NORWALK, Conn. – There’s a rumor making the rounds, as evidenced by comments on NancyOnNorwalk stories, that none of the Democratic candidates for mayor have taken a position on anything.
While that is true for some issues, some of the candidates have staked out real positions on issues currently in the news.
Here is a refresher for those readers who may have forgotten or who missed these the first time around:
• NEON: Mangiacopra said Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) is important to Norwalk and he believes in its mission. However, he said, the mission has become a secondary story to the scandals and accusations surrounding finances and management, and that the management team needs to be replaced.
• City Carting: Mangiacopra said he did not believe the savings would be as advertised and vowed to analyze the contract. He said if he finds the deal is not as advertised, he would “strongly consider” cancelling the contract.
• POKO: Mangiacopra, whose job with the town of Monroe involved bringing new business to town, said he would modify or pull the plug on the Wall Street developers who have come back to the city for multiple deadline extensions for getting the project under way.
• Budget: Mangiacopra would conduct a communications and energy efficeincy audit and a review of public works services. He also laid out a multi-point plan for reviewing all areas of the budget.
• Public safety: A Boys and Girls Club would be high on the agenda to help provide Norwalk’s youth with guidance and activities. Mangiacopra also advocates community policing and has said he would walk the beat himself.
• NEON: The former police chief said NEON is an important agency for Norwalk and laid much of the trouble at the feet of former board members who allowed the financial and other scandals to take root. He advocated for better vetting of board members.
• Oak Hills: Rilling said that, while the driving range proposal has been around for 15 or 20 years, no one had put forth a plan that would be both financially viable and environmentally sound. He said he could never support a project that would have a negative impact on the environment or that put the city on the hook financially. (Comments were made before the plan to locate the range outside the woods was announced.)
• Secret searches: Rilling said that he believes that all searches, such as the school superintendent search, should be more transparent. He said it is necessary to winnow the field down to two or three finalists, but then it’s time to bring the public into the equation and get their input.
• Privatization: No equivocation here. He’s against it. As for the City Carting 10-year deal, he said he would have to read the contract before making a decision on whether to terminate it.
• POKO development extensions: Rilling supports the POKO development plan for the Wall Street area and said it would be wrong and send an anti-business message to pull the plug after the company has spent millions of dollars on the project.
• Public safety: The former police chief said he had advocated for more police officers and reorganizing how the city was policed when he was chief, but ran into a road block from above. “As mayor, they would listen to me,” he said. He called for adding five police officers a year for the next four years, and establishing partnerships with businesses to provide job training for youths at risk.
• Oak Hills: Miklave, a golfer, said he’d love to have a driving range, but not if it meant putting the city on the hook for finances. His comments were made prior to the announcement of which plan has been chosen.
• Transparency: The common councilman spoke extensively about the need for transparency in all areas of city government. He said he drew the ire of his own party for releasing his Democratic Party questionnaire answers to the media, along with his refusal to sign what was referred to by some as a party pledge. He was the first to go public with that information.
• The budget: Miklave’s central theme has been performance-based budgeting. He plans to review, in detail, all programs and employees in all departments to find efficiencies, cut unnecessary expenditures and reallocate funds as needed.
• Government reorganization: Garfunkel has advocated for charter revision, eliminating redundant departments and “do-nothing” positions to save money and make government more efficient.
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