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Trumbull Resident: No to Charter Changes

by Tracey Lapore

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge voters to Just Vote No on the proposed Trumbull charter revisions. The revision process has been flawed from the start.  The Herbst administration insisted on seating a partisan commission, which proceeded to propose 175 changes to our town’s governing document. Many of those changes were drastic and not what anyone reasonably anticipated. In fact, several Town Council members, from both parties, have stated that if they knew the charter revision commission would propose so many alarming changes, they would not have voted for charter revision in the first place!

Although the Charter Revision Commission spent quite a lot of time on the proposed revision, it failed to comply with state statutes and did not provide comments on its proposed changes. This made it extremely difficult for the public and the Town Council to understand why so many of the changes were needed. For the Commission to fail to follow state statutes is just unacceptable.  The proposed revisions also contained so many typographical errors and other errors that the Town Council had to spend hours just fixing typos—hours that it should have spent focusing on the substance of the revisions. The resulting document, which comes before the voters on Election Day, contains errors, inconsistencies, and provisions that could lead to legal challenges. Is that good for our town?  Why wasn’t this done the right way?

Now the voters are faced with three charter revision questions on the ballot. Do the voters have even a basic understanding of the changes that are presented for their vote?  I think the answer is No. These changes have not been adequately explained to voters to enable them to make an educated decision as to whether these changes are good for Trumbull. The revisions change the term of office of the Board of Education, how we vote for Town Council members, and even how we determine our annual budget. Referendum procedures have been changed so that a very small minority of voters can overturn just about any decision that is made in town. These changes are far too drastic and sweeping, and voters have not been given sufficient information for them to fully grasp how the basic governance of Trumbull will be changed.

The answer to all this is simple: Just Vote No on charter revision on Nov. 8!

Tracey Lepore

Trumbull

Bill Holden October 15, 2011 at 03:09 AM
http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Trumbull-charter-changes-explained-2166360.php Copy & past the above for an independent review of the the present charter & proposed changes. The reporter went through both documents line-by-line with fromer CRC member Russ Friedson and had the Democrate members of the CRC, Jim Cordone & Paul Timpanelli review her explanations for accuracy and objectivity. Note that the Democrats of the Commission only mentioned two concerns. One was whether an inflation related "trigger" regarding a referendum petition could withstand a legal challenge. The other was a different opinion they had about "minority representation" should be applied to the Bd of Ed. The majority felt the State's standard "minority rep." should apply, while the minority felt a more stringent standard should apply. The significant difference, imo, is "how much input should the voters have?" The adopted recommendation allows for at least 10 candidates to seek election to 7 seats (more candidates if there are minor party or petition candidates). The 4 person from any one party limitation would have allowed only 8 candidates competing for the 7 seats (unless there were minor party or petition candidates). I think the difference is clear; voters electing of 7 out of 10 candidates and being allowed to vote for 7-- or electing 7 of 8 candidates, with each voter only being allowed to vote for 4 candidates.
Bill Holden October 15, 2011 at 03:22 AM
(ran out of space above) There are about a half dozen statutes offering different ways to elect Bds of Ed. That is why the number of candidates running and the number people can vote for is different. There was no way to eliminate "guaranteed seats" if all members were not elected at the same time. Everyone on the CRC agreed guaranteed seats were not desirable. There was no disagreement over the number of people on the Bd of Ed or concurrent terms. Just a difference of opinion on "minority reprsentation" which winds up dictating whether voters would have choices and how many candidates people could vote for.
Thomas Tesoro October 15, 2011 at 03:24 AM
Bill, Very interesting but how many voters know anything about that? Also, the question on the BOE is buried in the general question " I agree with Charter Cahnges" (or some similar language. Not the way to give the voters voice on this important change. VOTE NO!!
Bill Holden October 15, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Tom, first read Ms Singh's article. I didn't favor everything the CRC compromised on, but went along because it was better than in the current charter. I also didn't agree with some of the changes the Council made to the CRC report. And, I certainly didn't have any input into the questions the Council decided to put on the ballot. 8 years ago I suggested to the Council that they list the change to the Bd of Ed (at the time) be a separate question as there was some concern about changing from 6 to 7 members. I thought it was a good idea and that voters wanted it. Funny thing about voters, they like to have influence in elections. I couldn't believe Councilman Meisner (D-6) objected to voters being able to vote for all the Council members to be elected from within their district.
CTPati October 15, 2011 at 04:13 AM
TP, if you believed in LIBERTY rather than the TYRANNY of BIG government, you would understand that "progressive" is a dirty word, as in follower of the *racist and eugenicist* Woodrow Wilson. YOU were the one who took off on tirades defaming Republican presidents and candidates, after I simply mentioned Obama as being elected in the context of uninformed, emotional voters. Btw, McCain was a *terrible* candidate, and I had to hold my nose to vote for him---but at least he believes in defending our nation, respects its "exceptionalism" and would not have bowed to foreign dictators!! You must be either a naive Obot, or else you like BIG government *DICTATING* what others must do. Maybe you are a member of a privileged class reaping special benefits as a *crony* of the corrupt *statist* types. Those corrupt "cronies" of PBO include Jeff Immelt of GE, UNION bosses, and the TAX CHEAT *billionaire* "bundler" of a Quarter MILLION $$$ in campaign donations to Obama Brian Harrison, who squandered more than half a billion dollars in government loans to his bankrupt company, Solyndra, while paying NO TAXES!!! The corrupt/incompetent career politicians in congress set up a "loan guarantee" program through DOE that PBO has used to PAYOFF his cronies--and now we TAXPAYERS have been *shafted* for hundreds of BILLIONS of $$$$!!

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