A few months ago when the revision process began, there was a public hearing. Subsequently, at every meeting of the Charter Revision Commission, the public have had the opportunity to
vent voice their concerns for a few minutes. During the regular meetings, less than a handful of people bothered to show up to express their opinions. Predictably, some have already begun to complain about the outcome. This kind of kvetching into the abyss is purposeless and would be more effective if directed to those who have at least a semblance of control over the matter. Draft revisions are being made available beginning on Monday and can be picked up in the Town Clerk’s Office and in City Council Offices, as well as online. Since there are actually some major suggested changes, I do think it’s worth taking the time to read through and show up at the public hearing if Hartford’s politics even remotely matter to you. This Wednesday (May 13th) a public hearing will be held at 6pm in the Hartford Public Library.
Here is a preview of some of the revised sections:
Composition of the Court of Common Council. (it is changing!)
The Council shall consist of thirteen members, consisting of one member elected from each of five Districts and eight elected at large. The Council shall designate such council districts by number. The maximum number of at-large members of the Council who may be members of the same political party shall reflect the requirements of the General Statutes with respect to minority party representation.
The following section explains how the districts will be determined, providing an idea about why there is this desire to switch from At-Large to Hybrid.
Sec. 6 Establishment of Districts for Court of Common Council.
(a) No later than thirty (30) days following the completion of reapportionment of the General Assembly, as required by the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, as further set forth in the General Statutes, the Council shall appoint a districting commission consisting of seven (7) to fifteen (15) members, no more than fifty (50%) percent of whom shall be members of the same political party (“Appointment Date”). The districting commission shall report to the Council no later than seventy (70) days following the Appointment Date, setting forth the recommended boundaries of the five (5) Council districts.
(b) Council districts shall be:
(1) of substantially equal population and otherwise consistent with all federal and state constitutional and statutory requirements;
(2) to the extent possible, consistent with preceding, maintain the integrity of recognized neighborhood planning areas;
(3) geographically contiguous and compact; and
(4) to the extent possible consistent with the preceding, consistent with existing legislative districts.
(c) The districting commission shall be supported in its work by appropriate City staff which shall have available to it the necessary support to facilitate the work of the commission and well as such other professional assistance (subject to appropriation) as it shall choose.
(d) The districting commission shall hold a public hearing at least one week before it submits its report to the Council, and shall make a tentative map of its proposed districts available to the public electronically, in hard copy available at the City Clerk’s office, and by causing it to be published in one or more newspapers of daily circulation in the City at least three (3) days before the public hearing. The districting commission may modify the tentative districts before submitting its report to the Council.
(e) The Council shall vote on the establishment of Council districts within three (3) weeks of its receipt of the districting commission’s report. The Council may amend the district boundaries recommended by the districting commission before approving districts, but the districts approved by the Council must comply with the standards of subsection (c) of this section. A resolution approving districts must be affirmatively supported by a majority of the members of Council, and shall not be subject to veto by the Mayor.
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