Saturday, March 27, 2010

Aldermen by District

As hopefully everyone knows, it's Charter Revision Time in Waterbury, which means that we have an opportunity to enact positive change in how our city is governed. The hottest topic being discussed is Aldermen by District. There are a lot of layers to the issue, most of which have to do with fundamental inequities in the representation of the varied and diverse community that is Waterbury. For example, there are no elected representatives from my neighborhood and most city officials seem to be completely oblivious to the issues my neighborhood faces.

I took the time to actually read the City Charter, and I noticed that while the description of Mayor includes a residency requirement, there was no such requirement listed in the description of Aldermen. I brought this up to the Charter Revision Committee. Part of their response (I'm still discussing the other part with Committee member Bryan Baker) was that our residency requirement for Mayor could or has been found unconstitutional by the courts (more details on this are forthcoming).

If this is true, then it is all the more important that we succeed in getting Aldermen by District. If not, then we could end up with Aldermen who live in Middlebury, Woodbury, Cheshire or West Hartford.

Waterbury is a city of neighborhoods. It's not a very big city, but the neighborhoods are very different from one another, and there is a tendency to stay out of neighborhoods that aren't your own. The way an Alderman living in Bunker Hill views the needs of the city are going to be very different from the way an Alderman living in the WOW neighborhood views the city's needs.

We need better neighborhood representation. We need better politics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the city charter specifies that the Electors of the city shall elect from their ranks the members of the Board of Aldermen. An "Elector" is further defined as someone registered to vote who resides in the city. So there is a strict requirement that Aldermen have to be residents of the city.

Charter: 2(B)-2(a)