Norwalk Republican Town Committee member urges voters to choose Rilling

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s Republican leadership was excoriated by one of their own Thursday, a veteran Republican councilman who said Norwalk needs Harry Rilling at the helm.

Nick Kydes, who has represented District C for eight years, issued many strong statements about Republican Mayor Richard Moccia, referring to a “smear” campaign and an “outright lie,” as he endorsed Moccia’s Democratic challenger as Norwalk’s next mayor. Kydes urged his own supporters to vote for Rilling.

That includes these statements:

• “It is time for an elected official to go when that official utilizes the spending cap as a tool for his own political means.”

• “It is time for the politician to go when Machiavelli rules his philosophy and that’s where we are today.”

• “The voters have to know that it is time for a politician to go when the issues are not about the community that that politician was elected to serve, but about his own ego, about his own political benefit. That’s where we are today. It is no longer about the taxpayers of Norwalk, it is about re-electing Mayor Moccia. That is wrong. It has to always be about serving the community in which you are elected as an official.”

The press conference at City Hall comes the same day as a Republican advertising blitz asserting that Rilling will raise taxes. An attack ad in The Hour compares Rilling to Harry Houdini; robocalls are being used to scare taxpayers, Kydes said.

“The audacity currently is for Mr. Moccia to spread fear among the taxpayers – and I got a robocall today – the fear that is being spread is if you elect Harry Rilling your taxes will go up,” Kydes said. “In reality, for the past eight years, our taxes have gone up year after year under Mayor Moccia.”

Nick Kydes endorse Harry Rilling Norwalk 103113 023
Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidate Harry Rilling, center, greets supporters Thursday at City Hall.

Kydes, a member of the Republican Town Committee, said the negativity inspired him to reach out to Rilling campaign manager Kevin Coughlin.

“Harry’s campaign never reached out to me for an endorsement,” he said. “This endorsement came out because a couple of things pushed me over the top.”

That includes the “hypocrisy” of the Moccia campaign attacking Rilling over his union endorsements.

“It’s very important to understand that if it wasn’t for the grassroots efforts by groups in Norwalk, and specifically the unions, Dick Moccia would have not been mayor,” Kydes said, in reference to the 2005 election, which Moccia won by 176 votes. “I found it ironic that he is now diminishing the importance of the grassroots community and the unions. I find it, quite frankly, hypocritical to the extreme.”

A 2005 article in The Hour details Moccia’s siding with the union in its contract battle with then-mayor Alex Knopp. Moccia and several other Republicans, including current RTC chairman Art Scialabba, who has joined Moccia is slamming Rilling over union endorsements, were endorsed by the firefighters union in 2005.

The “smear” campaign of ads that imply Rilling made promises to unions to get those endorsements is an “outright lie,” he said.

“The only thing that Harry has done is he has promised the unions that he will be the direct channel to communication,” he said. “That he will be there to listen to them and it will be a two-way communication channel, not a one-way, which currently exists.”

The implication that union members do not have integrity is offensive, he said.

“I find it appalling that a politician will stoop to levels of basically throwing all the people who supported him under the bus for his own benefit,” he said.

Republican City Clerk Erin Herring came out of the City Hall entrance for a peek as the press conference was going on, disappeared and then came back with Director of Business and Marketing Tad Diesel. Both watched briefly. Diesel scowled and stalked back inside. Herring followed him.

“If the RTC has a problem with me speaking my mind, my heart and my thoughts, shame on them,” Kydes said. “Then it becomes a situation where they’re imposing tyranny upon its members. That’s wrong. Therefore I will still be part of the RTC.”

RTC Chairman Art Scialabba did not respond to an email requesting comment. Neither did Moccia.

“They’re going to hate me,” Kydes said. “It’s OK. If I am doing what I think is right, and I believe firmly that what I am doing is right, my enemies lining up with knives to stab me in the back, so be it. I have done what I think is right. I will not sell my soul for any worldly profit.”

He said he had not been offered any role in a Rilling administration.

Other Republicans feel the way he does, he said, that it is time for a change. He said he hoped he had opened the door for them to go out and vote their conscience.

Kydes is not running for re-election the the council this year. He announced earlier he has taken a new job and would not be able to continue. His cousin, John Kydes, is running in District C as a Democrat. Nick Kydes endorsed his cousin as well, along with Republican Town Clerk Rick McQuaid.

Nick Kydes endorse Harry Rilling Norwalk 103113 009
Common Councilman Nick Kydes (R-District C), right, said the council has been “browbeaten” into doing Mayor Richard Moccia’s will. Council members will work together under Harry Rilling, left, he said.

“I am willing to stick my head out of the shell,” he said. “But a lot of people who are Republicans will not do that because they do fear that there’s going to be some sort of repercussion. I just don’t have that fear.”

He also had plenty of positive things to say about Rilling:

“Harry has a vision of Norwalk which I share,” he said. “It’s a vision of inclusiveness. A vision in which there are no divisions between parties, between Democratic, Independent, or Republican parties, or the Tea Party. Inclusiveness us what Harry stands for … working with the people of the community to find a solution for a problem that may arise. He has done for a lifetime. He will do a job as great mayor.”


39 responses to “Norwalk Republican Town Committee member urges voters to choose Rilling”

  1. bsmith

    Big difference between one union endorsement and the bucket full of union endorsements and/or campaign donations that Rilling has gotten.

  2. M Allen

    If endorsements from “organized labor” are now considered “grass roots” we’ve all lost sight of what “grass roots” really means. I don’t personally subscribe to the theory that union endorsements automatically mean a quid pro quo promise was made to obtain them anymore than I believe a campaign contribution for $500 or $1,000 can buy a zoning vote. But I think we all need to recognize that unions know which candidate will be better for them. I don’t blame them for making the choice they did. If I was in a union I would have chosen the guy who was a former union member, union leader and boss to union members as well. It just fits they would think he is their better shot at a rosier future. Of course, that opens the possibility if won’t be rosier for the taxpayer, but we all have our own interests to protect, don’t we?

  3. M. Murray’s

    Let’s see how quickly the certain Republicans turn on him

  4. michael foley

    M Allen

    Your Comment has been one of the most intelligent comments i have read here !

    M. Murray

    i can hear the rumblings from here !

  5. M Allen

    probably less quickly than Democrats turned on Kimmel, Geake, etc. I really do hope that once this election is behind us, regardless of the outcome, the people who get elected have the ability to back off the rhetoric and actually get something done. Continuing to devolve into uber-partisanship, as we witness every single day in Washington, isn’t going to get the job done. However my fear is this is the new normal.

  6. Suzanne

    This makes sense: the this guy speaks out because he is not slated to be re-elected. Those who are candidates for City Council are told by “higher ups” not to give any answers regarding their platforms to NON and do not thus depriving those of us who would like to know (I am one of them) just what they stand for. Instead, there is the assumption made and, I guess reinforced by these “robocalls” that Rilling means higher taxes which have occurred under Moccia but, heck, he’s a Republican, so I guess that just isn’t possible. This all sounds a bit strident but, then, so does Mr. Mushak according to his deriders when he asks reasonable questions about a project gone wrong. So what is reasonable needs to be denigrated and the denigraters are “reasonable” in this Moccia campaign. These people are not very nice. It will be interesting to see how they react to one of their own walking the plank. Perhaps by speaking his conscious Mr. Kydes has come from behind the curtain. Telling the truth might buy you some nasty remarks but, really, it lets the air in too. I am glad he spoke his conscious and I am glad he broke from his “pack”. Perhaps this is also the beginning of some true bipartisanship where members of elected and appointed positions can truly represent what they believe instead of “paying the piper” and following some script or loyalty oath out of blind loyalty. Community service, of service to the taxpayers – what a concept.

  7. M Allen

    Suzanne, please try and use some reasoning with regard to the higher taxes issue. Republicans raise taxes too, they just seme to have a pattern of raising them by less. When the claim is made that people should be concerned about their taxes going up, its in relative terms. Unless i hear a candidate say, “I will freeze taxes,” I expect taxes will go up. I just expect they will go up more under a Democrat because the pattern is what the pattern is.
    As for your comment re: Mushak – he doesn’t get derided because of his substance. He gets derided because he publicly refers to his fellow commissioners and other elected or appointed officials as thugs and generally bad people while making his case. Is that what we want? Do we want any elected or appointed character to be nothing more than the anonymous ranters and ravers on this and other internet sites who just feel like they can say anything without repercussions? That is why Mike catches what he does. But for some people, he’s the hero. He’s not. He’s as bad, in a different way, as those he targets.

  8. M Allen

    Why is it when Mr. Kydes speaks out from behind the curtain, he is a hero. Yet when Mr. Kimmel (and others) speak out, they are turncoats that must be purged. It’s really quite the double standard except that Kimmel did it while remaining active and trying to get re-elected. Mr. Kydes should speak his conscience. We all should. It just shouldn’t be praised as something one does only when convenient or when they can’t take it anymore. Doing the right thing should be the norm, not the exception.

  9. Oldtimer

    M Allen
    When Nick Kydes comes out from behind the curtain and endorse Harry, that makes him a turncoat to the RTC, he will be purged, and he accepts that.
    When Kimmel and Geake run as Democrats but caucus and vote with the Republicans, that makes them turncoats to the DTC, they were purged.
    Political parties generally do not approve of one of their own endorsing a candidate of the other party. Voting with the other side in a council meeting is not as serious an offense.

  10. M Allen

    I agree and I understand the realities of politics within the parties. What I find amusing are the people, members of the internet-enabled vocal constituency, who will give greater credence to a defector from one side who “speaks his conscience” than they do to a member of their own party who does the same thing. One is a hero of the revolution and the others are traitors to the cause.

  11. Suzanne

    M Allen, you mis-characterize what I have written. I have not made anyone a “hero”, just human beings who speak their conscious. I can’t help but think of David McCarthy and his writings when you characterize Mr. Mushak’s behavior. Now, there is a guy who “tells it like it is”, in writing, in his mind, and is none too polite about it. No one, no one has a corner on the civility market in this town, no one. I don’t often like Mr. Mushak’s delivery either, it makes me cringe, but I do believe he has the best interest of all Norwalk people at heart and, even if you don’t like how he delivers his message, it is the right one and it is of service. Not a hero, just a human being acting out of good principles on our behalf. I think generalizations of who raises taxes more and for who is an errand I am not willing to take on. M Allen, when Republicans raise taxes I think you see it based on principles with which you agree while Democrats are foolhardy when they do the same thing. Different values, that’s all, no more and no less. It reminds me of the Reagan era when everyone was supposed to “pick themselves up by their own boot straps” while many had no boots. Republicans made a hero out of him – this former Democrat on a macrocosmic level to the situation we have here, made some very bad mistakes as Governor of California that that State is still trying to resolve yet he is often held up as the living example of how to do Republican things right. So, as with anything having to do with people and their actions, nothing is ever straight forward and nothing is ever entirely clear. Some people can live with that lack of clarity and some people need black and white. I am not the latter – let me repeat, since you characterized my statement twice as such: these small political machinations of Norwalk are not heroics, they are simply politics. Human behavior and its intricacies and people trying to follow their conscious.

  12. Oldtimer

    Semantics, Matt

  13. Oldtimer

    Reagan campaigned on how horrified he was by the size of the Nationl debt, and blamed it’s outrageous growth on the other party. It was getting close to a trillion and he made a big issue out of how he would stop it’s growth.
    He got elected, almost made a Saint by his party, and the debt tripled during his administration. Ever since, the Repubs have been calling the Dems the tax and spend people and repeating it so often it is accepted.
    Locally, Esposito, a repub, was mayor for 14 years and campaigned on how well he was holding taxe rates down. Knopp, a Dem, succeeded him and had no choice but to spend a bunch of money on capitol maintenance project that had been neglected for 14 years. (leaking school roofs, etc) Of course the repubs screamed about tax and spend dems and even got some dems to believe.
    Politics, and how tax money is spent is largely a matter of perception. Moccia has survived as the great OZ, spending, blaming it on others, and hiding behind that curtain.
    We expect Harry will have to spend, but will not hide behind a curtain and blame others.

  14. M Allen

    Suzanne, I think you took a generalization about “some people think he is a hero” as I was accusing you of it. It was not specific to you, rather that some people will accept from him what they abhor in others because they agree with his subject matter. I say both sides are wrong if they can’t act in a civil manner.
    As for taxes, I’m not debating motivations, only amounts. I wouldn’t agree with Republicans becoming tax and spend anymore than I am willing to tolerate it by any other party with a proclivity for taking my tax dollars beyond a certain point. Nothing disgusts me more than when Republicans overspend and reach into my pocket to do it. I’m not debating the why, I’m debating the how much. I reach a point, and I think a lot of people do, where I don’t care why you want more out of me. Only that you do. And I don’t care one iota which party that is. Republicans or Democrats, I expect my taxes to go up but I will vote for those who I believe will do it the least.

  15. EveT

    Getting back to the substance of the article, I’m glad Kydes pointed out that it’s insulting to unions to imply that they lack integrity. Workers organize so as to have a voice to balance the power that employers implicitly hold. Who the mayor is makes a big difference in the workplace climate in the city. Norwalk can do better than the current arrogant, smirking mayor who frequently says “not my job” when faced with a difficult issue.

  16. Daisy

    Kydes is a turncoat too, just like Rilling. Kydes is also formerly a good friend of Moccia’s. But he had a lousy attendance record on the Council and now Rilling is no doubt promising HIM stuff, so . . .

  17. bsmith

    EveT you are using a private sector example for a public sector union. The ’employer’ in Norwalk is the taxpayer. Who is balancing the power for who?

  18. M Allen

    I’ll say here what I said in a different thread. Same message:
    What part of public-sector unions wield undue power and influence over elected city officials, the people who ultimately decide their pay, don’t you comprehend? That isn’t even a debate over the utility of unions in a general sense. That is a debate over the sanctity of the election process and the ability for elected representatives to properly govern and represent the people. There is a good reason why public-employee unions are the largest and fastest growing contingent within organized labor.

  19. D(ysfunctinoal)TC

    I hope Harry read Virgil’s famous story about the wooden horse. LOL.

  20. piberman

    Anyone doubting that unions vote their pocketbooks ought to ask why the NFT is asking its members to only vote Democratic across the board. Could it be that they are seeking payback from a Republican controlled BOE that took them to arbitration and saved taxpayers $2.6 million. A union truly concerned about education would suggest voters support the most capable BOE candidates, not those willing to do the union’s bidding. And an education minded candidate for mayor would reject union calls to only support Democrat BOE members. Voters have a choice – an NFT union controlled BOE as in the past or one with the most capable candidates. NFT’s political self dealing is the greatest impediment to achieving education success in Norwalk. Long past time for Democrats to reject NFT vigorous calls to only elect Democrats to the BOE.

  21. Just Wondering

    Will the NON authors at any point ever interview a Pro Moccia or an Anti Rilling voter? Perhaps offering a different view because it seems like Prince Harry is going to re write the history of Norwalk based on the biased articles being spun here.

    Based on what we know: What credibility does Kydes really have? He’s been lambasted often. Now he’s a… Wwwhat?

  22. NorwalkVoter

    What Kydes and Kimmel have in common is they were never liked by the caucus of their own party. While each had a contribution to make they were so arrogant and annoying that their own compatriots turned on them and set them loose. Personality issues, to say the least.

  23. You should all be embarrassed

    As an outsider, I’m sitting here shaking my head…

    This site seems to be a venue for a select few to hash it out it seems …

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves

    Think about it… Your banter doesn’t even really reach the voters …

  24. M Allen

    It is kind of a freely available site. The other voters are welcome to join us. It’s a pretty open sandbox. Should we not discuss some of these things because everyone doesn’t come here? In fact, where are they?

  25. Don’t Panic

    Shooting the messenger doesn’t change the news. If you prefer your news neutered, there are plenty of chain newspapers to choose from.
    This site is run by professional and respected reporters, and despite the sometimes raucous tone, these boards are educational. We learn from first hand accounts from meetings we may not have time to attend and from professionals who know things that the average reader may not. We also learn that there are intractable partisans out there and we learn to tune them out.
    That would be my recommendation to you. Just ignore the bone heads.

  26. Joe Espo

    There was an incentive for this on the part of Kydes. Trying to figure it out. It wasn’t blind ambition (unless Harry is ready to offer him the Norwalk IT job). It wasn’t to hold a candle to Dale Carnegie; most certainly he’ll be unfriended big time. Perhaps it was retribution and revenge? Gee, all this just because he hadn’t achieved a leadership position on the council? Maybe it was a death wish: a desire for self-destruction, often accompanied by feelings of depression, hopelessness, and self-reproach? A disparate Greek tragedy? Some new-fangled political symbiosis? Did he no longer like the food at the Norwalk Inn? Someone, please: give me a clue.

  27. Suzanne

    Mr. Espo, If you read the article, you will notice three items that have bullet points. The clue would be in reading the article and reading what follows those bullet points. I think Mr. Kydes explained his incentive very well.

  28. Tim T

    You should all be embarrassed
    Makes a good point.. When someone who is not aware of the truth reads the posts on this site they would actually think that Rilling was winning. The truth is in as much as some will blow of what the polls say, Moccia actually has a huge lead. Also when speaking with people in the real world aka not on the internet very very few that I speak with will be voting for Rilling.

  29. You should all be embarrassed

    So why don’t you all get together and talk in person. I BET my bottom dollar that if you were all in public, you wouldn’t challenge or even speak to each other.

    What a bunch of babies.

    BTW, I’d like to hear for ONCE what Moccia is going to offer. All I keep hearing is of his ‘accomplishments’ and no new agenda, other than bashing Rilling.

    I voted for Moccia twice. I won’t give him my vote on Tuesday unless I start hearing positive sentences coming out of his mouth.

    All it’s been is a Rilling Bashing since the primary. SUCH a turn off to voters.

  30. Piberman

    Maybe Nancy could do a piece on Dr Bruce Kimmel, a Democrat, announcing today support for Mayor Moccia. Unlike vituperative Mr Kydes Dr Kimmel is always polite and courteous with a substantial following of supportive voters. Less exciting but a far more important endorsement from an elected official, not a disgruntled party official at odds with his former colleagues. After all Dr a Kimmel is a Councilman.

    1. Mark Chapman


      No. 1: Thanks Peter. We never would have thought to run the endorsement story without your suggestion.

      No. 2: Mr. Kydes is also a councilman, a conservative, Republican councilman, in addition to being a Republican Town Committee member. Just more of those pesky facts.

  31. Piberman

    Oh another misstep on my watch. Mr Kydes contributions as Councilman so far have’t attracted my attention. Interesting to speculate how more effective Mr Kydes remarks would have been had he chosen to emphasize the many positive qualities and experience of the Chief rather than petulant criticisms by a disgruntled “public servant”. Courtesy and respect used to be characteristic of our Councilmen. Sour grapes has no place in civic discourse. This mean spirited endorsement is one Chief Rilling could do without. It’s hard to recall such poor manners by a public official. Best not to give Mr Kydes much attention. He’s no “public servant”.

  32. M Allen

    @You should – not all of us are anonymous. Nothing I say here I wouldn’t say respectfully in person. Maybe NoN should have a picnic. Or coffee meet & greet. I’d refrain from booze and news tho. 🙂

    1. Mark Chapman

      @M. Allen

      We could have two — one for those with real names, one with a masquerade theme…

  33. Norwalk Lifer

    When Moccia stops the robocalling and the scare tactics, then maybe the Republican babies who post here won’t cry so loudly about a “turn coat” who called him on it.

    THAT’s the point of the story!

    And don’t tell me that Moccia isn’t “aware” of the robocalls, Norwalk isn’t THAT big a town, get over yourselves.

    Norwalk Lifer

  34. Ark

    Wonder what Harry’s running mate Kevin Poruban thinks about the Kydes’ endorsement. Kevin seemed to think Kydes was an unethical council member and actually filed an ethics charge against him.


    For that matter most Democratic Council members in the last several years hated Nick. Now they are all buddies in the Harry tent. Ain’t love grand 🙂

  35. M Allen

    Scare tactics? That the Dems might raise taxes more than the Republicans? Not really a scare tactic there. That’s a highly statistical reality. Of course, scare tactics like the Mayor isn’t fair to the unions and the taxpayers should either believe or care? Yeah those aren’t scare tactics. He really does hate school children and bicylcists and anyone else not getting enough of our tax dollars. Nothing wrong with that right? Because if you believe it then its not a scare tactic its “just the troof”. And just because Chief Rilling isn’t saying it himself, doesn’t mean his surrogates aren’t basically saying it. Welcome to politics. You seem old enough to know what happens in politics. It is what we the voter has agreed to make it. A fricken circus.

  36. Don’t Panic

    @M Allen,
    It is also statistically more likely that school rooves get repaired, roads get paved, etc.
    When money gets spent, they don’t just pile it up in the center of town and burn it in a bonfire. The job of government is to manage both dollars and priorities wisely. It’s much easier to just say no to everything and sit on that AAA bond rating like ScroogeMcDuck on his piles of gold.

  37. Norwalk Lifer

    Oh please M Allen, grow up yourself, what I am speaking to is how this Mayor could praise Rilling as police chief and now he’s vilifying him as a candidate.

    You know that Moccia would get more votes if he showed he was a leader, and why is the head of the Republican party in Norwalk making “lists” of BOE candidates? didn’t you read the letter from July?

    And another thing, if Democrats are so spend thirsty, why did taxes go up under Moccia? why did the BOE show a shortfall under Chiaramonte and now Lyons? why did Chiaramonte and Haynie go directly to the teachers and not the union to negotiate in 2010 and 2011? and then cried foul when Mellion supposedly “maybe went to the Mayor”? why is Moccia more concerned with hiring cronies than helping Norwalk?

    And what do you have to say about the shortfall AGAIN in the BOE budget? whose paying for that? we are.

    And you call this Mayor and his administration fiscally responsible? gimme a break

    Norwalk Lifer

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