NORWALK, Conn. – When Norwalk’s District C voters go to the polls Nov. 5, they will see a familiar name – Kydes – on the ballot running for Common Council. The name will be on a strange line, though – two lines, to be exact.
That’s because the candidate is John Kydes, a Democrat, who is running for the first time. His third cousin, Nick Kydes, a Republican, chose not to run for re-election.
John Kydes also will appear on the Working Family Party line.
Candidate Kydes had kind words for his exiting cousin.
“I have a lot of respect for Nick as a person and for what he has done for Norwalk,” John said. “Our political views may not always be the same, but I know that Norwalk is a better place to have had him.”
NancyOnNorwalk emailed a set of questions to all council candidates to help voters become better acquainted with the candidates.
Here are Kydes’ responses:
NoN: What are your priorities, and what do you bring to the board that should make voters give you the job?
JK: As a lifetime Norwalk resident, I have worked hard to gain the trust and respect of my community. If given the opportunity to serve on the Common Council, I plan to continue to hold the community’s respect and trust by providing a transparent government and promoting the increase of public involvement into city issues.
No effort is currently being made by our city to show residents that their opinions are valued. This lack of community involvement has caused residents to lose faith in their elected officials and has given them little hope for Norwalk’s future. If elected, I will work with local news outlets to inform the public on current Common Council agendas and the forum on which to comment. I will also commit to arriving a half hour early to Common Council meetings and listening to public opinions.
My goals as a Common Council member will be to stop the property tax increases with smart economic development and by optimizing Norwalk’s budget. Norwalk is and always will be attractive to new businesses and developers, due to of our geographical location. Now we must make the right choices. I will advocate for light industrial and corporate office projects that will have the least negative impact on our community but provide the greatest return.
NoN: Several council candidates listed the schools among their top priorities at the East Norwalk forum, but the council has little control over what goes on in the schools. Other than votes on the final budget figures, how do you propose to have an impact on Norwalk’s schools?
JK: As a father of two children in the Norwalk public school system, the BOE is a major focus of mine. In recent times, the BOE has struggled with budget cuts, salary freezes and layoffs. My concern is that nearly 60 percent of Norwalk’s budget goes to the BOE and yet those finances have not improved our educational system. My hope is that, with the help of Dr. Rivera and suggestions from council members, the BOE and the public, we can offer positive suggestions about how their budget can be utilized in the best way possible. Keeping the money in the classroom and leveling off administrative salaries would be a good start. As a council member, I will closely monitor expenditures, lobby Hartford to increase state funding and work to fully fund the BOE budget.
NoN: One of the biggest complaints we hear from our readers is about property taxes and how they just seem to go up. This year it’s around 4.8 percent. So what can be done differently, if anything, to hold the line on spending — or even roll it back?
JK: As a realist, I do not see Norwalk’s budget ever reducing. My goal is to maximize city revenue and optimize City expenditures. I will support development that will increase our grand list and has the least impact on our infrastructure. The goal is to attract businesses that provide living wage jobs and offset the current residential tax burden. With smart development choices and a unified Common Council, I believe we can raise our city’s revenue and diminish property tax increases for the foreseeable future.
NoN: Do you believe it is essential to read and understand the Common Council info packets before voting, or will you depend on discussions, staff recommendations and constituent input to inform your vote?
JK: Having the most information is imperative to making the best choices. I will read all the information presented to me and listen to everyone’s ideas and concerns. I also believe that elected officials have placed little importance on the power of a unified public. Much can be accomplished with the help of public support. Most notably being Norwalk’s development choices. I understand that Norwalk cannot stop developers from building, but local government can help inform the public on the negative effects of specified projects and provide an outlet for them to comment (e.g., BJ’s). By providing a transparent government with an effective outlet for the public to see current building applications, we can guarantee that future development projects have the best interest of residents in mind.
NoN: Would you support the formation of a charter commission?
JK: Norwalk’s city charter, for the most part, was written to represent years long passed. I will support the formation of a charter commission that will suggest changes that will allow Norwalk to move forward and solve modern day problems.
One change in particular that I would like to see is the extension of municipal terms to four years. Norwalk is one of very few cities in the state of Connecticut that has two-year terms. By extending terms to four years, Norwalk will allow elected officials the opportunity to see projects through to completion, give them the opportunity to be more productive and allow them more time to focus on public needs versus campaigning for re‐election.
NoN: Civility has been a big topic. What can you say to the voters to assure them that, if you are elected, they will find a kinder and gentler council?
JK: For far too long I have I sat on the sidelines and watched the right choices for Norwalk be delayed or not made at all, solely for the reason that political parties are not allowing themselves to agree. This problem has started a chain of events that is affecting our development choices, budget spending and our forward progress. If elected, I will diligently work to diffuse personal conflicts, mend relationships and get Norwalk back on track. I hope to have the support of the voters in the upcoming election but if not, I ask all the candidates to remember that we are all Norwalkers and we need to work together.
Leave a Reply
You must Register or Login to post a comment.