Watts takes aim at mayor – this time, Rilling – over Norwalk sidewalk disrepair

NORWALK, Conn. – Mayor Harry Rilling is leading from behind when it comes to sidewalks, Councilman David Watts (D-District A) said at Tuesday’s council meeting, drawing rebukes from other Council members.

Council members voted unanimously to spend about $20,000 on a survey of sidewalks in what Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord called the urban boundary, but not before Watts called Rilling out for providing “nothing but excuses.” Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E) shot back instantly, Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) commended Rilling and talked about the complicated nature of the issue, while Rilling sat largely silent, offering a few comments of rebuttal in the half-hour debate.

The study will provide a “report card” on the city, Council President Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) said in beginning the discussion, with a reminder that both the Ordinance Committee and the Public Works Committee are working on sidewalks.

Kimmel said some interesting questions had recently come up regarding the urban zone/suburban zone, which he said could be handled. The city has to abide by state laws, which puts the onus of sidewalk repair on property owners and yet make the city responsible if there is a liability.

“We are trying to work our way through a very, very difficult situation. We are not sure how this will eventually wind up. We are sure that we are going to eventually get a handle on it and move forward,” Kimmel said. “This small amount of money should … give us some kind of idea of what we are dealing with. To me, let’s not dwell on the urban/suburban zone and the different zoning issues that are going on here. Let’s get some data on our sidewalks and start to understand the dollars and cents that are lurking behind a lot of the discussion on sidewalks.”

Cue Watts.

“As the debate has emerged in the press I would be curious what the administration thinks about sidewalks because I haven’t heard from anyone in the mayor’s office at all on this issue,” Watts said. “It’s extremely troubling and frustrating when we don’t get any kind of communication back from this administration on what my constituents, our constituents, are going through, handicapped individuals and mothers pushing strollers on broken sidewalks. It simply can’t be to simply kick the can down the road. I think this administration has to have a policy on sidewalks and so far I haven’t heard anything. Maybe he may have communicated to you but as a councilman he hasn’t communicated anything to me. I find that extremely troubling.”

It’s a top priority in his district, he said.

“We expect that this administration will step up to the plate and hear what our constituents are going through and actually fix these sidewalks. Because it’s something — it just can’t happen,” Watts said. “All I am getting is nothing but excuses. I think the time has come to put together a plan, and if this jump-starts that, I am all in favor of it.”

Cue McCarthy.

“It’s not even particularly pertinent to this motion that is before us, but I think it bears mentioning at this point that this is the ninth time I have listened to that speech,” McCarthy said.

There followed a history lesson: In the first or second Public Works Committee meeting, information obtained by Kimmel was discussed and a plan was formed. That included having the city’s ordinance reviewed by Corporation Counsel and the Ordinance Committee.
“There has not been any comments or evidence or actual facts placed before this council that I know of or certainly the Public Works Committee that would indicate that there is any way shape or form that would indicate that the city of Norwalk should, could or would be able to pay to replace or repair all of the sidewalks in the city,” McCarthy said. “So it, I’m sorry to use the word, it continues to be extremely unfortunate that we continue to sort of bury the work that we might actually be able to get done to make this problem better by dividing the city for some reason that I can’t quite understand.”

Rilling at that point said that this year’s capital budget includes $150,000 more than the previous capital budget for sidewalk repair. “We are trying to move forward,” he said, echoing Kimmel and McCarthy in that a plan is developing, within the law.

A Van Zant Street sidewalk, well within Norwalk’s urban boundary.

Alvord fielded questions: For one thing, if property owners were to be required by the city to fix their sidewalks, the city would have control over the quality of the job through the permitting process. Alvord said, in response to Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A), that concrete sidewalks can last 30 to 40 years. Asphalt footpaths can also last a long time, provided they are not in the urban area where they are likely to have vehicles running over them, he said.

There was talk of reimbursements for cash-strapped city residents. Hempstead suggested that sidewalk repairs could be done in a manner similar to sewer installations, where homeowners are assessed and a 10-year payment program is used if the homeowner cannot pay up front.

“These discussions are going on in two different groups so nobody has put their head in the sand and tried to ignore it all,” Hempstead said, referring to the Ordinance and Public Works Committees. “I take a little exception to the remark.”

Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Shannon O’Toole Giandurco said her committee is having a public hearing about the sidewalk ordinance next Tuesday, the 17th.

Hempstead said the issue of the urban area vs. the suburban area bothers him.

“This is Norwalk,” he said. “Everybody pays taxes. Everybody is trying to make it a better community.”

Watts persisted.

“For a campaign issue by this administration, who said it was going to be a top priority on sidewalks and the video is out there, I don’t feel like it is a top priority. It is a top priority for the people in my district and I’ll criticize the Republican who was sitting in that chair and when a Democrat is sitting in that chair and letting down my constituents I’ll call them out. That’s what I am doing here. I think the mayor is leading from behind and not joining in on the debate to find out exactly how we’re going to fund and how we’re going to move forward with sidewalks. We have been kicking it around since the beginning of the council and I am hoping that the $20,000 is a jump start, but I also expect that this administration will have a policy that will be explained to the media and also to the urban core council people exactly what that agenda is, because so far it hasn’t been explained to me. It’s been very disappointing and frustrating.”

Rilling pointed out that Watts is on both the Ordinance Committee and the Public Works Committee.

“There should be no question as to what is happening and what is not,” he said.

“I have found the mayor more than cooperative and playing a very, very positive role,” Kimmel said.

Back at the beginning of this process, when Kimmel got the information that the city’s ordinance was in conflict with the state’s sidewalk law, he went to Rilling for assistance, he said.

“I was assured by the mayor that he would make sure that Corporation Counsel’s office addressed the issue. The most important issue first of all was the guarantee that we had an ordinance that conformed to the law,” Kimmel said.

Rilling made sure it moved quickly, Kimmel said. It’s only been a few months since the election, but there have already been informal discussions among Council members on the topic, Kimmel said. “I am pretty sure that the funding will be in place after the next capital budget.”

Kimmel said he has served as a Council member under four mayors. Rilling is the first to tackle the difficult, complicated and neglected issue of Norwalk’s sidewalks and footpaths, he said.

“In just a couple of months, we are redoing our ordinance, we are having this survey, we are having these discussions at the Council level, which I think are great,” Kimmel said. “… Perhaps I have been more patient than you are. I think we are moving forward. I think the discussion has been very good and I commend the mayor for finally trying to deal with a very expensive and very complicated issue. For too long it’s been ignored. Here we are finally to everyone’s credit dealing with this issue.”


71 responses to “Watts takes aim at mayor – this time, Rilling – over Norwalk sidewalk disrepair”

  1. Norewalk Lifer

    Let’s see, City Carting has growing pains and Mr. Kimmel is perhaps more patient,

    To me, that’s an excuse.

    Norwalk Lifer

  2. John Hamlin

    It’s clear that nothing will change unless the city forces homeowners to pay to repair and maintain their sidewalks. And if that’s the way the law is structured, then either change the law so that the city is responsible or enforce the law. I can’t see how spending $20,000 on another survey (like so many before) !that the Council will simply ignore will do much good. The only good thing about the Norwalk Common Council is that they make us appreciate the effectiveness and constant accomplishments of the US Congress — it’s a measure of how dysfunctional our Common Council has become when they make the US Congress look good! Perhaps it’s time for a new city charter so our city government has a prayer of working for us.

  3. Non partisan

    At many levels I can’t believe something so basic is not business as usual

    Easy- but tough to swallow fix

    Amend the code To include the following principals

    Sidewalks and maintenance of any area adjacent to a property to the curb are the responsibility of the abutting land owner.

    The municipality and associated taxing districts are also responsible for sidewalks abutting city owned land, as well as bridges, parks, etc

    The city engineer or DPW should put out a bid for sidewalk replacements on a Psf basis. Economies of scale would keep the costs down, and keep quality to an acceptable standard. Abutting property owners would be able to use their own contractor ( and required permits etc) or the city wide contract at Cost.. The city wide contract would be administered thru city hall. The costs for using city services would be treated as a tax lien.

    The chief code enforcement agent would be responsible for issuing violations for significant broken pathways and sidewalks.

    For major roadway improvements, (excluding periodic resurfacing) new curbs and sidewalks as needed (concrete regardless of location) would be a part of the road project

    In many locations the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and road curb (ROw) has desirable trees. These trees are vital to the overall well being of the city and should be encouraged. Sometimes theses trees are also a cause of the sidewalk condition. The sidewalks in these locations should be replaced by the city at no cost to the abutting land owner

    For construction projects requiring an updated certificate of occupancy the code enforcement officer should imclude abutting sidewalk in good condition as a requirement.

  4. Oldtimer

    I asked where, in State Law, is the requirement for abutting property owners to construct and maintain sidewalks. I was directed to a section in the statutes that was clearly repealed in 1982. There are other sections that make it clear abutting property owners have a requirement to clear snow, if the municipality adopts an ordinance, but nothing making the property owner liable for repairs or maintenance. Bristol and Middletown have ordinances making abutting owners responsible, but the authorization behind their ordinances is not clear. Where does Norwalk DPW believe it gets authority under the law to hold abutting property owners responsible for repairs and maintenance ?
    Link to Office of legislative research follows: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2002/olrdata/pd/rpt/2002-R-0939.htm

  5. One and Done.

    Hilarious. Another campaign trail check that Rilling can not cash.
    Seriously, can we pave roads first? This is like talking about getting new windows when the roof is falling in.
    One and Done.

  6. Suzanne

    Take the $20,000 and put it in the budget for repairing the sidewalks and forget the “study.” Who is doing this study anyway, who came up with the cost of $20,000? Why another “study” when paid employees or volunteer committees could do a decent evaluation visually and with comments to inform DPW, “There and there and there. That’s where you need to take your trucks and fix sidewalks.”
    This is, finally, starting to feel like a giant distraction. What could be made into a “Just Do It” project has taken over the workings of government. Pathetic.

  7. Joanne Romano

    City of Norwalk CT
    § 95-9
    Sidewalk repair.

    If any person, after having been notified in writing by the Director to repair properly any portion of a sidewalk adjoining his property which shall have become irregular and uneven, shall refuse or neglect to do so to the satisfaction of the Director within the time limit contained in such notice, such person shall be deemed guilty of a violation and shall be fined an amount established in accordance with the provisions of § 90-4, Approval of rates and fees. Each twenty-four-hour period after the expiration of the time limit contained in such notice shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. All such repairs shall be in conformance with the City of Norwalk Department of Public Works Roadway Standards and Standard Specifications. http://ecode360.com/27052313

  8. New Era

    This is interesting! Because we do need to be repair the sidewalks but sadly to fix them all will cause the homeowners to take out of the pockets. It tough choice to make if you are on the council. I believe we should check which part of the city needs it the most.

  9. Instead of a useless study to tell us the obvious – take that 20,000 and at least start to put in sidewalks on CT Avenue by the Wendy’s/Kohl’s Plaza (and any other incredibly dangerous road without a sidewalk) that is used by a bazillion people trying not to get killed. THEN lets move onto repairing the obvious sidewalks in disarray.

  10. Robert Celli

    @Joanne Romano, Thanks for posting the information on sidewalks. Do you possibly have any information, or link regarding what protocol should be when the City damages a taxpayers sidewalk leaving them irregular, uneven without runoff that will freeze in the winter, causes a dangerous condition to pedestrians, children, the handicapped, and then refuses to take responsibility for their actions, and correct the damage?

  11. piberman

    Maybe we could hire a City engineer to drive the streets and make a list of streets needing repair. And then post the list ? Some streets haven’t been repaved in 50 years. DPW officials have long been indifferent to street repairs in outlying Districts where there are miles and miles of streets with no sidewalks.

  12. Don’t Panic

    Again, we keep hearing council people assert that state law compels the requirement that abutting property owners repair the sidewalks, but there does not appear to be anything in the CGS to support this. We also hear council people suggesting that our own ordinance (which Ms. Romano was kind enough to provide) conflicts with state law, which it appears to do.
    Nobody has answered for the fact that some property owners have abutting sidewalks/footpaths and others do not. ARE WE GOING TO FORCE HOMEOWNERS to install sidewalks in order to make this fair? Can homeowners who are assessed for sidewalk repairs appeal/sue for inequitable treatment under state law?
    Will we see enforcement against large trucks and snow plows that continually damage the sidewalks we are responsible for maintaining? Or is it only the homeowners who must continually take the brunt of political grandstanding?

  13. Same old Same old

    One and Done is correct lets worry about the roads before we concern ourselves with sidewalks. Why do I get the feeling that the sidewalk uproar is due to the same group of big mouths that pushed for the unused useless bike lanes.

  14. scott huminski

    This comment was disallowed because it was way off topic.

  15. Robert Celli

    @Same old Same Old. If the city left you a mess outside your home you might be singing a different tune. I am not any part of any group, I am a homeowner and taxpayer whose sidewalk has been damaged by the city.
    All I am trying to do is have the matter rectified. I’m sorry if my call for the City to demonstrate civic responsibility and make reparations for their actions has caused a firestorm. The City has brought this upon themselves. It’s really very simple, fix the damage you’ve caused, make me whole, and I will say thank you and move on with my life, but until then I will intensify my mission to right this injustice!

  16. peter parker

    The city has already set a precedent regarding sidewalks. There are many examples, but two that come to mind can be seen on Strawberry Hill and Dry Hill. The city has given a vast majority of the homeowners on these repaving projects brand new sidewalks at the taxpayers’ expense, while leaving others with old and damaged sidewalks cause by the city’s negligence during the repave. Will the city now require these unfortunate homeowners to pay out of pocket to replace their sidewalks while most of their neighbors received them for free?

    Our government should treat all citizens equal, and fair. There is nothing responsible about this admiration’s continued practice of picking winners and losers, which is directly fostered by the actions of DPW Director Hal Alvord. It seems self-evident this conduct is condoned by the Mayor, his inaction speaks volumes.

  17. PNolin

    Thanks Joanne for posting the ordinance. (City of Norwalk CT § 95-9 Sidewalk repair). I remain skeptical that such provision is legally enforceable or constitutional. How can the government just take property ( dollars for repair0 from landowners without due process and without compensation. If the City as a whole wants sidewalks and wants them in good repair the City as a whole should pay for them from tax dollars.

  18. Joanne Romano

    I find it curious that a complete overhaul of the city ordinances has not been done since the one in place was Adopted by the City of Norwalk Common Council 5-10-1988….Somehow I believe laws and circumstances have changed in almost 30 yrs. I think it is high time that someone revisit these articles and upgrade them to reflect 2014!!! Things have changed folks, circumstances have changed…there are more homes, more taxes than most can afford, new equipment that is unfriendly to the average sidewalk/road and there are many other ordinances that need looking into as well. Time to revamp and re-do some of the outdated laws and ordinances before we spend $20,000 on yet another study. People can no longer afford to live in CT and are moving out in droves…Laws and ordinances are of no use in Ghost towns.

  19. Brennah McFadden

    @ David Watts- The great boxing champs knew how to take a punch. They knew that you don’t have win every round to still be a champ. Your good attentions aside, you need to start behaving like you belong in a legislative assembly and not like someone who is more adept at standing outside with a bullhorn.

  20. AnnMarieC.

    Norwalk’s problem isn’t outdated ordinances. Norwalk’s problem is too many politicians go along to get along when they’re in office.
    To the retired/deposed city officials who post here, and to the past, present and future General Assembly hacks too, when did you PUBLICLY stand up like Watts to fight the powers that be?
    I don’t think Watts “belongs” in Hartford with the deal makers and “yes” men- and that’s exactly why I’m voting for him.

  21. Kathleen Montgomery

    The amount of human hours on this issue is astounding! The group process in these meetings is ridiculously deficient. Put your egos aside, for crying out loud, and read the suggestions made by posters. Grow up and just get it done.

  22. Joanne Romano

    Calling out a fellow council member or Mayor in a public venue seems to be the norm these days as it has been in recent years. I suggest if anyone wants results, instead of making a public spectacle they need to roll up their sleeves and dig to the root of the problem. Disrupting a meeting and belittling people because there’s an audience gets “0” results. I am sure the Mayor would not be adverse to talking to any one of the council members with regards to a subject of such public outcry. During election time things seem to get louder and louder with the soapboxes being pulled out at every occasion … Actions speak louder than words…

  23. peter parker

    @BrennahMcFadden, I couldn’t disagree with you more. David Watts is doing what it takes to get action and resolve. If not for him this council and Mayor would likely sweep this issue under the rug like councils past.
    I didn’t know there was a rule book on how to be effective as a councilman. During the gentrification of Hoboken, NJ the then Mayor Tom Vezzetti used to walk through the streets with a bullhorn asking for constituents support, and to bring unjust issues to light.
    As crud as it may have appeared to many at the time, it proved an effective tool in his fight to rally support. He is to be credited with much of Hoboken’s current successes.
    Watts may have some issues, but like the rest of us he’s not perfect.

    Mr. Watts keep up the fight! Bravo, bravo!

  24. LWitherspoon

    “This is clearly a discrimination issue. This is discrimination,” Mr. Watts said at 1:35 in the video above.
    I was wondering when Mr. Watts would play the race card. As usual he is full of bombast but has little inclination to work with others towards a constructive solution. Guess Mr. Watts isn’t up to the task, just as he isn’t up to the task of paying his property taxes. In Mr. Watts we have a Councilman who has unpaid tax bills stretching back to 2011 who shows no hesitation about taking even more money from Norwalk taxpayers for his pet projects.
    Mayor Rilling pointed out that Mr. Watts sits on the two committees responsible for sidewalks and should have no doubt as to what is happening with respect to sidewalks. Could it be that Mr. Watts’s ignorance is due to absences from committee meetings?

  25. Same old Same old

    I think you misunderstood my post. It was not referring to your situation. It was referring to the ones that want to do over each and every sidewalk.. Sorry for the confusion.

  26. peter parker

    Same old Same old,
    Thanks for the clarification. Sorry here as well.

  27. rburnett

    Watts has finally done it!! Showed us why we should elect Chris Perone. Watts is an embarrassment to our city with his public diatribes. If we send him to the legislature, he will embarrass us in front of the entire State of Connecticut. No, the best thing for us is to defeat him this November and again next November.

    He got tossed in New Haven, now we have to deal with him. When he doesn’t get his own way, he stomps his feet and whines like a baby throwing a tantrum.

    The sooner we say “adios Watts” the better off we will be.

  28. The Norwalker

    The streets and sidewalks have been left to disintegrate for 10+ years. This year I have seen more work on streets than any year before.

  29. EveT

    It will be interesting to see if any current Common Council members run for mayor when we have municipal elections next year.

  30. Joanne Romano

    Here’s a great page of information on Ordinances by cities and towns throughout CT…I would imagine that you would have to take time to look at each but perhaps there’s info here that can be beneficial. http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/ordinances.htm

  31. we the people!

    @ Lwitherspoon

    Watts wasn’t speaking about race he clearly referring to the Urban Core vs. Suburban area.

    Your the one playing the race card if you think only minorities live in the urban core and whites only live in the suburban area.

    You’re a part of an organized slime campaign against (Watts) and you really need to go have a seat on Dr. Phil’s couch.

    Great job, Watts!

  32. rburnett

    Good grief Charley Brown!!! How many pseudonyms does Watts have? Peter Parker, We The People among the most recent. Fortunately he cannot hide his identity because he repeats the same things over and over again.

    Time to say “TaTa Watts”.

  33. One and Done.

    The Norwalker is obviously trying to equate current projects with the administration. We have yet to begin operating on this administration’s first budget, fyi.

  34. One and Done.

    @We the people.
    We know exactly what and who Watts is talking about. And we know exactly why Watts didn’t send any buses into the suburban core.
    I think people know the difference between rain and you know what on their backs.
    One and Done.

  35. Joanne Romano

    @ AnnMarieC- Thanks for the title of hack. I guess the 18+ years in city government qualifies me for this? What is a hack is those who don’t show up for committee meetings and only pick and choose items on their personal agendas…You have the right to choose who you vote for and that is your right but before you call anyone a hack you might want to check your words.. apparently it’s ok to call the rest of us hacks but its not ok to take the Watts’ of this world to task for their actions. Check previous committee meetings and see which ones were attended and which ones weren’t. There is a pattern and it all points to “delusions” of grandeur. Some people believe theirs is the only right way. others look at things from all angles, not just to get elected but to make a difference in the entire city not just those who voted for them in the past or those who can /will vote for them in the future or those who blindly push their agendas for them. Here’s the bottom line, when you become an elected council person your votes represent the entire community, you can’t pick and choose. I am so tired of hearing how one person is the almighty savior of all things Norwalk. I for one am glad I am no longer a part of this Saturday Night Live skit…call me a quitter(as certain people have done in the past) if you like but there comes a time when you can longer take the verbal abuse and innuendos and you need to step back and watch it from afar. The Mr. Watts’ of the world need to step back and reassess what it is they wish to accomplish and keep in mind, there’s no “I” in team and that’s what the council people are supposed to be…a team of people with the mindset of doing what is right for the entire city. So say what you like…apparently you too are very narrow minded.

  36. we the people!


    Nice try but you couldn’t be more wrong. Watts has taken a lot of abuse on this site and some of it may be justified but lying on the guy is just wrong.

    R burnett your conspiracy theories and threats are entertaining. Watts will not go away quietly. However, you could always put the “TaTa Watts” on your Charley Brown Christmas list.

  37. Suzanne

    OK, enough of the Watts hyperbole already. In reference to repairing Norwalk’s sidewalks:
    We pay taxes not just to support the staff at City Hall but to provide infrastructure and services. A sidewalk is a public conveyance and, as such, should be repaired by the public municipality under which it resides and to which we pay our taxes.
    The code compliance to the correct specifications for a public sidewalk would be a risk if each homeowner was required to pave it. Multiple homeowners having sidewalks installed or installing them themselves are not engineers nor pavement specialists. Presumably that would come under the auspices of those that do the paving of streets: DPW.
    Teach the DPW how to make sidewalks. From the pictures shown so far on NON, there is clearly no perception as to correct pitch which causes flooding, no inside border which leaves the asphalt vulnerable to cracking, patching that changes the height of the sidewalk causing tripping hazards all which leads to liability issues that the City will be responsible for (as explained by Mr. Kimmel above.)
    The liability issue is increased without standards of practice for sidewalk repair: not to repeat but both DPW and multiple installers would need costly inspections to ensure the repairs are done correctly. Currently, it is clear that they are not.
    Whatever the ruling statutes in other towns, I wish this Council would use some common sense and resolve this issue. In that regard, I have no confidence that other towns have fared so well given the lack of common sense in general in our culture.
    Without hyperbole, I do not believe this is a discrimination issue. It is a resource, commitment and time waster issue. All of the committees examining this, dispersed throughout City government when a directive and single vote could get the process started.

    If this project seems too expensive, in spite of all the taxes citizens of Norwalk pay, get busy and repair and/or replace sidewalks incrementally until the whole is done. A little bit completed within a budget is better than nothing done at all and damage done to homeowners’ property left in disrepair.

  38. spanner

    @rburnett I guess your posting will solve the sidewalk problem thank you.

    Its odd anyone ever think after a street is done and the sidewalks are not,it leaves water as chance to get back under a new street and destroy it? Gas company water dept and others dig up sidewalks for repairs close the hole and if not done right well what too bad for the homeowner when it comes to fixing the patch or sometimes the sink hole?Where are those circustances written into the entire picture?

    Maintain my sidewalk but can’t park in front of the house maybe we can use Kimmels driveway for guests.

    Anyone ever watch Perone in action on the floor of the statehouse? He embarrass us in front of the entire State of Connecticut all the time but what does he have to do with the sidewalks?

    How can trucks park on the sidewalk?Cars are given tickets for that there is a law for that its done all the time by Norwalk PD isn’t it $100 dollars?Start a sidewalk fund and use the poor people of Norwalk to foot the bill.Oh thats right we have a council who does that all the time hey they should have no problem screwing the taxpayers on this one.

    Watts is on to something,its not having a mayor who is credible,whens the last time any news agency has had him telling the city how he feels on any subject?

    To draw the reps in and tell us how great they are is childish,they cant do State house stuff and only if the sidewalk was in front of NEON would fluff get involved.

    The sidewalk issue should be addressed by those old timers like Bruce and Doug.Sidewalks were made large on Lowe st to prevent UPS trucks from using the street,that went well everyday the UPS trucks use the street and those homeowners didn’t have to spend a dime.Like the State reps anyone spending enough time in politics in Norwlalk seem to develope brain farts and to be honest Watts hasn’t been there long enough not like those who simply can’t run crap then get elected and spend our money and tell us all they know what they are doing.

    Imagine making a sidewalk larger to prevent truck traffic a sign couldn’t of worked?Bob Fluff got no truck thru vote heaven and did it without touching a sidewalk,yet what was left was traffic in Sono backing up from the bridge down water st arond the corner to Woodward and down meadow to Rowyaton.This now happens on a daily basis.

    I don’t want the job but why do others who tell us they will use logic in decisions continue to hammer the taxpayer and play games here in Norwalk and Hartford

    One more thought,why does LAZ fix and repair sidewalks and install signs and meters with no professional equipment?The DPW has a truck just for this.LAZ uses two barrels strapped to handcarts and usually leaves the prized brick sidewalks Norwalk spends money on in disrepair after their job is done.

    The way it was Kimmel was on our street humping for votes last election he didn’t notice how poor the sidewalks were then?I like the guy but he is useless when it comes to challenging fact fed to him by his people.Wake up its the here and now!

    Who is on the sidewalk review board and curb cut committee?Real Estate agents never mention your responsibility for the sidewalks why is that?

  39. Joanne Romano

    Suzanne, I am not disagreeing nor taking fault with your statement however, I did post the ordinance above and it specifically states “All such repairs shall be in conformance with the City of Norwalk Department of Public Works Roadway Standards and Standard Specifications”. City streets owned by the city should be maintained/repaired by the city accordingly and residential/commercial properties should be maintained/repaired by the home/business owner as well should the state maintain state roads/sidewalks. While we may not agree with this assessment, unless the ordinance is re-written, it stands as is.

  40. Joanne Romano

    With regards to repairs to properties by the city/state for damages caused by city vehicles and or state vehicles etc. The proper avenue is to file a claim with the city or state, get an assessment of the damages and always submit pictures and proof. If the damage is deemed to be the negligence of those entities then it should be their responsibility to make the repairs according to the guidelines of the city ordinance. Or at least this is how I believe it should be. You may have a different idea and or answer to this dilemma.

  41. Suzanne

    Ms. Romano, thank you for your response. There is nothing to say that the ordinance is binding especially when you are also saying that the City ordinances need revision to 2014. It is peculiar to me, likewise, that these ordinances seem to be followed on an at will basis depending upon what department you are in (witness the latest DPW debacle.) The fact that the ordinance is on the books does not mean the City needs to continue to follow it like a bunch of sheep over a cliff. If you live in Norwalk, pay taxes to Norwalk and have a municipal sidewalk used by the public whether you are in an urban or residential area, I believe it comes under the auspices of a Norwalk repair. And, frankly as one of those homeowners who lives in a residential area, does not have sewer connection and frequently walks the “sidewalks” which exist and don’t exist, I am tired of paying more taxes with very little benefit. I am sorry I don’t live in town, I just don’t, but I still pay my taxes and do not think I should be penalized for that with fewer services. Common sense, what a concept.

  42. Joanne Romano

    Suzanne re; There is nothing to say that the ordinance is binding especially when you are also saying that the City ordinances need revision to 2014…exactly my point…if it is not adhered to then there must be something that needs fixing! It’s not an easy fix but it should be a long term goal.

  43. AnnMarieC

    I never considered any common councilors as “hacks”, just state assembly members (and wannabes who would make a deal with the devil to get a nomination).

    Common Councillors get pennies a day to take heat from us, go to a lot of committee meetings, do some good deeds and live under way too much public scrutiny (and abuse) when they’re in office. Sure, I think more of them should take a stand like Watts- but having 11 Watts’ on the common council probably wouldn’t work out too well for us.

    Problem for me is that I find out what’s going on in Norwalk reading The Hour and NoN. It’s rare that I read about councilors fighting to defend their positions or breaking a sweat to convince enough people to vote with them. Too many times it’s about a party line vote. That doesn’t make sense because I’ve never seen a red or blue sidewalk, a liberal or conservative pot hole or a fire that put itself out because the house that was burning belonged to the same political party as the flames.

  44. Don’t Panic

    It would be nice to have a little “broken windows” style enforcement BEFORE the damage is done and a claim needs to be filed for an expensive repair that neither the homeowner NOR the taxpayer should have to pay.
    Is it really to much to ask that the police issue tickets to the companies who blatantly park large commercial vehicles on sidewalks overnight?
    Is it to much to ask that plows slow down a little to avoid damaging curbs and inundating sidewalks and setbacks with salt-laden snow?
    Is it beyond our ability to be fair and ask all citizens to contribute to a public resource (and liability) ?
    People keep waving that Gallup poll around and asking why people want to leave CT. This is going to drive people out of Norwalk.

  45. Joanne Romano

    @ AnnMarieC, I beg to differ with you, here is your exact post…does not separate but includes all: To the retired/deposed city officials who post here, and to the past, present and future General Assembly hacks too. It seems as if you are disenchanted with everyone so why not run for one of the above offices and work toward the ultimate goal of a perfect world. One shouldn’t generalize if one is not willing to be a part of the solution. We can all be armchair politicians but those who step up to the plate should be commended for the work they do and if they are unable to do their job then vote them out. It’s as simple as that but don’t get in a huff when someone doesn’t agree with your view point. We all have a right to voice our opinions.. Isn’t America great?

  46. Suzanne

    I see what you are saying, Ms. Romano, but I also hear Ms. C’s point: the party line seems to be everything here with little allowed for independent or best thoughts or actions about a given issue. In fact, there are no differences in sidewalk nor pot hole color but the way this Council works, and perhaps this is true in government everywhere but especially in Norwalk, allegiances are built and sacrosanct over and above what seems to be good for people living in Norwalk. Councilpersons are not paid positions – the people occupying them, for whatever motivation, took on the job and I cannot feel sorry for them and worry about how “difficult” it is for them. That they receive vehement and sometimes downright nasty responses, what do they expect from an engaged constituency? Especially, again, when members of the Council show such disregard for their community.

  47. LWitherspoon

    @we the people! aka David Watts
    After you stated that the sidewalk issue was “clearly discrimination” you went on to extoll Norwalk’s diversity.
    Google “definition of discrimination” and you will find the following:
    “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”
    Nice try, but you can’t change the meaning of words you used.
    Instead of insulting me, you would be best served to try and dispute the factual statements about your record that are contained in my comments. Let’s have a conversation about your official actions as a Council member, rather than the childish games that you so often play.

  48. we the people!


    Do you dream of Dave Watts? Why don’t you sit on somebody’s couch and explain your obsession and addiction to all things Councilman Watts.


    You’re playing the card and you’re losing badly.

    According to Merriam-Webster discrimination is defined as “the practice of unfairly treating a group or people differently from other people or groups of people”

    This comment has been edited to comply with our policy.

  49. LWitherspoon

    @we the people aka Councilman Watts
    Yet again you don’t dispute any of the factual statements contained in my comments, and your insults violated NoN’s TOS and had to be edited out. A bit of friendly advice – be careful to stick with posting as “we the people!” – if a comment appears from “minimum wage worker” then you’ll be in violation of the rules on sock puppets as well.
    And how convenient that you selectively copied the definition of discrimination from merriam webster, leaving out the following: “b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment ”
    I’m glad to see that there is bipartisan agreement on the Common Council that your attack on the Mayor was factually incorrect. How embarrassing it must have been to have the Mayor point out that you sit on both of the committees responsible for sidewalks and as such have no excuse for your ignorance of what is being done on that issue.

  50. LWitherspoon

    Part of the above copy-paste from Miriam Webster was truncated. It should read “b: prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment [racial discrimination]”

  51. we the people!


    You live in a third world nation mindset where the highest leader cannot be questioned and those that attempt are maligned.

    FYI This is American pal .. it is our duty to challenge the status quo and ask the tough questions.

    You could move to other countries and have your freedom restricted but here in America we elect people to defend our freedom and property rights.

    Watts is not a perfect guy but I respect his courage to say what everyone was thinking. Where is Harry on sidewalks?

    You’re blinded by your love for Councilman Watts.You hang on his every word and remember the clothes he was wearing the night you fell in love.

    Get lost..Kick rocks!

    PS.The only sock puppets are those who would defend inaction.

  52. LWitherspoon

    @David Watts
    Again, no response to the facts in my comment. A rambling string of non sequiturs is not going to convince anyone of anything.
    If you want to know what’s going on with sidewalks, perhaps you should attend your council committee meetings as this is where the real work of council gets done. Is Joanne Romano correct that you were absent from 3 out of the last 5 ordinance committee meetings? It appears that there is bipartisan agreement that your attack on the Mayor was simply wrong. Democrat John Igneri stated to NoN, “Mayor Rilling is already making progress to enhance our sidewalks and footpaths.” Democrat John Kydes stated to NoN, “I commend Mayor Rilling for taking on sidewalk improvement, as this is no easy task!”
    Certainly the task isn’t made any easier by your uninformed grandstanding. How ironic that you would complain about lack of progress on sidewalks at the very meeting where Council voted to approve a survey of all sidewalks to determine their condition.
    Please will you tell us the real reason you were unhappy with the Mayor on Tuesday night? Did he refuse something you wanted to give a municipal employee union? Did he refuse to endorse your campaign for state legislature?

  53. One and Done.

    This blog is brought to you by Zoloft.

  54. Suzanne

    Or may, One and Done., if you read enough of this stuff, by Percoset!

  55. Joanne Romano

    Lwitherspoon..agendas and meeting minutes are public should anyone dispute the lack of attendance.

  56. we the people!


    Did you ever miss a council meeting or quit the city council?

  57. Joanne Romano

    Yes David. I actually missed a council meeting when I lost my eyesight from an Amoeba eat my cornea but it was only because the pain was so bad I couldn’t get out of bed. And yes I quit the council because of stuff just such as this and the constant degredation from some council members wishing to make a name for themselves. Died that answer your question?

  58. Joanne Romano

    Sorry for the mis spells. Writing this from my android that chooses its own words.

  59. Joanne Romano

    Too bad that those who wish to condemn others can’t realize what they themselves are doing wrong!!

  60. we the people!


    What are you trying to say? I lost my secret decoder ring 25 years ago.

    According to your own statement things come up. Council members are volunteers and do the best they can with time management.

    Stop being so self righteous. Ok?

  61. LWitherspoon

    @David Watts
    I think what she’s trying to say is that your behavior as a member of Common Council is an embarrassment to all of Norwalk. Also that your priority is personal advancement rather than doing right by the taxpayers whose interests you should be representing.

  62. Joanne Romano

    we the people! not even worthy of a reply!!!

  63. It’s so embarrassing for Watts to have these commentaries in these public articles. He is an embarrassment to everyone he “represents” – An egoist […] – wow, just what Norwalk needs to be representing them in Hartford (oh, that’s right, he will NEVER make it that far).

    This comment was edited to conform to our policy.

  64. Chevy Vega

    A Happy Fathers’ Day Wish to David Watts.

  65. peter parker

    I think the bunch of you are delusional. Do you really think David Watts has time for this nonsense! You are all so far off base it’s laughable, and actually somewhat sad. So let me see if I have this correct, anyone that disagrees with you is David Watts using an alias screen name? LOL

  66. I think Watts has a lot of time on his hands since he is not employed.

  67. One and Done

    @PeterParker aka SpiderWatts. “Do you really think David Watts has time for this nonsense”.
    Well, we know he doesn’t have time for meetings. Since he still isn’t reading his packets now that we bought him an Ipad, just maybe he is using it to post with another alter ego?

  68. we the people!

    Watts is a good councilman and you haters know it.

    @peterparker you are correct!

    A week later these clowns are still hanging on. They can not debate the issues..so they resort to name calling and dumpster diving.

  69. @Watts,
    You should know about dumpster diving….
    As for name calling – you can’t even get through a post without name calling. If you reread your own post, you are directly at fault for your own accusation!!
    Wow, you are some piece of work (and not a good one at that).

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