Actually, I was the only person who voted NO to this raise. I am a Progressive Democrat. It was a tripartisan coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and one Unaffiliated who approved this raise (everybody else on the CC minus one absent member & Matt Miklave, who recused himself). Even Nick Kydes, arguably our most fiscally conservative Republican, voted YES to raise the next Mayor's pay.
- Councilwoman Anna Duleep View Comment
Their presence was much appreciated, Chairman Lyons! There is the possibility some capital bonding funds may be released by the state for school safety measures. I urged Interim Superintendent Daddona to have a proposal ready when/if this "pot of bonding money" (per Sen. Beth Bye) is funded. I want Norwalk at the head of the line. I agree with him that $100,000 will likely be insufficient to implement the school security measures ultimately recommended by the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety. It couldn't hurt for these legislators to hear from Norwalk's BOE: http://www.cga.ct.gov/ASaferConnecticut/ View Comment
I was happy to run into three members of NEON leadership, including Pat Wilson Pheanious, at the Hartford Capitol yesterday. I was there testifying before the School Security Subcommittee. As I was walking Pat to the door, the WTNH reporters told me I'd appear on their 11 o'clock broadcast. I mentioned several Norwalk issues to them, including the battle between Mayor Moccia and NEON leadership as NEON transitions to a new, regional board. They were very interested in having their colleague who covers Fairfield County look into this issue, among others in Norwalk. I then proceeded to Rep. Chris Perone's office. Chris is now the Chair of the Commerce Committee. He and I discussed this issue at length. I am gathering more information on this; I appreciate help hearing from affected residents.
Councilwoman Anna Duleep (At-Large) View Comment
Although I agree with some of your points (re violence committed with legally obtained guns), I dispute your thesis. I refer to this quote from the Washington Post article: "Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence. But one thing he found was, perhaps, perfectly predictable: States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlations can be suggestive." [http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/] View Comment
@Ken: I've taught in the classroom. Even before my dog was shot to death in my backyard in 2008, I considered getting a concealed weapon permit to help me protect my family. One major reason I have as yet not pursued a gun permit is weighing the risk of accidental injury vs. personal sense of safety. I believe I would have posed a greater risk to my 7th-graders if I brought a gun into a school, even if I were the best shot in the world and the most conscientious gun owner ever.
Those teachers in Newtown saved lives by following protocol (locking doors, hiding children in closets, and shielding them with their bodies). Whoever managed to turn on the PA system saved lives by warning all the adults in the building. I highly doubt any teacher would be able to stop such a terrorist attack by carrying a weapon.
As a Councilwoman, I struggled with budget cuts in recent years in part because of my desire to keep "school resource officers" already in place in some Norwalk schools. But I do not believe the answer is necessarily to have more armed police officers in our schools. This is a complex issue requiring attention to many different factors. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this on the floor of the Common Council. If that proves difficult, perhaps we could arrange a public forum at a location other than City Hall.
I encourage Norwalkers to check out the following website to learn more about routine screening for mental health issues: http://www.teenscreen.org/
This recent Washington Post article is also worth reading:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/ View Comment
As I've stated elsewhere, I thank you for your feedback. I agree wholeheartedly that the term "dickish" is inappropriate for a legislative meeting. Right after I said it, I realized it was a juvenile response; I should not have allowed my temper to flare following Mayor Moccia's repeated interruptions. I shall henceforth endeavor to hold myself to a higher standard than that to which my 7th-graders descend! View Comment
I see the point about "firsts," but must point out how important those "firsts" can be to one's community. There is a quote (attributed to the late Gov. Ann Richards, I think) where she describes visiting an elementary school. A little boy asked her, "Can boys be Governors too?" Adults find that funny, but for a boy who had only met one (female) Governor, it was a realistic question.
When I was appointed to the Common Council in 2009, we were trying to figure out how many Councilors had been of Indian descent. Because outgoing Councilman Doug Sutton (and my family) knew the late former Councilman Ram Hingorani, we knew there had been an Indian man - once. We came to believe I was the first female of Indian descent (to be appointed, be elected, serve as Majority Leader, and -thanks to Mike Geake- serve as Minority Leader!).
At my DTC election to fill Doug Sutton's seat, we had dozens of Indians -some from neighboring Stamford- and one little brown girl sitting near the front. Because she saw a politician who looked like her, she knew she could run for office too. I am told there were members of the Indian community who thought I was beating Rep. Larry Cafero in 2010 because the news switched our numbers. Of course I lost, but just the IDEA that a female Indian challenger could unseat the Minority Leader himself was inspiring.
So it's not about only serving one's ethnic community. As President Obama says, we serve everybody - whether they voted for us or not. It's just that, when you're the only one (from whichever group), there is a pressure to be an example. If I choose not to run, it's more than a personal choice; it's (in a sense) letting my community down. If there happen to be plenty of Indian Norwalkers running that year, then I'm not letting anybody down. The burden of representing is off any one person's shoulders. As much as I hate the policies of Gov. Nikki Haley and Gov. Bobby Jindal, and would NEVER vote for either, I do have some level of pride in their accomplishments. View Comment
My colleague, Warren Pena, is adding this chairmanship to his duties as an At-Large Councilman. He is not leaving the Common Council. In fact, he is succeeding me as our new Minority Leader! http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/pena-to-become-minority-leader-on-norwalk-council-republicans-haven/article_5008620e-90bf-511a-bd75-6b66d9c1b815.html View Comment
I'm not sure how it will affect the process. I was sorry to hear of Dr. Marks' resignation. We will have to deal with losing her as an advocate. The BOE will have to conduct a search on top of their efforts to lobby Hartford. The news itself could cut both ways. It might make some curious and thus more inclined to learn about Norwalk. Others might want to hold off on investing more money until our situation stabilizes. I know (at least by anecdote) that some in Hartford join us in wanting the results of an independent forensic audit of NPS books. If Commissioner Pryor responds to Lisa's letter in a positive manner, that can be good for Norwalk. But there's always the chance legislators who don't want us to get more funding at the expense of their districts will use our turmoil as a reason to vote against us.
The main thing is to draw the attention of Hartford decision-makers to Norwalk's plight. We don't have to convince our Hartford delegation; we've got to convince the people who don't live here to look beyond our grand list. That's why I want to focus on inviting the ECS Task Force to meet in Norwalk. Requesting a meeting (or submitting testimony to the ECS Task Force) is one way we can help while events unfold in Central Office/BOE. Imagine the impact of a SRO crowd in our Concert Hall. Perhaps it would be easier for Stamford residents to turn out in force. Even if they choose not to hold a meeting in Norwalk, every request puts Norwalk on their radar. Maybe we could arrange a "virtual tour" of Norwalk's schools/neighborhoods like realtors do with houses for sale. At the very least, we can demonstrate passion, commitment, and momentum on the ECS issue in Norwalk - regardless of changes in leadership or differences of opinion. View Comment
I'm the director of a standardized test prep business, Duleep Educational Coaching LLC. I'm a native Norwalker who -once upon a time- was a National Merit Finalist. Practice/access is a HUGE factor in success. Thank you, Mr. Anonymous Donor, Dr. Marks, and principals who get it. It's time for this generation's Norwalkers to carry on a fine tradition of rockin' those bubble tests! :) View Comment
My first job, at 13, was seating customers at mom's restaurant. The summer I was 15, 2 of my 3 summer jobs were on Wall Street; I worked at Green's to earn money to buy my textbooks at Exeter. I was just a teen walking down the street when I saw the newly hired manager setting up a display. I asked if he had any jobs available. Thank goodness my best friend's dad is a judge; the assistant manager later told me having a judge as a character reference made quite an impression! I worked at Green's that summer and again that Christmas. My father died the night of Saturday, Dec. 19th, 1992; the next day, I showed up for work at Green's. Having a distraction like working at a five & dime helped me cope with losing my father at age 16. I learned so much about hard work, dealing with the public, and entrepreneurship during the summers I worked for Ganga Restaurant. I first met former Mayor Bill Collins as a customer, long before he encouraged me to run for office. This year, I am proud to run with the party that cares enough about small businesses like Mom's to invest -if only for a month or two- in Wall Street, Norwalk. View Comment