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These jobs in Norwalk are going, going gone

By Joe Centers • Updated Apr 19, 2017 at 11:04 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the column that Reflector Managing Editor Joe Centers wrote for Tuesday’s issue. That night, city council did not try to override Mayor Rob Duncan’s veto of legislation that would have welcomed a medical-marijuana cultivation business to Norwalk.








It’s as simple as that.

Look for Norwalk city council to say no to a pair of prospective businesses — a medical marijuana cultivation facility and a shooting range.

Why? Not in my back yard.

We went through this a few years back when the city wanted to put a soccer complex in Norwalk. People who lived close to the proposed complex complained because they didn’t want to deal with the (fill in the blank): noise; parking; people; trash; all of the above.

Eventually the park came to town and people are figuring out it’s not that bad. There is a beautiful boardwalk, a nice pond and a park that sits empty of soccer players most of the time.

Now, people don’t want a medical-marijuana cultivation plant because it’s just bad. It’s as simple as that.

But wait a minute. City council voted 4-3 in favor of the new business. Shouldn’t that mean it is coming? Isn’t that why we have a council? We vote for our council members to represent us. They represented us with a yes vote.

But Mayor Rob Duncan used his power to veto the vote. He said there wasn’t enough information or enough time. He said he wished we had six months to talk about the issue.

In his veto, Duncan, in part, said:

“In the past city council has spent months discussing the possibilities of whether to allow golf carts, chickens and gun ranges in the city. However, when it came to marijuana, we were afforded 3 1/2 weeks to consider, research and act upon this important issue.”

I have listened to all of the discussion at the last two meetings and I don’t think it would have mattered if we talked six months or six years. The people had their minds made up. I think council has made up its mind.

I think the mayor has made up his mind, and in this case, that’s all that matters.

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump for president. I didn’t like him then and I don’t like him now. The only thing I like about Trump is watching “Saturday Night Live” each week.

But he won and is our president. I accept that and back him because I have no other choice. That’s how we voted (although the majority voted against him) and that’s how this process works.

How come we didn’t have a veto when Trump was elected?

Now we have the shooting range. This is another business that wants to come to Norwalk. The last time we looked, there were a lot of vacant signs in this town.

The reason people don’t want a shooting range in town is because of the noise, but nobody is really sure how much noise it will make.

Over the years we have lost Van Dresser, Sheller-Globe, Boxboard Packaging and Norwalk Furniture. (Look at the old Van Dresser building and the mess that was left behind from another failed business).

These two new businesses wouldn’t have come close to matching what we lost, but it would have been a step in the right direction.

The words we heard from our mayor when he was running against Sue Lesch were jobs, jobs, jobs.

Now those jobs are going, going gone.


Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.

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