Letter: Fewer districts would muffle voices
As a 16-year citizen of Fairfield who plans to spend the rest of my life here, who cares deeply about this town and also about the rights of all voters in this town, I am perplexed by the glibness with which certain Republican RTM members on the redistricting committee have described their rationale for wanting to reduce the number of voting districts by 20 percent, from 10 to eight.
No matter how these members attempt to dress up this proposal, it still creates the potential for a significant dilution of the representation in town government that our local neighborhoods currently enjoy.
I'm sure Mr. Becker has strong motivations for pushing this proposal, and I'm confident his steadfastness has little to do with improving the representation of all Fairfielders. Mr. Becker, dilution of our neighborhood representation is not a small matter. It is a big matter. If you are pushing for the potential dilution of the representation of my or any other neighborhood on the RTM, you'd better have a good reason, and that reason had better be a heck of a lot more compelling than saving a few thousand dollars per election.
If your true motivation is to increase efficiency by reducing the number of representatives (as members of your party have stated), then why didn't you accept the proposed Democratic compromise to maintain the number of districts at the current 10 but reduce the total number of representatives from 50 to 40? I want to be sure my RTM representatives live right up the street from me; I want them to know our neighborhood schools, the dangerous intersections, the potholes, the proposed construction projects, the speed and quality of street plowing during winter and the quality of all the other services our tax dollars are spent on.
I don't want either political party to have the temptation of supporting RTM candidates in larger districts (under the Republican plan) that might reside within certain, select areas that share a certain, select demographic profile and specific objectives that may not represent any district as a whole.
The larger the RTM districts, the less all of us are assured of being represented -- which means less assurance of having our voices heard if the quality of town services provided to any of our neighborhoods slips. The RTM has gone back and forth from Republican to Democratic majority over the years, and this has happened without gerrymandering or trickery. This fluctuation is healthy, as it reflects what the voters want in any given election year.
No one except a select few will appreciate political tricks to dilute the representation of many for the advantage of a select few. We must maintain the integrity of Fairfield's representative institutions to protect ourselves from any party attempting to stack the decks.