Soul of the Republic II

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Good day, Editor,

Previously this writer loosed his criticisms on the proposed monstrosity opposite the East Norwalk Railroad Station; or, the old Factory Store property where Pooch Hotel presently resides. Among the litany of ripostes were those from a respondent named, Rick. He seemed polite enough to be concerned as to whether he was insulting. Did not take umbrage with anything he offered. He made his case with some fine points. However . . .

. . . at this stage of the issue, concern is not with boat slips and emergency calls; against the overriding issue of loss of political power by the residents of East Norwalk. The proposal of the monstrosity in question near a whistle-stop railroad station is a bitter foretaste of what is to come. Mr. Alex Nosevich, just the other day in The Hour, leveled criticism at what he sees as, perhaps, encroaching urban decay, having lived as he once did in Bridgeport. The urban decay being the result, in part, of political corruption in collusion with opportunistic land developers.

East Norwalk already has a large block of rentals in the boondocks of the old Norden property. But the current proposal is in the community proper. And as long as this continuum proceeds unabated, it manifests the reality of the political situation: That no matter who East Norwalkers vote for — Democrats and Republicans — their position in the political process is anything but secure; underscoring John Adam’s warning:

“Power always follows property. Men in general, in every society, who are wholly destitute of property, are also too little acquainted with public affairs for a right judgment, and too dependent upon other men to have a will of their own. They talk and they vote as they are directed by some man of property, who has attached their minds to his interest. A balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue is to make the acquisition of land easy to every member of society, to make a division of land into small quantities. . . . If the multitude is possessed of landed estates, the multitude will have the balance of power, and in that case the multitude will take care of liberty, virtue and interest of the multitude in all acts of government.”

Addendum: The last commentary by this writer saw criticism of a five story monolith as hardly being conducive to the small town atmosphere that is East Norwalk; rather, a two or three story building as a center for the requirements of East Norwalk, including even a bookstore. This proved at odds with another writer who stated that a bookstore would fail. I would draw the writer’s attention up the line, Route 7, to New Milford. In the old city center, the Bank Street Book Nook, in business for many years. Brings in authors of name for discussions and book signings. House of Books in Kent, since 1976. Or back track to Ridgefield, Books on the Common, since 1984. But continue up Route 7, even into Massachusetts, Angus Books in Sheffield. The Book Nook in Great Barrington. . . Of course, if you reside in a benighted community where the most banal of superficialities has imprisoned minds of the most untutored variety, then yes, a book store will not survive.

Mark Albertson



Rick April 1, 2018 at 4:55 am

Mark you are correct loss of political power by the residents all over the city is an understatement.

If I may add to my rants the folks in Perryville MD are experiencing a modern day building nightmare as I write this. Boston a while back the same thing.

Boat slips and emergency calls were the theme maybe I can kick it up a notch.

This clip I added today shows a Trinity Financial building in Boston where a fire commissioner weighs in on type of construction according to building code is still a problem everywhere.

We have Trinity Financial building a large complex on Day st built according to code like your Norden complex.

Watch the clip listen to the facts by an expert Joe Finn and ask yourself is Norwalk ready for this all over the city? No doubt there are building codes but are they enough for modern high rises?

This is also Trinity Financial building in Boston in the clip


Piberman April 1, 2018 at 10:58 am

Nicely done. Any pretense of preserving or continuing Norwalk’s “small community” atmosphere was originally destroyed when our Political Leaders decided to transform western Route 1 into a haven for Big Box retailers paying low City taxes on their warehouses with low wages employees. Offering major league congestion. Suggestions that Big Box would destroy hundreds of locally owned businesses were cast aside. Home Depot would make Norwalk a “Great City”. Suggestions that small office and professional office building or even small apartment complexes were cast aside. And we know the consequences.

Upon that “success” attention turned to our long neglected downtown. With grand promises of major redevelopment that would Norwalk on the map. Fairfield Motors, a large Chevy dealer employing 50 was sacrificed for the “Big Hole”. For decades the “Big Hole” identified our City to I-95 commuters. Then we lucked out with the Mall without any follow through.

Serious redevelopment requires skills far beyond those of a City Hall that hired a planner from leafy New Caanan and an Economic Director from tiny Newtown. So its no surprise that the only game in town is building apartment complexes to attract commuters to NYCity with its soaring rents. Not only are they quite profitable but they enable City Hall to claim we’re moving “forward”. But not to a place we’d like to be.

Of course the financially aware understand that apartment building owners take advantage of depreciation in lowering their City bills. So we have the happy result that the City tax burden continues to fall on its homeowners facing a sustained decline in property values from over taxation for the first time since the War. And we’re now close to the magic 2% “tipping point” from which there is no return.

So the City’s future is pretty much pre-ordained. Downtown will remain pretty much in tact – the least attractive in the County. The Mall is likely to be successful in attracting out of town shoppers during day but bringing only small net tax benefits to the City. Not much follow through from the Mall. Then there’s the biggest boondoggle in the City’s history – the Walk Bridge disrupting Norwalk for years and years. Bringing no economic benefit to the City whatsoever. The only unknown is who the Bridge will be named for.

The reality is that Norwalk has long been in a challenging position with housing funding 90% of the Grand List, few commercial sources of taxation, surrounded by some of the best schools in the nation, a long shabby downtown cast off from its manufacturing years and with an old housing stock. So our City officials reached out to Big Box for salvation and are now reaching out to apartment developers. And will have the same success. Few long time residents/homeowners will retire in Norwalk. Nor will our children raise families here. No doubt we’re as City Hall claims “CT’s Greatest City”. A Prof. Manager or a far more skilled dam at City Hall might have saved us from further decline. But the tide has turned.

Low voter turnout and low turnout at City Hall public meetings reflects that collectively we understand City Hall has few constraints. As befits a one Party City. Renters from latest US Census data are now 1/3rd the City and growing. Studies by CPEC in Hartford decades ago identified Norwalk as the County’s most transient community – “first in first out”. That hasn’t changed.

Lookin back had City Hall been sited Downtown it might have sparked some rejuvenation. An oft proposed 4 year college would have certainly helped. We’re the State’s only City without one. Subsidizing small office buildings would have helped. There’s a long list of fairly standard measures that would have helped. But who was listening. That’s really the problem. Who’s listening ?

Rick April 1, 2018 at 10:11 pm

I noted in my first post that the folks in MD had a newly built condo that had a fire this morning around 3 am this is what you get when you get a building built to code . No matter who says you are safe its by the code is only a developer or a lazy public servant.

I would only think the examples that I share that are the here and now is some what of an argument you cant be lean on fire coverage.


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