Ward and District Lines To Be Re-Drawn, Public Hearing Is March 8th
The political map has been set for state and congressional districts in this Presidential election year. A Master appointed by the state Supreme Court has settled the issue of Congressional Districts with New Britain staying in the 5th CD.
The City Council and local Registrars, however, have more work to do to set the lines for voting districts and five wards (council districts) within the city’s borders and to arrive at polling locations. The Council decides the district lines and the Registrars will identify polling places.
A Common Council sub-committee will meet again on Tuesday, February 21st, in the Council Chambers at 7 p.m. to consider three maps for new wards and districts.
One of the proposed maps, based on 2010 census data, will be the basis for boundaries to take effect in the 2013 municipal election. The final configuration needs the approval of the full Council. The city’s ward system of electing two city councillors from five areas and five at-large seats was not in effect when redistricting last occurred in 2001.
The public hearing on a new ward and district plan will be on Thursday, March 8th, at 7 p.m. in Room 504 of City Hall. In accordance with the deadline, a report is due back to the Council by Wednesday, March 21st.
An idea proposed by Republican Registrar Peter Gostin to eliminate as many as seven polling places to save money is drawing increasing concern and opposition by members of the Common Council. Common Council President Mike Trueworthy told the Democratic Town Committee last week that there has been no commensurate drop off in voter registration to justify elimination of polling places. Gostin told the New Britain Herald in early January “that by eliminating seven polling places the city can save between 35 and 40 percent, about $24,000.”
Democratic Town Chairman John McNamara called the Gostin proposal “outrageous” and a ” penny wise, pound foolish” move that will infringe on voter access.
Decision Time on School Superintendent: Meet & Greet, Q & A February 28th
A new Superintendent of Schools may be chosen by month’s end by the Board of Education (BOE) whose members are in the final stages of the selection process. The BOE has screened 47 applicants from a national pool and identified 17 candidates who “met our customized profile criteria,” according to BOE President Sharon Beloin -Saavedra. The Board, acting as the search committee, along with two advisory panels, will conduct interviews on Monday, February 27th, 2012.
On Tuesday, February 28th at 4:00 p.m. the Board will host a casual public Meet and Greet session at New Britain High School, 110 Mill Street, with two or three finalists. At 6:00 p.m. in the Anthony Tercyak Lecture Hall the BOE will hold a formal question and answer session. A link will be available on the Board’s webpage for you to submit your questions.
“On Wednesday, February 29, 2012 the Board will re-interview the finalists and make a determination if we have found a match for our School District,” Beloin-Saavedra said.
Fixing A Big Budget Hole Seven Months Into the Fiscal Year
Fiscal responsibility returned to City Hall last week when the Common Council approved a plan by Mayor O’Brien to close a budget deficit estimated at more than $10 million more than seven months into the fiscal year.
In a 12 to 1 vote Councillors gave the green light to fund transfers after an independent audit and city finance officials confirmed the multi-million financial hole left to O’Brien by the Stewart Administration. The “one time” fix was made possible primarily by cash reserves in the city water department totaling $20 million. In exchange for the transfer, the city will negotiate debt restructuring with the board of water commissioners. As reported in the Hartford Courant: “O’Brien’s plan is for the department to repay a multimillion-dollar bond in a lump sum to the city, with the city taking over responsibility for long-term payments to the bondholders.”
In supporting the budget balancing move Council President Mike Trueworthy said the plan to bring the city budget into line was essential. He indicated the matter had to be addressed as soon as possible because budget making for the new fiscal year that begins July 1 is already underway.
Mayor O’Brien thanked auditors, a financial review panel and the city finance department for development of the deficit mitigation plan which has averted cuts to services and placing more burdens on the regressive property tax to maintain existing services.
DTC Supports Murphy, Donovan in 2012
The Democratic Town Committee voted in support of the candidacies of U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy in his bid for U.S. Senate and House Speaker Chris Donovan for Congress at a meeting February 16th.
Statements on the endorsements are available at www.newbritaindemocrat.org
Town Committee Organizational Meeting. The Democratic Town Committee will hold its organizational meeting for the new term on Thursday, March 8, 2012
Delegates to State and District Conventions Window for selection of Delegates to Conventions: March 27 to April 3, 2012
Certification of endorsements: April 4, 2012
Town Committee Officer Elections – March 7 to April 5, 2012
State Central Member Elections – April 17 to 27, 2012
Brown vs. the Board of Education was settled by the Supreme Court back in 1954. Segregation in public schools was found to be unconstitutional, thus the separate but equal doctrine was overturned. Yet somehow today in 2012 we still have a system that separates people….not on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity but on the basis of wealth or the lack of it. In Connecticut we have 169 towns each operating their own schools and each providing to students what it can afford to based on town wealth. Families of means have the choice to live and work and seek a better way of life via affluent access. Those without means seek to make a life in areas that offer affordable housing, public transportation and community supports/inclusion.
BOE President Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, New Britain City Journal Op-Ed February 17th
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