Tesoro: Voters should decide Town Council districts

I want to thank The Trumbull Times for the article on the Voter Initiative Petition that was launched on Nov. 6. In order to avoid confusion and any misrepresentation of the effort, I am writing this letter to give the voters the facts so they can decide whether to become a part of this process.

This has nothing to do with partisan politics. While the Democratic Town Committee is sponsoring the effort, volunteers working on this petition are Republicans and unaffiliated voters as well as Democrats. The change in district structure impacted all voters, and a change back to a seven-district plan will benefit all voters.

This is not about gerrymandering. One town council member accused proponents of the seven-district plan of gerrymandering. When asked to show where this was the case, he was unable to cite one instance to support his claim.

What is this about? This is about Trumbull citizens having the right to a redistricting process that is nonpartisan, completely transparent and presented to the voters with sufficient information to make an informed decision. This is about citizen participation in a redistricting process that is timely and fully considered.

The current four-district plan was put in last April by the Town Council majority with virtually no information given to the public. The single public hearing was held on the day of the vote, and the public that did attend were completely ignored.

On that evening, over a dozen speakers spoke against the four-district plan, including the League of Women Voters. Only one citizen spoke in its favor, yet the change was passed.

Also, a seven-district plan that met all legal requirements, impacted far fewer voters, and maintained Trumbull's 30-year tradition of strong minority representation was barely considered.

The four-district plan was passed almost entirely on a party-line vote with Mr. Pia (R-District 1) being the only Republican who joined the dissenting Democrats. This is not the way this kind of change should be handled.

This is about balance. No one has explained why a four-district plan containing one overblown "super district" is superior to seven equally balanced districts.

Some have said that this is an attempt by the Democrats to protect some of their seats. This is false. Under the four-district plan, either party can have a 17-to-4 majority on the Town Council. Those involved with this petition believe that that kind of supermajority, by either party, is bad for Trumbull. We believe that a balance with strong minority representation on our Town Council is in the best interest of our voters.

This petition will open the door for voters to decide for themselves. Watch for more information on the petition, where to sign it and how to participate in making the redistricting process transparent and our district structure balanced.