Group petitions for return to seven districts
With local elections approaching in November, a Trumbull group called Citizens for A Balanced Government has renewed efforts to restore the town to a seven-district Town Council.
The Citizens for A Balanced Government, which describes itself as a non-partisan group of Republicans, Democrats and unaffliated voters, includes some of Trumbull’s Democratic elected officials. The group issued a press release Tuesday, saying members had been collecting signatures last weekend and was working “to educate residents on the implications of a four-district configuration.” The group is gathering signatures to petition the Town Council to reverse its decision and will seek to put the issue on the ballot in November, if necessary.
The November 2012 election was the first under the new four-district division. Under the seven-district plan, each district was represented by three councilmen, with one seat reserved for the minority party. Thus, no party could control more than 14 of the 21 council seats.
Under the four-district plan, three districts have five representatives, and one has six. Again, one seat is set aside for the minority party.
“The seven-district plan worked well for Trumbull for 30 years. There was no valid reason to change it,” the group said in a release. “Under the new configuration, the rules for minority representation will shift, creating the possibility of near one-party rule, where there are no checks and balances, no meaningful debate, no chance that votes can change an outcome, and where weak politicians fall in line behind the bosses. Under the seven-district plan — with three Council members per district— the party that wins elections is provided ample ability to pursue its agenda, but at the same time, a large-enough minority is preserved to impact the outcome of the most important votes — the issues where the perspectives of all participants ensure the best outcome.”
The new configuration could result in a 17 to 4 majority by either party.
The group argues this could make it harder to attract quality candidates to public service and create one “Super District” with power to elect six representatives, while the others have five.
Proponents of the new four-district plan have cited reduced expense and manpower requirements due to needing to staff only four polls. Also, the “superdistrict” encompasses all of Trumbull's 134th Legislative District, reducing the number of split districts in which voters require separate ballots for their Town Council and state House of Representatives votes.
“More districts means your neighborhood has a greater voice in community affairs. It means that your council representative is more likely to be accessible to you,” the group said. “It means good government — of the kind that has for decades helped establish Trumbull as the best-run town in the region.”
For more information on the petition contact Vicki Tesoro, email@example.com, or Dawn Cantafio, firstname.lastname@example.org.