NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some items of interest that were seen or heard recently in Norwalk:
Thunderboomers trump fire regulations
The Rowayton community center proved to be not quite up to the task Monday as a meeting advertised as an opportunity to show support for a proposed nature preserve drew more people than it could legally hold.
At least, that’s according to Sixth Taxing District Commissioner Tammy Langalis, who began the meeting by saying that the capacity of the room was 125 people, and that some people might have to stand in the courtyard, outside of the double door.
Indeed, they did, until shortly after Walter Schroeder elected not to speak.
There was a loud clap of thunder.
“No way I’m speaking after that,” Schroeder said, after his name was called.
Minutes later it began to rain. Langalis beckoned everyone in, fire regulations be damned.
And Rowayton Volunteer Fire Chief Ed Carlson was in the room.
Nothing if not consistent
John Mosby makes appearances at almost every Board of Education meeting to speak out about what he sees as racial discrimination. He’s also spoken up at one recent Common Council meeting and at Mayor’s Night Outs; the first time around, Mayor Harry Rilling suggested he’d put Mosby on a board, and, the second time, Rilling asked him to “wrap it up,” echoing the usual response of BoE Vice Chairman Artie Kassimis.
On Monday night, The Mosby Show was at the District B Democrats’ meeting with the General Growth Properties (GGP) team, one of the latest community discussions about GGP’s hoped-for mall.
This time, it was District B Chairman Bruce Morris’ turn to try to shut Mosby down.
In response to a comment about the diverse businesses expected by GGP, Mosby said he has lived here more than 50 years. “When I came I loved it because it was what you call a diversity town. … But I have a problem, I think we are being overlooked. I am going to speak out because I am always speaking out.”
Such a serious topic, and yet there were knowing smiles sprinkled around the room.
In the past, local leaders only went to certain people in the community, not everyone, Mosby said.
“I am going on the record with you. If we keep on going the way we are going we might not have any diversity and I’m going to tell you why. … It seems like now all the businesses — I have been noticing and I am not going to sugarcoat it — they get grants to help them, but the poor blacks don’t get nothing.”
There was a ringtone. “Let me get the phone,” Mosby said, although it wasn’t his.
That gave Morris his opportunity.
“Thank you and remember, if we keep the conversation here tonight, keep in mind it’s to hear from the developer and provide critical input to help with them with the development,” Morris said. “Can we stay focused on that? Mr. Mosby, I know you are an advocate, you do fantastic work fighting for us. But I want to stay within that context tonight.”
“Let me finish, Mr. Morris,” Mosby said. “Let me tell you I’m in the content. Don’t tell me, you cut me off. I’m dead serious.”
“Mr. Mosby, I’m the chairman of the meeting,” Morris said. “I am respecting you so I am asking you to do likewise, stay in the context. Finish your question please.”
“I am doing just fine,” Mosby said. “Let me finish what I have to say. What I am saying here tonight, and this ain’t sugarcoating, when any business come in here you never see the blacks on nothing. They can sweep the floor up, get the cash register, but they don’t own the business in the community. They can’t get no money to help them. … The blacks don’t have nothing. You’re going to call that diversity? I’ve got a right to speak up for my people.”
“Thank you, Mr. Mosby, there wasn’t a question in there, let’s move on,” Morris said, before state Rep. Larry Cafero asked him to let him respond to Mosby. Cafero said GGP is going to the community, and would be as many times as the community would have them.
About 11 minutes later, Morris expanded on comments about local businesses going into the mall with recollections about a targeted approach in New Haven, with spots predetermined for a minority-owned business. Mosby spontaneously joined the conversation, as he often does, with comments about grants.
“Let’s keep order,” Morris said. “Mr. Mosby, I need to keep order.”
Mosby got up and left.
Santo joshes Mushak
Mike Mushak’s not on the Zoning Commission anymore, but he was there anyway Thursday, sitting through the entire combined meeting of the Plan Review Committee and the Zoning Committee.
Just for fun?
After six years on the commission, Mushak sat silently as a member of the audience. When the meeting ended, Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Santo walked up for some friendly bantering, referring to Mushak’s recent zoning violation, now dubbed the “Flowerpot Scandal.”
“Did that pot move in your driveway yet?” Santo asked.
“I have a concrete ball there,” Mushak said, smiling back.
“I drove by. I’ve got it measured. If it moves one inch …” Santo said.
If you don’t know, Mushak and his partner, David Westmoreland, were recently issued a cease-and-desist order on their home relating to the front setback. It turned out that they were expected to have a flowerpot sitting in front of their house to keep people from parking on a stone driveway that had been grandfathered in. That hadn’t been made clear to them, they said. The flowerpot kept falling over and finally got damaged, so it had been moved, Westmoreland said.