Refresher course: Mayoral candidates have staked out positions

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:

Vinny Mangiacopra

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.

Harry Rilling

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.

Matt Miklave

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.

Andy Garfunkel

Government reorganization: Garfunkel has advocated for charter revision, eliminating redundant departments and “do-nothing” positions to save money and make government more efficient.




8 responses to “Refresher course: Mayoral candidates have staked out positions”

  1. M Allen

    I fully recognize that some of the candidates have provided generalizations about what they would do. They are much more specific about soft issues. All candidates promise to “change the tone” and “bring civility back” but typically its just a tone and civility swap from one party to the other. Transparency? Well, just the things I want you to see. iIts the politics of niavete and the sheep eat it up all day, every day.
    “I will specifically look into , but for now I will just generalize about what the outcome might be.” Don’t be specific or you risk alienating a particular demographic.
    These candidate should know the details about the big issues they comment upon and lay out their plan for how to solve/resolve these issues. They have access to the information now, either directly or through surrogates in office, to be able to provide more concrete answers. I fully recognize that being vague gives them a way out, but if your entire campaign comes down to “I can do a better job than Moccia” you better bring a plan to the table, not just vague ideas and hopes for what you will look into IF somebody gives you the job.
    Perhaps too many people have been conditioned to accept such generalities and vague responses from candidates. Perhaps they don’t really care about the answers. Rather they just care that their guys wins and will hope for the best.

  2. Piberman

    These reported candidate responses are disappointing to be kind. None of the candidates have either a “plan” or “experience” or team of advisors” to change Norwalk from the state’s highest CT’s provider of municipal services to one reflecting its modest income levels. Nor do their responses summed together suggest an informed understanding why Norwalk lags behind other cities in encouraging high valued corporate development. None of the candidates have issued any position papers on major City issues. The primary period ought to a period when candidates put their best ideas forward to demonstrate they are effective and knowledgeable challengers.

  3. EveT

    Interesting that Vinny Mangiacopra’s comments don’t include his usual line about throwing out the “old guard” and coming in as a young candidate with new ideas. His ties to Bridgeport politician Ernie Newton, a convicted felon, indicate just what kind of new ideas those would be: bringing Bridgeport-style corruption to Norwalk. No, thank you.
    Other candidates may have some worthwhile proposals, but Rilling is the one with the experience and the citywide respect to be able to implement his ideas and get things done. The bottom line is, Harry Rilling is the only Democrat who can win against Moccia.

  4. Dennis DiManis

    Sleaze De Luxe!

    None of the candidates has stated a platform.

    One was “involved in bringing new businesses to Monroe”, yet he states no plan for accomplishing such in Norwalk.

    Moccia or Rilling? 2 old guys in suits who both know the same drill. I doubt that there’d be more than a 10% deviation between what either of them would do in any given context.

    There are NHS and McMahon Class Of 2013 honor students who would actually do a better job for the city than these fossils.

  5. NorwalkLifer

    @EveT, doing some great campaigning for Harry today. However, let’s be clear that of all candidates his plans are the most vapid. Instead he’s just trying to run on his “experience” as police chief, a tenure that was pretty unremarkable. Even Andy has specific plans for streamlining a couple departments. And frankly, no one can tell the difference between Moccia and Rilling. Rilling just became a Democrat and the two worked together for years. Can you imagine the dirt they will throw at each other — that’s the last thing our city needs. Voters will just pick Moccia by default.
    @Dennis DiMannis, if you go back and search for the story on Vinny’s platform you will see exactly how he plans to bring more businesses to Norwalk — by fixing some pretty archaic problems in how City Hall is structured and does business.
    It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Norwalk and he can bring it. Don’t forget he has the Council slate behind him, which means he’ll be able to get the most done with them.

  6. LWitherspoon

    A few months back I posed this question: what specific changes would each candidate have made to the most recent City budget? What specific cuts would each candidate make or what specific additional spending would he include, and how exactly would he pay for it?
    NoN put this question the mayoral candidates, and not a single one of them answered it with any specificity that would indicate materially different priorities from the current administration. Yet they all declare that it’s time for a change. Peter Berman is right – it’s well past time for each candidate to tell us in specific terms what he would do differently.
    Can it be that all four are running simply because they want to be mayor, and when it comes down to the budgetary level they have no plans that diverge from the current administration?

  7. Tim T


    If your comment was true “Rilling is the one with the experience and the citywide respect to be able to implement his ideas and get things done.”
    Why is it we didn’t see that when he was chief?

  8. Norwalk Dinosaur

    No one is going to role out their specific plans until after the Primary. These candidates depend on countless Democratic interest groups for votes. With three weeks to go, no one is showing their cards until this election is settled.

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