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Norwalk Republican caucus swells again as Hillard makes a move

Norwalk Common Council 182
Norwalk Common Councilman Carvin Hilliard (D-District B) says he trusts Norwalk Republicans but not fellow Democrats.

NORWALK, Conn. – Yet another Norwalk Democratic council member has elected to caucus with the Republicans.

Common Councilman Carvin Hilliard (District B) says he is joining the Republican caucus and will begin meeting with them Monday evening.

“I feel I can better represent South Norwalk, my constituents, by being in the Republican caucus,” he said. “I get along with the Republicans, I’ve known them over the years and I get along with them.”

Hilliard left the Democratic caucus last June after he was accused of leaking secret conversations to Republican Mayor Richard Moccia, an accusation he strongly denies. He has been without a caucus since then.

Why leap now, after six months without a caucus?

“I decided I wasn’t going back to the Democrats,” he said. “I realized I need to caucus with the Republicans in order to try to get some things done for my constituents in South Norwalk. It’s easier if you are caucusing with them”

Minority Leader Warren Peña said Hilliard’s departure is part of the plan.

“We have been changing the landscape of our party since I joined in 2011,” he said in an email. “This is right in line with our intentions which is to move forward without folks like Carvin being a part of our future. In terms of others, they know they are finished with our party so they need a home.”

Three councilmen, including Hilliard, have left the Democratic caucus since the November 2011 election.

District B Councilman Michael Geake became an unaffiliated member of the council and joined the Republican caucus in March 2012, although he had said in a 2009 Facebook post, “I don’t consider politics to be a team sport where you can play on one side today and the other tomorrow. I am a member of the Democratic Party because of what I believe.”

Geake made the move after his wife was ousted from the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee in a primary.

District D councilman Bruce Kimmel left the Democratic caucus shortly after the election. After more than a year of attending every committee meeting that he could, he joined the Republican caucus in January, stressing that he is still a Democrat.

Hilliard agreed that such departures damage the image of the Norwalk Democratic party. “They should think of that by the way they treat people,” he said. “Yeah – Three people, I agree, that says something but the Democrats were not fair with me. I don’t feel that they like me and there’s no indication that they are going to be fair with me in the future, so why would I – when you caucus with people you have to trust them. I don’t trust the Democrats.”

Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Amanda Brown said District B Democrats may not trust Hilliard anymore.

“Mr. Hilliard has not been treated unfairly by the Democratic Party,” she said. “There are times that we haven’t agreed but on our main issues we are in sync, such as education, crime and environmental justice. Mr. Hilliard should be concerned with the public trust he is potentially breaking with his Democratic voters by such a move, which they haven’t consented to or approved.”

Peña said Democrats lost Hilliard in their first council meeting. “If you recall he was nominated by two Republicans to become council president and has voted with the mayor ever since. The Democratic Caucus never wanted him in a leadership role. In addition, he was reporting our conversations in caucus directly to the mayor and Republican party up until we kicked him out.

“The Dems responded to his unacceptable behavior – he was not treated unfairly, his actions caused a re-action,” Pena said. “Since the 2011 campaign and since being elected, I have not seen Carvin serve his constituents. What I have seen him do is serve the mayor and Republican party.”

Brown cast aspersions on Hilliard’s assertion that he could get more done for South Norwalk by caucusing with Republicans.

“The Republicans have underfunded education for several years to the detriment of the system,” she said in an email. “(They have) promoted the expansion of City Carting’s facility on Meadow Street in a densely populated urban area, adversely affecting the environmental quality of the neighborhood  with increased truck traffic – in a kid friendly zone – against Mr. Hilliard’s protest as a Democrat on behalf of his constituents. If Mr. Hilliard says that he has a better chance of getting these important issues passed by caucusing in the room with the Republicans than he had on the council floor, then we wish him well.”

Will he be asked to leave the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee?

“I believe his actions will determine whether or not a letter of resignation is in order,” Brown said in an email. “It will be accepted when he tenders it.”

Correction made, 5:21 p.m.

Comments

38 responses to “Norwalk Republican caucus swells again as Hillard makes a move”

  1. Bruce Kimmel

    Mr. Pena has his facts wrong. At the first Council meeting, Democratic Council member Anna Duleep, with the consent of the Democratic caucus, nominated Carvin Hilliard to be Council President. Republicans, who at the time were in the minority, supported Carvin as a show of good faith and bipartisanship. I was the only Council member who voted against Carvin becoming Council president because I did not believe he was in fact the first choice of the Democratic caucus.

  2. Anna Duleep

    Bruce, Warren was referring to our deliberations before that vote. When I called upon the Republicans to hold a timely vote for Carvin’s replacement as Council President, I revealed that Carvin had not won the support of our caucus. Only when he informed us he had a majority of votes for Council President (thanks to the Republicans) did I decide to change my vote. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2012/12/norwalk-letter-at-least-let-me-nominate-someone-else-first/
    Had you chosen to caucus with us, you would have been privy to that discussion. As Majority Leader, I felt a public show of willingness to work with Carvin was more important than airing the reasons why he failed to win the trust of our caucus. As it turned out, he backed Mayor Moccia and the Republican Caucus rather than the rest of us on our first vote concerning appointments to boards like the BET. If I’d had the freedom you enjoyed as a person with no caucus responsibilities, I would have gladly voted against Carvin in 2011.

  3. Joanne Romano

    How very sad that so many are so worried about who caucuses where, rather than doing the best they can for the city and its residents…is it any wonder no one wants to get involved? Carvin Hilliard is one of the most trustworthly gentleman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He votes with his heart, not party politics. It’s a sad day when his own party throws him under the bus and he feels in order to be in the loop he must distance himself. Very sad indeed! You lost Bruce, Mike and Carvin because of your agendas..Control Norwalk and to hell with anyone who disagrees with you! I won’t be surprised that in the future more people leave the party politics for Independant status! Shame on all who belittle those just because they don’t always agree with you…Carvin has been there for so many for so long through thick and thin…Very sad!

  4. Joanne Romano

    Oh and by the way…have at it…say what you like about me…This is the very reason I resigned!

  5. BARIN

    C’mon man, how would you know if you were’nt privy to the information?
    Everyone PLEASE stop defending those that do this, it is not right. The people that vote for these politicians and their shenanigans are enablers, they MUST stop the nonsense too.
    We forget Mr. Bondi was mad the way his daughter-inlaw was treated by Dems, Mr. Geake was mad his wife lost, Mr. Hilliard is mad because he lost the respect of his fellow Dems and Mr. Kimmel appears to be an Independent, disquised as both Dem and Repub.
    The most ridiculous part of this nonsense is, they will run for office again, with a chance to win because of residents with short memories.
    STOP IT! We should all be ashamed if we vote and let these people get back in office, our own ignorance has perpetuated the problem and it is up to us to correct it.
    I also dont agree with signing some pledge of loyalty to any one political party so you can be nominated to run for office.
    It does’nt make sense, if it is wrong I’m not going to vote in lock step because I signed some loyalty pledge, my only concern would be the residents of Norwalk in every decision I make, it’s that simple.

  6. Joe Espo

    Correction, Joanne: FOUR defections. Bruce, Mike Carvin and FRED

  7. MGeake

    Just for the record, BARIN, it wasn’t because I was mad my wife lost; that’s just politics. What I could not tolerate was a party that had been taken over by those who would spend weeks calling someone as scrupulously honest as Mary “corrupt”. That is why I am no longer a Norwalk Democrat.

  8. Joanne Romano

    This just about sums it up…

    “This is right in line with our intentions which is to move forward without folks like Carvin being a part of our future”.

    Watch out Norwalk…with this mindset …you too can be replaced if you don’t march to the new drummers in town!

  9. oldtimer

    One of the reasons Carvin keeps getting re-elected is the fact the Republicans do not run any opposition candidates in his district. The lack of opposing candidate keeps many voters from even showing up as there is no real contest. His declared intention is to caucus with the Republicans, but run as a democrat. It is hard to imagine him being nominated again by the democrats. It is hard to imagine any of the nominal democrats who caucus, and vote, with the republicans getting nominated again.
    A lot of us wonder what he, and Kimmel, and Geake, and Bondi, were promised.

  10. LWitherspoon

    @oldtimer
    Perhaps what they were promised was that nobody from their own caucus would use multiple Daily Voice accounts to attack fellow party members for voting their conscience rather than the party line. You know, the way that David Watts has done to Bruce Kimmel, Warren Pena, and others.
    This purge led by Warren Pena seems to imply that he has no tolerance for diversity of thought or independence within the Democratic caucus. That’s really a shame, because at the ballot box I am looking for candidates who will serve all Norwalk citizens rather than candidates who will serve the Democratic Town Committee.

  11. Joe Espo

    @oldtimer: Who is “us” that are wondering about promises made? And what promises come across your mind that pique your speculation?

  12. LWitherspoon

    @ScopeonNorwalk and @oldtimer
    “Carvin has admitted from his own mouth that he is getting kick backs from Republicans.”
    You should be ashamed of yourself for making this claim. Rev. Hilliard has said no such thing. If you have any proof whatsoever that anybody is getting any personal benefit from actions taken as an elected official, you should bring it forward immediately. Otherwise it will be clear that you are simply spreading sleazy rumors, attempting to smear the reputation of public servants who have decided not to caucus with your preferred team. A lot of us wonder what you yourself are so desperate to gain that you would stoop to such despicable tactics.

  13. Bruce Kimmel

    Anna, when Carvin became, repeat: became, Council president in Nov. 2011, you gave a rather long and somewhat glowing nominating speech. If you did not believe he should hold that post, you should have not nominated him, pure and simple. I did indeed know what transpired in the caucus — since I had pledged to support Miklave for President — and, to be honest, I found your nominating speech more than a little hypocriitcal.

  14. BARIN

    @Geake, so it was’nt because you’re spouse lost, no one should be calling anyone corrupt with out proving it anyway, you should name names and ask for proof, publicly.
    That said, Mr. McCarthy accused Ms. Duleep’s mother of being a code violator and offered no proof, is that okay?
    At the very least you should apologize to the constituents that voted for a Democrat disquised as a Republican. Don’t be mad at me, you should be ashamed, that after being elected you jumped ship in the middle of the term, that goes for anyone who did the same thing.
    What you should have done was stayed and fought if you thought things were wrong, how exactly did it help residents with your silly move.
    You got called out on it, dont be mad (or try to get even)just say sorry.
    Please explain any benefits achieved that helped Norwalk by your defection.
    C’mon man, you are in an indefensible position, so dont lash out at residents, just never run for elected office again, until you are positive as to where you stand, and you will be forgiven in time.
    It is great that you and spouse care enough about Norwalk to volunteer for a sometimes thankless job, but that only goes so far when you mislead Norwalk residents the way you and the others did.
    @JoAnne, you dont HAVE to march to the drummers beat, but you should stay and fight, not run away.
    I disagree with it not mattering whom you caucus with, if thats the case, just have EVERYONE caucus together, that would help to eliminate what has happened.
    It would also help with the lack of transparency issue Norwalk elected officials and department heads have.

  15. Joanne Romano

    @BARIN -I chose to leave because this is by far the worst council I have ever seen since first entering politics and having served on many other boards, I’ve seen many councils come and go. This isn’t a council for the people, its a playground for one upsmanship…It’s a takeover by those who believe they have all the answers and actually have none! Lack of transparency? How about lack of respect, lack of true support for the taxpayers and lack of knowledge about why they were elected? Once you get on the council or any other elected body you work for All the people, not a chosen few! I am so tired of this bullying and scare tactics and if I wasn’t so disgusted I probably would have stayed on, but when you are laughed at and humiliated each step of the way…I chose to bow out gracefully and I am sorry if you feel I somehow did something wrong, for that I am sorry but I am not sorry for resigning because this whole situation is a damn shame and a slap in the face to Norwalk residents who put their trust in those they elect to do the right thing and do it without malice! As far as ScopeonNorwalk goes, you my friend are despicable! To even hint that Carvin Hilliard is anything but upstanding and genuine is about as low as anyone can go. You need a reality check!

  16. A comment by ScopeonNorwalk has been removed. It was approved by accident.
    We will have a complete comment policy online soon.

  17. Suzanne

    Joanne Romano, First, many make commitments with good intentions only to find their best intentions are not only not appreciated but scorned. It is hard to stay and fight a group that cannot be assisted by or appreciate a particular viewpoint. There are many ways a citizen can be of service and I think you simply chose another one. I think that takes courage and I thank you for your service.

    Second, I don’t get all of this caucus business, people jumping from one party to another. It feels very private to the individual Council member’s behavior and having little to do with the business of conducting business on behalf of Norwalk.

    Whenever anyone gets upset about the divisiveness in Congress, I refer them to the House of Commons or, more importantly, to The Federalists Papers. Both show that such conduct as we are seeing in this Town is not original.

    At this point, however, what would be original, unique and helpful would be to have the respective parties “lay down the gauntlet” and remember why they are there: to SERVE THE PEOPLE OF NORWALK, a decided attitude that is clearly missing.

  18. David McCarthy

    I have seen the repeated statement that I offered no evidence of Ganga Duleep being a chronic code violator status repeated under different screen names, and it is obvious to me the source. I felt that it was not the main point, and definitely needed no back up. I based this on the number of times Mrs. Duleep has been sued by the city (as reported elsewhere) and the fact that her Wall St property lies derelict now for multiple years. The story that is told of how the insurance company will not release payment to her is a half-truth, in that no insurance company will release funds to the owner of a mortgaged property without the bank’s consent and/or a plan for restoration.

    The points I made in that piece were unfortunate, but all 100% true.

  19. BARIN

    @JoAnne,
    First of all, thank for your service to our community, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you, your caring about the city was first and foremost at all times during your terms.
    You just got tired of the silly things going on, what you did was not running away it was stepping aside.
    What the other folks did was switch teams in the middle of the game, not good.
    There seems to be a lot of anger in council chambers at times, disrespect has become common, even against residents.
    Let some one else have a shot, you got tired of the chaos, I see that as reasonable.

  20. BARIN

    @Dave McCarthy,
    Thank you for clearing that up. With all due respect, whether true or not your statement aimed at Ms. Duleep brought her mother into the fray. I would hope that anyone would protect their mother as she did, if Ms. Duleep is guilty of that, good for her.
    Dont get mad (or get even) because we called you on it, as residents we can do that.
    I do agree your points were unfortunate, if you had stated at the time what you just posted, I would have been less concerned about you throwing Mom under the bus because the facts were presented, apology accepted.

  21. Joe Espo

    @BARIN Ganga willingly, with Anna’s enthusiastic verve, has been thrown into the fray, all the way, and without reticence and on purpose. She’s a public figure. Centered on the “arson” claim [ http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/policereports/article/Norwalk-fire-ruled-to-be-arson-672043.php%5D, the public records available showing code violations, from there her advocacy of Ryan Park, the unbridled entusiasm by Anna to invoke her mom’s as a victim at every turn, the mother-daughter joint venture to project Ganga as the Indira Gandhi of Norwalk — what protection does she need? Why should she be immune from public comment and criticism when she and her daughter are out there in our faces like Janeane Garofalo.

  22. Publius

    @Suzanne, if your point is the council is hyper-partisan, you probably don’t mean to reference the Federalist papers(?). Those were written by Hamilton and Madison in part who became politically opposed after Jefferson and Hamilton’s falling out from Washington’s first cabinet.

  23. BARIN

    Okay Espo, if you say so. Based on your theory how about this, someones Mom hits a hole in one playing at Oak Hills, shown on the sports pages the next day, that Mom is now a public figure too.
    So what, it still does’nt make it right just because she is a public figure to trash her, you are correct, no one should be immune, but credit should be given when due.
    There is a catch, have you any idea how much Ganga Duleep has done for our Norwalk community, stay focused on the positive residents do for our community.
    The nasty behavior recently demonstrated will only keep the good people from staying the course to help our community, it’s part of the lack of respect mentioned in earlier posts.
    Have you taken a ride around town lately, her property is’nt the only place where it is an eyesore, let’s get after those property owners too.
    Now let’s move on.
    Do you think it’s okay to change sides in the middle of your term or not?

  24. Joe Espo

    @ Barin: If my Mom hit a hole-in-one at Oak Hills and a if only one story were written by Robert Koch reporting the event, she would hardly be a public figure. But, lets say, her name were not Ganga, and I took her on a tour extolling the virtues of 88 year old Moms taking up the sport of golf, and she opined to the local media by way of interviews, photo ops, press releases, sit-ins, protests and press conferences, that a City-owned patch of South Norwalk land strewn with broken glass and junkie needles should receive public funds to turn it into a practice putting green for the Norwalk senior golfing community, and then start a Federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non profit organization to collect money for the cause, I think my Mom would be a “public figure”, no?

    And despite all her laudable and creditable hard work at achieving “golf equity” for Norwalk seniors, if my Mom had a house with – let’s say- a double-wide trailer on her front lawn, an obvious code violation, should my Mom be immune from being called to question from a citizen who just so happens to be a councilperson?

    As for changing political parties mid-stream: why don’t you ask Ganga if she would endorse exalting political party politics over personal principles, as you are wont to do?

  25. BARIN

    @Espo,Wow interesting reply, I disagree, I didnt say anyone should be immune, I’m saying go after all of them, public figure or not.
    If a council person knows about it they should take care of it, no matter who it is.

  26. LWitherspoon

    @David McCarthy
    I was one of the people who expressed concern over the fact that you did not substantiate your claim that Anna Duleep does little more on Council than protecting her chronically code-violating mother.
    Above you have referred to evidence that Ganga Duleep has a lot of code violations, and that’s helpful. But you still offer no evidence of your far more serious charge, which was that Anna Duleep is using her position on Council to perhaps shield her mother from the usual consequences of code violations. What are the details of that claim? What specific actions has Anna Duleep taken as a Councilperson to shield her code-violating mother? Abuse of elected office in that manner is scandalous, and if you’re going to imply that this is what’s going on, you should explain some details of how it happened.

  27. Tim T

    Once again we have LWitherspoon attempting to plant false ideas in people minds with his sneaky question…

  28. Suzanne

    Publius, you just proved my point.

  29. BARIN

    @Spoon, in my opinion thats a valid question, if someone is using their position to offer anything special, whether it’s to family members or friends it’s wrong.
    In the time I have known Ms. Duleep, I without a doubt state that she is a stand up person and truly cares about Norwalk.
    In my opinion,there is no impropriety in regard to Ms. Duleep’s actions, if there is show it to us.
    At the time Mr. McCarthy may have made statements in anger, and I’m sure if something like this was going on and he knew, he would do the right thing and stop it.

  30. LWitherspoon

    @Barin
    I agree, those are serious allegations to make and if there were substance to it, we probably would have heard more details by now. It does not reflect well on Mr. McCarthy to accuse Anna Duleep of protecting her code-violating mother and then failing to back up that charge with substance.

  31. Joe Espo

    Anna Duleep has an IQ of about 198. When she writes or says anything, it’s one big huge multi-veggie intellectual salad that not many of us can pick through without a bit of dressing to make it palatable and an inordinate amount of time to distinguish the tomatoes from the lettuce. Shine a bright light on what she says and don some magnifiers and you’ll see that Mama Ganga is always the elusive radish in that big salad bowl.

  32. Dave McCarthy

    My comment was that the only committee meetings Anna showed up to (up to that point) were largely the ones in which her mother had a vested interest. I never said she was using any official office for personal gain.

    Some examples would be the initial Ordinance Committee meeting discussing a “blight” ordinance (which was the only OC mtg Anna attended I believe) wherein she announced she was recusing herself and then proceeded to sit next to her mother who then disrupted the entire meeting. Various Planning and Parks Committee Meetings come to mind as well and the evidence is well established in the minutes on-line.

    I didn’t make any statements in anger. My comment that these statements were unfortunate means that I believe it is unfortunate that they had to be made. They are and were factual and considered.

    I made reference to Anna’s actions as a councilperson in the context of who her mother is, I didn’t attack her mother, though I certainly did not compliment her, and I find it odd that only “Barin” and David Watts have made that point. There have never been any denials made as to the veracity of the facts as I pointed them out.

  33. LWitherspoon

    @Dave McCarthy
    Thanks for addressing the questions. Here’s the text from your letter so that others can know what we are talking about:
    “If not for meetings where they were after something in which they had a personal interest (e.g., Ms. Duleep’s attempts at protecting her chronic-code violating mother’s interests; Mr. Watts’s attempts to put the interests of the AFSCME union ahead of the citizens of the city) they might have an almost perfect record of absence instead of the 20-30 percent they do have.”
    I suppose I inferred from the way that this is written that you believed Ms. Duleep was attending committee meetings as a Council Member so that she could use her position on Council to protect her mother’s (and her own) personal interests. I appreciate you clarifying that you didn’t mean that Ms. Duleep was using her office for personal gain.

  34. David A. Watts

    Councilman McCarthy,

    Come on, brother. Did you really need to drop my name?

    DW

  35. BARIN

    @McCarthy,
    Hold your horses there buddy,
    Dont be upset that I brought up something that I felt strongly bothered about, if it was anyone else I would have done the same thing.
    Dont think it’s personal, you just happened to be the elected official who said it out loud.
    In my opinion a lot of folks have thought your comment was initially out of line, dont be upset that I said it was wrong publicly.
    You think because she sat next to her mother at a meeting was wrong, how so?
    If Ms. Duleep (Mom) disrupted a meeting I’m sure that has happened with other residents, think of council members disrespecting residents though.
    I feel if you have an issue with a resident disrupting a meeting, you may want to recall incidents where you heard fellow council members and fellow Repubs disrespect residents.
    This behavior from everyone, including residents, must stop.
    Did anyone have anything to say then? I recall only silence from many of you.
    It appears some council members have to stick with their party, even when they may be wrong, I prefer if they’re wrong, say so,loud enough for everyone to hear.
    Thank you, for clearing up the issue as best you could.
    @Everyone,
    As for code violations.
    Do you feel health inspections, fire safety inspections,
    building inspections, and any other necessary inspections are being done properly by their respective departments?
    This has a direct impact on quilty of life, property values as well as public safety for all Norwalk residents.

  36. oldtimer

    Republicans, all the way back to Reagan, campaign on the promise that they will control spending and reduce debt. It isn’t true, the debt tripled during the Reagan administration. They also keep repeating that the Democrats are the big tax and spend party. Neither statement is accurate, but it gets a lot of Republicans elected. Only Clinton ever reduced the debt and he was not a Republican.
    Locally, the same claims are made. Esposito held spending down while neglecting leaking roofs on school buildings. Knopp spent to repair leaking roofs and Moccia campaigned on calling Knopp a tax and spender, while he would be more conservative with taxpayer’s money. It worked, just barely, and Moccia has been with us ever since.
    Moccia picked an unfortunate time to be mayor, while the economy was collapsing, and is now looking for another term to take credit for the recovery. Whoever runs against him will be called a tax and spend democrat and it may work once again, even if it is not true.
    Moccia will not call names, he will have minions like Dave McCarthy do it for him. It will be fun to watch. Moccia, like the pope, could still decide it is time to retire.

  37. BARIN

    Valid point, we’ve seen it time and time again.

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