Charter revisions would stifle party dissent, strip voters’ power

To the Editor:

Dan Debicella and Mayor Lauretti want voters to believe the shameless power grab that is the Charter Revision Commission somehow gives voters more power and choices. Take the claims about the changes to the Board of Education, assuming two political parties nominate a full slate, voters currently would be able to choose from 18 candidates. The proposed charter revision cuts that to 12. Simple math says cutting voters’ maximum choices by six doesn’t somehow give a voter more choice.

There’s the argument that parties don’t always nominate the full slate because of minority rules. But currently voters have the power to correct that situation and nominate a candidate via petition if a party leaves empty ballot spots. The charter revision essentially strips away this power from voters in section 2.4.2: “Any political party may nominate candidates for the number of positions they can seat on any elected Board or Commission.” If a party can only win two out of three spots in an election, only two nominees are needed, and no one can petition onto the ballot.

This is a big charter revision prize for Lauretti Republicans. Why? Because this power was used by voters to remove Ruth Parkins from the Planning & Zoning Commission in 2017. Eliminating this voter power is the Republican party’s revenge, reducing their accountability. It also serves to stifle internal party dissent. If you disagree with your party leaders, you don’t get appointed to the board, and your only option is a primary, far more difficult than a general election where Shelton’s majority unaffiliated voters are involved.

This week’s Board of Aldermen meeting will likely bring more disingenuous defenses of this charter revision power grab.

See it for what it is. And if the alderman put it on this year’s ballot, vote no.

Kevin Kosty