This is a very exciting time for Norwalk. The need for new people with new ideas is more true and necessary today than it has ever been. Our city is tired of the same old song. But in these difficult times we need more than just people with ideas: we need people who aren’t afraid to speak truth to power.
We need people who aren’t just applying for government jobs, but who are applying for an opportunity to build their communities through service to government. That is why I decided to change parties this year. I had enough of the same old song. The idea that as a black man I was owned by the Democratic party just wasn’t good enough for me anymore, and I decided it was time for change.
I haven’t turned my back on Democrats. In fact, many of my friends and supporters are Democrats. We even have a group called Democrats for Darnell. As Lisa Brinton states: “we need a coalition in order to make true change.” That is why I am excited by all the support that I have received from both parties.
Many of us in the know, know that ‘freedom ain’t free,’ and fighting for it often comes at a cost. Over the last fifteen years, I have spoken truth to power in courtrooms all over Connecticut, New York and other parts of the country. Last year alone I won five jury trials in a row. I received Man of the Year by the Criminal Defense Bar for my work defending the Constitution and people of all races, both young and old.
This has angered some prosecutors who aren’t comfortable with an advocate who stands up for what’s right. As a result, I am now facing prosecution just like the people who are oppressed by this unfair system on a daily basis. Regardless of the outcome, I must stand and fight. Though I might not get to the mountain top with you, through my work, as Martin Luther King once said, “my eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
People want to know how my arrest would affect my candidacy. It won’t. Martin Luther King wrote one of his most powerful letters from a Birmingham jail. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in jail for standing up for what he believed in. Sometimes the most righteous leaders—those who are not afraid to speak up for the oppressed—are the first to face the iron fist of the law. Would we not vote for Martin Luther King today if he were alive, his arrest notwithstanding? Would we not support Mandela if we had the chance? Both were arrested fighting for the rights of others. Fighting for the rights of others has been my job for 15 years.
I want to focus on Norwalk. We have a lot of business to handle here. As a council member I will have only one focus: to fix what’s broken. I will ask the people of Norwalk what’s broken in their lives: from traffic lights to housing to trouble starting small businesses, and I will work on fixing it.
I support a growth management program that would ensure future large scale developments pay for their infrastructure and education costs. The Wall Street Place Plan with Citibank and John McClutchy does not do this. I oppose that plan, and I support tearing up the LDA and starting over. We don’t need to pay developers to build in a city the Mayor called “hot” at Monday’s debate. They should be paying us.
The new SoNo Collection mall is in the Enterprise Zone. The mall won’t yield full property taxes for eight years. That’s a “lay-away” plan we just can’t afford. ‘Tis the season to be jolly at best is 8 years away, and we all know a dollar is worth more today than tomorrow. Homeowners aren’t getting sweetheart tax breaks–why should developers?
Too many politicians have failed to ask the people what’s broken in their lives. I plan on bringing my skill as lawyer to my new position. I plan on reviewing lease agreements with the skill of a trained lawyer. My only concern is advocating for the people of Norwalk as I currently do for my clients.
I am not into friendship based governing. If I have something to say, I will say it regardless of who likes it or not. I support open and honest government that is accountable to all stakeholders, not just big campaign donors. The law department and the mayor’s office have weaponized confidential meetings with back door deals and secret handshakes. Too often the people of Norwalk are the last to know. We need to stop this practice. We need open and transparent government. We need accountability, not cronyism.
I am not concerned with joining crews or aligning myself with political parties. When we focus on the people of Norwalk and not just our friends on the council, the City is better served. Serving the City and the people of Norwalk will be my job and my mission, and my voice will be heard. That’s why on November 5, 2019 I am asking all of the people of Norwalk to vote for Darnell D. Crosland for Council at Large.
Darnell D. Crosland