April, declined to speak to Norwalk Democrats at the June 26 Democratic Town Committee meeting, attendees said. Morris said he had another venue planned to discuss his candidacy for mayor, one person said.

Morris hasn’t made any public comments about his bid to be mayor, opposing Democratic Mayor Harry Rilling’s drive for reelection. When NancyOnNorwalk last checked in with him, he said he had a Facebook page. Now, there’s another step forward: a webpage.

Morris is for Us features a biography of the candidate and an opportunity to either join his campaign or make a financial contribution.

Morris was Norwalk Public Schools human relations officer from 1998 to October 2015, when the position was renamed school climate coordinator, with less responsibilities. In June 2016, Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski eliminated the position as part of budget cuts. Morris went on to file a complaint with the Commission for Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), but withdrew it in April.

Should Morris win, he would, as mayor, have a role in funding for the schools and would deal with Adamowski.


Friday’s Mocciae’s last day

Norwalk Recreation and Parks Department Director Mike Mocciae is retiring Friday, after serving in the post since 1998.

Mocciae’s accomplishments include a greatly improved Calf Pasture Beach, the restoration of Fodor Farm, improvements to Cranbury Park and Gallaher Mansion, and a new boat launch ramp at Veteran’s Park.

Mocciae could have retired last year but chose to stay on to finish projects, he said.


McLaughlin, Wilson honored

Volunteers should be honored, Rilling said at last week’s Council meeting, bestowing praise on former Norwalk Planning Commissioner Walter McLaughlin as he awarded McLaughlin a plaque.

“As a Commissioner for 25 years, Walter has certainly seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe it has been all good in the service to the city of Norwalk,” Rilling said.

McLaughlin was appointed to the Planning Commission on April 14, 1992 by Mayor Frank Esposito, Rilling said.  He was reappointed by Mayor Alex Knopp, Mayor Richard Moccia and finally Rilling, but has decided to retire, Rilling said.

McLaughin was involved in implementing the 1990 Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) and worked on the 2008 POCD, Rilling said. He was a member of the 2003 Wall Street Area Planning Study, the 2005 Mid-Harbor Planning Study, the Reed Putnam Urban Renewal Plan updates of 2007, 2016 and 2017, and the 2006 Washington Street/South Main Street Improvement Area, and was involved in the adoption of all four village districts, he said.

“The endeavors that span 25 years as a Planning Commissioner are too numerous to account,” Rilling said, citing McLaughlin’s “unwavering and loyal service.”

Council member Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) said he wanted to personally thank McLaughlin for his friendship.

“Walter was like the last standing Independent… I was around when we appointed him in 1992, that’s when I was an Independent,” Hempstead said. “Walter is one of those individuals who really knows Norwalk, really knows the people of Norwalk…. It’s really hard to find someone as committed as you.”

Also honored recently was former Zoning Commission Vice Chairwoman Emily Wilson, who served from 2010 to 2016, according to Zoning Commission Chairman Nate Sumpter.

Sumpter presented Wilson with a plaque at the June 21 Zoning Commission meeting and said,

“What many people don’t understand is what we do here is give up our time and our talent.”

Norwalk Planning Commissioner Walter McLaughlin. (File photo)


2 responses to “Norwalk political notes: Facebook revelations; retirements”

  1. pnolin

    Mike Mocciae was about the best Parks Director Norwalk could ever have. Many superb accomplishments despite constant budget restraints. Great attitude, creative and true love for our parks. We will miss you Mike. Party on in margaritaville!

  2. Lisa Biagiarelli

    I am hard pressed to think of an employee whose work has had a more visual impact on the quality of life of multiple generations of Norwalkers, and on the image of the City, over the past thirty plus years. Mike always had the best interest of the city at heart. He earned the support of multiple mayors and decades of decision makers. He stood up for what he believed in, remained professional and focused, and never let setbacks faze him. He just kept on working. The accomplishments of our Parks and Recreation department under his leadership, and through his vision, set the gold standard, and are unique in the county and state. Mike, it was a pleasure working with you. Enjoy your well earned retirement, and THANK YOU.

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