Correction, 2:25 p.m.: $6,418 not $6,419
NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some items of interest that were seen or heard recently in Norwalk:
Detective work by telephone
A Derby man was unusually generous with the Democratic Town Committee this campaign season in a donation that could get the DTC in trouble, according to DTC paperwork.
Sean Bender contributed $6,418 at a fundraiser, according to the Oct. 10 filing with the Connecticut Secretary of State . That’s raised some eyebrows, considering that the limit for contributions to a town committee outlined in state statutes is $2,000.
Joshua Foley of the SEEC compliance office said the state had not caught the red flag.
“Somebody has to file a complaint,” he said. “We would bring the complaint before the commission at the next meeting, which is Dec. 18. Then we would have to decide whether to investigate.”
DTC treasurer Peter Thor seemed aghast in a voice mail left in response to a NancyOnNorwalk inquiry. “I must have added a zero,” he said.
Well that didn’t add up. But something else did – Sean Bender’s zip code is 06418.
Notice, that’s the same number sequence as the alleged $6,418 donation.
“That’s exactly what I did,” Thor said in the second voice mail on the topic. “I’m really glad you called because I was having trouble trying to figure out what the heck was wrong. Sean Bender wrote out a check for $25. I’m going to obviously be filing an amended report.”
Norwalk volunteers deserve respect
Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord was talking with members of the Tree Advisory Committee this week when he diverged into commentary about another Norwalk governmental body.
“I sympathize with the Oak Hills Authority because they’re all volunteers, just like all of you are,” he said. “They don’t make a penny from this and they field some ungodly wrath from people and some obscene wrath from people, quite honestly.
“They’re trying to make up for things that may or may not or should or should not have been done in the past, but an enterprise authority in the city of Norwalk is required to be self supporting, financially. It’s not supposed to be subsidized by the city.”
He went on to list the city’s three enterprise authorities: the Norwalk Parking Authority, the Water Pollution Control Authority and the Oak Hills Park Authority.
“(OHPA is) struggling to get into the black and there all kinds of political impacts and influences going all over the place, when you’re trying to make a business decision you can’t truly make a business decision,” he said.
The tree committee went on to give its blessing to an Oak Hills plan to remove 23 trees, all said to be in poor condition, from the course. Park employees will remove 20 trees while a tree company will take down the remaining three.
Alvord said each tree had been marked to give people the opportunity to protest to the tree warden — Alvord — and force a public hearing on the matter.
“Only one gentleman (protested),” he said. “A very persistent gentleman by the way — very courteous, real gentleman, but very persistent. Shelley (Guyer) spent a lot of time with him, Jim (Schell) spent a lot of time with him. Shelley donated his office to me one morning — he didn’t stick around for the meeting but he let me meet with this gentleman. At the end of the day, he withdrew his protest. It turned out that he wasn’t a member of the Sierra Club, he wasn’t with Greenpeace or anything like that, he just liked the trees where they were because he thought it helped his (golf) game. He plays out there four or five days a week.”
Powerful tree trimming
Alvord was concerned about the forecast of high winds and heavy rain Thursday. There had been some strong gusts the previous Saturday, he said.
“We and CL&P have done some serious tree trimming in Norwalk in the last couple of years,” he said. “We only had six power outages last Saturday and that was from limbs that fell on the service drops, in other words, private electric lines going into the house, not taking out distribution lines on the street.”
What a difference two years makes
Former Mayor Richard Moccia hated anonymous posters. Any visit to his office by this reporter included inquiries and complaints about the comments left on The Daily Voice by people using pseudonyms.
Then there was the end of his victory speech after he won re-election in 2011.
“To my friends on the blogs: I do not live in Stamford! John Connor, I know who you are. The ‘Oldtimer,’ I really know who you are. All of your innuendo, all of the lies that you put on the blogs with your anonymous names — you lose!” he shouted.
Mayor Harry Rilling sat in that same office three days after being elected and answered a question about a letter to the editor published the day before in The Hour.
“There’s going to be people taking potshots for the next two years,” he said. “We’re going to move forward and try to do everything that we possibly can. I didn’t even bother reading his letter, to be honest with you. I’ve got many, many more important things to do.”
He went on to mention the anonymous posters.
“I always say that if a person doesn’t have the courage to attach their name to something then what they have to say really doesn’t have much value,” he said.