Our Mayoral Election Day is just around the corner, and after many years of residing in Norwalk, I consider the whole local voting scene to be a bit of a snore. It's always the same old story: Mr. Same-Old Same-Old vs. one or two not too exciting challengers. To be honest, one of the main reasons I show up at the polls is the killer Election Day baked goods sale held at the school where I cast my vote (the zucchini bread rocks!).
It seems to me that Norwalk has been under the same leadership for so long because as of yet, no new candidate has come along to really shake things up, give us a cause and make exciting promises in the way that a high school kid running for class president might pledge to initiate lunchtime offerings from the likes of Robeks and Domino's.
Well, listen up Norwalk mayoral wannabes! This lowly resident has a few city improvement ideas that, if adopted in your campaign platforms, would surely capture my attention and get me as psyched as I'd be about school lunches featuring fresh smoothies and stuffed pizza in an otherwise monotonous milk and meatloaf world.
1. Mayoral term limits. I think Fidel Castro had ruled Cuba for less time than we've been under the same leadership in our city. For those of you who don't want to be boxed in by limiting the exact number of years or terms, I propose the "fashion cycle" approach. For example, if said mayor began his/her tenure when maxi dresses were first in style, it's time to leave when these items become fashionable once again.
2. Relocate all gargantuan chain stores to downtown Westport. This will clear our streets of unwanted congestion and pollution, while still maintaining easy access to these beloved retailers. As an added bonus, the next time Martha Stewart writes a scathing article about the decline of the city she once called home, she'll have good reason to complain.
3. Establish "Tourist" and "Express" lanes at Stew's. Want to park your cart in the middle of the aisle, perpendicular to traffic, while your precious little ones are mesmerized by the likes of Cindy Celery and Larry Lettuce? No problem, just do so in the "Tourist" lane and let us locals grab our groceries and get on out the door.
4. Institute separate parking lots far, far away from any grocery store, restaurant, park, etc. for SUVs that fill up more than one parking space and/or cost more than the average Norwalk teacher makes in one year. An exemption should be given for those driving vast vehicles whose seats are filled to capacity (with children) because basically, if you're brave (or nuts) enough to cart seven kids around in your Infiniti QX56, by gosh, you deserve a good spot.
5. Introduce a wider variety of concessions at school-sanctioned marching band and sporting events. Though our children don't seem to mind making meals out of the hot dogs, fries, nachos, and hot chocolate currently available, we parents would appreciate more healthful options such as sushi or perhaps even a salad bar. And during the warm spring baseball/softball/lacrosse seasons, a tiki hut featuring a frozen drink bar would be most welcome.
Now, of course, I realize that my suggested improvements have not touched upon all of our city's needs, so I'll leave the superfluous issues such as taxes and education to the pros. While incorporating my suggestions into mayoral campaign platforms won't necessarily solve all of our problems, it certainly will improve the quality of life, add some pizzazz to the otherwise uninteresting elections, and unequivocally make Norwalk my kind of town.
Layla Ann Silver is a freelance writer whose plans for Nov. 5 include a stop at the polls, a visit to the nearby Election Day baked goods sale, and finally, a trip to Loehmann's, where a great selection of retro maxi dresses has just arrived. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.