Seen and Heard in Norwalk: Just say ‘no’ to the nuts

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano looks for opinions Wednesday in the Norwalk Inn.

NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some items of interest that were seen or heard recently in Norwalk:

Torrano wants top quality people to work with

Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano expressed some frustration at a recent outreach meeting, suggesting that the fringe players on the national stage color the perception of local party politics.

“In our party and in the Democratic Party there are some people who are just nuts,” Torrano said. “We are trying to find the people who are not. We are trying to find the people who are level headed, middle of the road, get-things-done type of people. That is why we are trying to reach out to all of the communities around here and say ‘listen, we are not different from you. None of us are rich. We are not that party of rich white people who live in Norwalk.’

“I know what our account has in our Republican Party right now, and I probably have more in my pocket right now.”

McCarthy: It’s in the genes

At the outreach meeting it was agreed that local Republicans are being held responsible for things said on the national stage. Common Councilman David McCarthy R-District E) said he had felt that pressure himself.

“That’s something that I get every day. I can’t tell you how many people have exploded on me because of something that, you know, a senator from Utah said. I’m like ‘what?’ That’s kind of with the territory. The perception – and it’s hard for me – that Republicans are, you know, big white guys. Well, you don’t get bigger and whiter than me. I’m sorry, that’s the way I was born I can’t change that,” he said to laughter.


Real estate transactions real nice for Norwalk coffers

On April 8, Deborah Reif bought 22 Shorehave Road from 22 Shorehaven Road LLC for $5.1 million. The city collected $59,750 in taxes from that one.

Martin Hacala and Jennifer Susan Jackson bought 8 Wilson Ave. from Charles Kwak (listed as living in Hong Kong) on April 9 for $1.76 million. The city collected $18,000 in taxes.


Board of Education positive notes

From comments lauding “Cinderella” and “Les Miserable” to an announcement about Chinese language instruction and gratitude to Norwalk teachers, Norwalk BOE members ended the public part of Tuesday’s meeting with upbeat sentiments.

BOE member Heidi Keyes began the commentary by saying the West Rocks Middle School students who starred in “Cinderella” offered “stellar performances.” Sherelle Harris said the Brien McMahon High School production of “Les Miz” was “nearly as good as Broadway,” which Mike Lyons and Shirley Mosby seconded.

Mike Barbis said Norwalk Instructional Specialist and Grants Coordinator Tally Negroni had made it possible to hire a hire full-time Chinese teacher, in a program sponsored by the state department, to teach Chinese to middle and elementary school students. Keyes also thanked Gloria Tenofsky and Craig Creller for helping the community understand GoMath and Common Core State Standards.

Jack Chiaramonte said he had missed “Le Miz” because his son was accepted into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and they had gone for a visit.

“I want to thank the district and I want to thank everyone the teachers out there, and all the jobs that they did to help him achieve his goal,” Chiaramonte said. “I thought about it — you know what, we have a damned good school district here. There are so many good opportunities here to excel in so many ways.”

Oh, and thanks to his son’s mom.


12 responses to “Seen and Heard in Norwalk: Just say ‘no’ to the nuts”

  1. Oldtimer

    There are some that think McCarthy is proof of too many crazy white guys in the Republican party.
    Torrano’s statement that he probably has more cash in his pocket than in the party treasury reinforces the “rich old white guys” label.

  2. Olga Arteaga

    Interesting response on NoN to the Republican Town Committee.”Outreach Committee” .
    Some of us have been involved with the Republicans for years. I’m a woman, a Latina, and a Republican. My late husband Guillermo Was the Vice Chairman of the Norwalk Republican Party.
    I’m confused by the Eastnorwalkchick response to the Outreach Committee, and I’m curious as to what policies is she referring to.
    I was disappointed in rburnett’s negativity regarding our attempts to reach out to everyone in the community.
    Come join us in discussion, we will post when our
    next meeting will be, and hopefully rburnett and the Eastnorwalkchick will attend and help us understand how we can better reach out .

    Olga Arteaga.

  3. Peter Torrano

    Oldtimer, if you consider $64 to be a sign of being an old rich white guy, then you’ve got me on that one. Good catch! And, I have to believe that since you only cherry-picked one person to disparage, a Republican, that you think all of our Democrats are exempt from my “nuts” statement. You are entitled to your opinion, and I respect that. We will be having another one of many meetings for the outreach committee, and I’d like to personally invite you to attend. I am interested, as are the others on the committee and in the Republican Party, to hear your views and recommendations on how we can better serve the public and attract more people who may be disenfranchised or who have misconceptions as to what we, as Norwalk Republicans, think, feel and do. No sense in tossing barbs at each other when we can sit, as Norwalk citizens with mutual concerns about the direction in which our city going, and come to agreement on some issues, and respectfully disagree on others.

  4. John Hamlin

    Yes, many of us are deeply offended by the right wing nut jobs in the Republican Party. But we are also repulsed by the left wing, public employee union worshipping, fiscally irresponsible radicals in the Democratic Party, which is just as destructive as the radical right of the GOP. There is no party for the socially progressive, fiscally responsible center. And so in every election we have to choose the “least bad” of the choices — balancing our sense of social fairness with our commitment to economic sanity.

  5. Piberman

    Decades ago Norwalk Republicans stood for conservative finance keeping taxes low or unchanged. Under the leadership of Mayor Moccia, BET Chair Wilms and Council president Hempstead the Party began spending to the point where our teachers are 5th highest paid in CT and City workers best paid of any City. Republicans don’t even talk about reigning in spending here in our local elections. So it’s no wonder they’ve lost effective control. And members. No amount of outreach will change perceptions. Norwalk has no party calling for lower spending or salaries. But it does gave years of stagnant property values. Maybe in the distant future a politico will see the connection.

  6. anonymous

    Norwalk republicans have their share of crazy guys, democrats have their share of crazy guys and ladies. Retiring with a public pension puts some added jingle in Torrano’s pocket Oldtimer.

  7. Peter Torrano

    anonoymous, you forgot that I also receive a social security check, albeit a very small one. I worked at jobs before and after the police department, and contributed to both my pension from the city and social security. Now in an effort at fairness, please disclose where and how you receive your salary or pension. Had you chosen to serve the public as a firefighter or police officer, assuming you would be able to pass the test and rigorous background and polygraph test, you, to, could collect a pension that you would have paid into. But, that is not the issue here. You are trying to move the conversation away from what is reported in the NoN story. Let’s talk about that. You, too, are invited personally by me to attend our next meeting. I’m more than certain that you will lend much inside and personal experience to the conversation, so I look forward to meeting you.

  8. Peter Torrano

    Forgive the extra ‘o’ in your nom de plume. I typed too quickly.

  9. LWitherspoon

    @John Hamlin
    Perfect summary of where things stand. In Norwalk we have one of the best examples of ‘public employee union worshiping’ in David Watts. During the discussion over outsourcing garbage collection to save money for taxpayers, Mr. Watts showed up at a Council meeting wearing an AFSCME union T-shirt. As a taxpayer I was deeply offended that someone who was elected to represent taxpayer interests would so blatantly declare that he was more interested in serving municipal employee unions than in finding the best possible deal to help keep our taxes in check.

  10. Oldtimer

    I picked one Republican, McCarthy, to illustrate why there is a public perception your party is dominated by rich white guys, because he, probably not on purpose, gives off that vibe with his public comments, and the causes he chooses to support. That makes him way too easy a target.
    I, of course, have no way of knowing how much cash you carry, or how much is in the local party treasury. but I know enough about the language to believe some read your statement about what you had in your pocket as boasting about your wealth. I am sure that was not your intent, but I think it was an unfortunate choice of words. Good luck in the town chairman job. With all the egos you have to deal with, you will need a whip and a chair.

  11. Peter Torrano

    Oldtimer, thank you for the explanation. Guess you had to be there to hear it. David McCarthy is a fine person with the courage of his convictions. He has a unique approach to politics in that he says what he believes and usually is able to back it up. Unfortunately, that trait has turned him into a lightning rod for many who disagree with him. I trust his judgement on many things, but he is one of 7 (8) councilpersons who are trying to keep the ship afloat. He is not alone. And, thank you for the kind words. Hopefully I and my companions, along with people like you and others on this site and elsewhere can start to work things out for Norwalk. We have a great city that is truly a wonderful place to live.

  12. Norwalk Spectator

    “Under the leadership of Mayor Moccia, BET Chair Wilms and Council president Hempstead the Party began spending to the point where our teachers are 5th highest paid in CT …. ”

    Come on, Mr. Berman! You teach at NCC, you’ve been around Norwalk for a long time. I would imagine that you would be somewhat marginally aware that Connecticut State Law does not allow the City administration to do anything more than vote a single line item budget allocation for the BOE. Yes, the Mayor is on the Board of Education as an ex-officio member, but I don’t think that he is allowed to participate in the teachers contracts. I also do not believe that any member of the BET or the Council are allowed to be involved. The State of Connecticut has a law on its books that requires towns to fund their schools at or above the same level that they did in the prior year. This is called the “minimum budget requirement.” (MBR – 2010-R-0057 ECS MINIMUM BUDGET REQUIREMENT) Read it and weep.
    The BOE Negotiating Committee is responsible for the negotiation of the Union Contracts and on the City side, the Personnel Department along with Corporation Counsel is responsible for the City contracts.
    You also might want to be aware of the fact the NFT ended up in arbitration last year and the arbitration board actually ruled in favor of the administration, and removed the contract stipulation that the administration pay the salary for the NFT President. That had been part of the contracts long before Mayor Moccia, Douglas Hempstead or Fred Wilms were on the scene. From what I heard, the arbitration board members were incredulous over that little concession.
    You mention “under the leadership of….began spending to the point where our teachers are 5th highest paid in CT and City workers best paid of any City.” Would you mind posting your data for that statement? I’d be interesting in seeing it, as would many others.

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