RTM impasse continues over redistricting
Updated 9:10 am, Friday, July 27, 2012
While local politicians remain at loggerheads over drawing a new map of Fairfield's voting districts, Democrats want assurances that any proposal the Representative Town Meeting's Redistricting Committee may recommend won't be changed when it comes before the full legislative body.
The suggestion, however, is not gaining favor among Republicans.
The committee, made up of three Republicans and three Democrats, has been unable to agree on a redistricting plan for the town based on new census data, with the GOP pushing for fewer districts and a smaller RTM.
Kevin Hoffkins, D-7, let the RTM know Monday that he plans to introduce a sense-of-the-body resolution at the body's next meeting in September. Hoffkins is a member of the Redistricting Committee.
"The question is whether the Republicans will support this resolution or try to use their majority to enact something that benefits them," Hoffkins said.
The resolution, which is not binding, states the "clear intention" of the town charter provision was "to ensure that any redistricting plan enacted would be fair to both parties," and prevent the majority party from using its power to enact redistricting "which would only ensure perpetual one-party rule in the Representative Town Meeting."
Therefore, the resolution asks that the RTM simply vote "yes" or "no" when a redistricting ordinance is brought to the floor, without adding amendments or making any changes.
Hoffkins said the issue is a cause of concern for Democrats, who are in the minority on the RTM. "How do we know what we are reporting out is what will be voted on?" he said. The committee's recommended redistricting plan "could be changed very radically."
"I'm not in favor of a resolution that intends to restrict the ability of the RTM as a whole," Majority Leader David Becker, R-1, said. Hoffkins' resolution, he said, seems to have "little support, if any," among the GOP caucus.
Becker said the committee's goal has always been to produce an ordinance that would be voted on without changes. But, he added, "We must also remember that the committee is made up of only a fraction of the RTM's membership and those other members, as with most other matters, reserve the right to amend items."
No matter how the redistricting dispute is resolved, the local voting districts will remain as they are now for the Aug. 14 primaries and the November general election.
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