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Trumbull GOP's 4-District Voting Plan Backed [Update]

But the Democrats' plan, which makes minor changes to the current setup, may yet be considered.

Update, Monday, March 26

The Town Council will hold a public hearing April 2 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall.

Links to redistricting documents are here:

Original Story

A four-district plan with a "superdistrict" was recommended Tuesday to the Town Council by a 3-2 margin along party lines.

The Redistricting Committee was made of three republicans and two democrats, and the four-district plan came from the GOP members. A minority report and public hearing are possible before a final decision is made.

The GOP proposal puts six Town Council members in one district and five each in the other three. It is supposed to save about $8,000 and would move about 10,300 voters.

Democrats say it could also lead to 17-4 party majority and confuse voters through larger ballots and an increased number of candidates. The democratic plan maintained seven districts with equal representation (three council members each), and "tweaked" lines to fit the redrawn state legislature districts.

Committee Member Jane Aiello, the town's Democratic Registrar of Voters, said the GOP proposal is gerrymandering, adding the four-district model was being discussed before the committee was formed.

Republicans also charged the democrats with gerrymandering.

"Your maps are designed to break up certain districts to get rid of certain people," said committee member Tony Scinto, a republican. He added that that's what his fellow republicans concluded when he showed them the democrats' proposal.

Aiello said the democrats' plan preserves Trumbull's community feeling.

"In my almost 60 years as a Trumbull resident, I have watched as the town grew from farm and swampland [into] a great place to live, to a thriving suburb with a desireable location ... We have a good school system and Trumbull can still be a wonderful place to live except that partisan politics seems to be driving almost every facet of life here, and detrimentally so."

Before the final vote, democrats unsuccessfully tried to forward their proposal to the council and call a public hearing. Council Member Vicki Tesoro, a democrat on the committee, added that the town attorney has not yet responded to a legal question she posed. Also, Town Council Chairman Carl Massaro Jr. has not responded to two requests for a public hearing, she said.

Massaro was unavailable for comment Wednesday. 

The current seven-district plan with three council representatives has been in use for 28 years, said Bill Holden, republican registrar and committee chairman. A five-district setup was adopted for one election, and four districts were used when Trumbull was run by Representative Town Meeting.

The Town Council model was adopted in 1965, Holden said.

The Town Council must review the plan now, but it remains to be seen if the Demcorats' plan will be introduced for consideration via a minority report, or if the Council will hold a public hearing. 

The town needed to approve a plan because state legislature elections will be held this November.

Richard W. White March 29, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I have a methodology question for the Republicans: Let’s say the Four District Plan passes, but the fickle voters turn against the TRTC and elect a 17-4 democratically controlled Town Council. Since our new charter allows for the majority to help choose the minority I’ll pick the winners for this exercise: Super District goes to Mrs. Waizenegger, District 1 goes to Mr. Pia, District 2 goes to some new guy no one has heard of because he only managed to walk half his district, and District 3 goes to some other new gal no one has heard of because she only managed to walk half her district. Mrs. Watzenegger gets the nod for Minority Leader. Who does she pick to fill the following sub-committee slots? Two minority members for L&A plus an alternate, two minority members for R&R plus and alternate, and two minority members for Education plus an alternate. Who does she pick to represent her party on the Tri-Board Sewer Committee? Who does she pick to represent her party on the Building Committee? Did I miss anything? Meanwhile, the new Majority Leader notices that he has a member or two with only a single sub-committee assignment. What to do, what to do...
Richard W. White March 29, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Oops, forgot one: two members for Finance plus an alternate.
jg March 29, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Lisa, I don't understand the operational roles on election day, but I know a significant portion of the proposed savings are from cutting moderators and assistant registrars. IIRC each district has one of the former and two of the latter so they account for 9 of the position reductions.
JC March 29, 2012 at 05:48 AM
After reading all of the comments, I have four observations. First: Richard W. White seems to be the most knowledgeable contributor, with few finding fault with his statistics or methodology. Second: The only public hearing will take place right before the Town Council votes? Really? Third: If the dividend is the number of voters and the divisor is the number of polling places, the quotient is the number of voters at each polling place. Any of our 5th-graders can tell you that the smaller the divisor, the larger the quotient (and attendant problems of congestion, parking and lines). Fourth: All of this locking of horns to save 22 cents per resident ($8,000/population)? Really?
JR March 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Is there anything buried in this legislation prohibiting bake sales at polling places?

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