Legal Opinion Backs 4-District Plan

First Selectman Tim Herbst released the opinion March 30.

Town Attorney Robert J. Nicola has issued a legal opinion supporting the proposed four-district voting configuration.

The opinion contains two charts showing the town's compliance with the "one man, one vote" mandate. The percentage variation should not be more than 10 percent, Nicola said.

The Current Configuration:

DISTRICT POPULATION # OF REPS POP. PER REP % VARIATION 4 4,561 3 1,520 0 6 4,712 3 1,574 3.55 2 4,970 3 1,657 9.01 3 5,057 3 1,686 10.92 5 5,144 3 1,715 12.82 1 5,547 3 1,849 21.64 7 6,027 3 2,009 32.17

The 4-District Proposal

DISTRICT POP. # OF REPS POP. PER REP. % VARIATION 2 8,552 5 1,710 0.00 3 8,581 5 1,716 0.0035 1 8,584 5 1,717 0.0041 4 10,299 6 1,717 0.0041

In addition to on the Redistricting Committee, the opinion adds that "there will be a reduction in the variation of the population, which would occur over the 10-year apportionment cycle."

"This potentially will reduce the need for the development of significant redistricting plans in 10 years to meet constitutional requirements," Nicola added.

A four-district model was used in the past, while the current setup was established 28 years ago. In the 1970s, the model was four districts split into 6,4, 6 and 5 Town Council represenatives.

"How can something be radical when we've done it before?" Herbst said. 

Trumbull would also gain a third state representative, Nicola added.

Herbst and Four-District Critics

Critics charge that beneath the numbers, the four-district proposal hurts the neighborhood feel of Trumbull and displaces too many voters. It also would cause voter confusion and would not result in savings, they say.

They're also concerned that a 17-4 majority on the Town Council could result.

Opponents want a seven-district plan but with tweaked boundaries to bring it in line with the law and state legislative districts. The committee's democrats have issued a minority report.

On Saturday, Herbst said redistricting transcends opponents' concerns.

"It's about public policy," he said. Fewer districts means less disruption to the school system. There have been problems reported every election in terms of parking and lines, he said.

Democrat Tom Tesoro, whose wife Vicki Tesoro serves on the Town Council, disagreed, calling all the GOP's reasons "strawman arguments" to distract from the proposal's effect of "reducing minority representation."

"They're speaking all over the place because they can't defend their plan," he said.

"Fewer polling places, longer ballots and more voters equals larger lines and less parking," he added.

"A supermajority of any party is a bad idea for the people of Trumbull," Tesoro concluded.

A public hearing before the Town Council is scheduled tonight.

Some of the plans have been posted online.

Mark E Smith April 03, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Congrats to the Republicans who stood on their principles in the face very small but vocal minority. I am very happy that the minority representation has been lowered because it is the ridiculous component added by the Democrats in our voting system that rewards the losers. The losers shouldn't be given 7 of the 11 members necessary for a majority, 4 is much more reasonable.The voters should control how many from each Party should participate not rules created by the Democrats.
HL April 03, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Are we one town, one community? Or are we Republicans versus Democrats? You can't in one breath bash the concept of neighborhoods and also praise the notion of eradicating 45% of the voices in your town/community that may be dissenting. The hypocrisy is off the charts.
HL April 03, 2012 at 06:24 PM
That is the irony, Mr. Musto. If not for the important placed on minority representation in the past, it's arguable that the GoP would have ceased to exist entirely in the town of Trumbull, and gentlemen like Mr. Smith would have never had a chance to voice his opinions and concerns on policy. The irony is fascinating.
HL April 03, 2012 at 06:28 PM
"You were GIVEN you seat by Tim Herbst and the Republican and this is the thanks they get. As you said once before "People don't forget". No they don't." This is terrifying talk. I didn't realize that appointed officials were obligated to take orders from their handlers, and that revenge is a real threat for those who tend to vote based on their own thoughts and feelings. I'm glad you stepped down, Mr. Smith, after hearing about how you conduct your politics. Who is the hand that is currently steering your thoughts?
louis April 04, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Sure, any legal opinion can be scripted to favor the insiders and the local club, but the question is, if the case were no longer in the Bridgeport Bar association area, would it pass muster. What is the decision based on, and I'll tell you if in a non political court it would pass or not.


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