NORWALK, Conn. — Three of four ballot questions went down in flames Tuesday as voters voted against charter revision.
The only question that got a yes vote was the one about gender neutral language, eliminating the term “Councilman” and substituting “Council member.”
The Democrat-sponsored Charter revision was opposed by some Democrats, with Democratic Town Committee District B Chairman Bruce Morris telling voters at Columbus Magnet School to vote no.
The tabulator tally, according to Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells:
- Question One: “Shall the term of the Mayor and Town Clerk be changed from 2 to 4 years?” No, 19,165; Yes, 16,558; Blanks 2,969
- Question Two: “Shall the offices of City Treasurer, City Sheriff, and Selectman be eliminated?” No, 19,289; Yes, 14,079; Blanks 5,324
- Question Three: “Shall the annual salary of each Common Council member be set at two percent (2%) of the base salary of the Mayor?” No, 16,366; Yes, 15,925; 6,401 blanks
- Question Four: “Shall all Charter references to members of the Common Council be gender-neutral?” Yes, 24,651; No, 8,595; Blanks, 5,446
Questions one and three were opposed by Norwalk First, a Political Action Committee formed by Deb Goldstein, Lisa Thomson and Diane Cece.
The PAC put out a statement late Tuesday:
“We are gratified and humbled that you have put Norwalk First and voted NO on Questions 1, 2 & 3.
“We trust that the leadership has heard you clearly and will undertake the serious charter revision work required to improve our City.”
Goldstein, a Democrat, speculated late Tuesday that the question two vote was a “byproduct of simplifying the message.”
Opponents told people to vote no on one and three, but it was a challenge to cherrypick questions.
“Gender neutral is such an obviously good thing that it won the day despite the fact that ‘no’ carried the day on the other three questions,” she said.
Morris said District B Democrats felt the Charter Revision process should have been more inclusive and should have gone on longer. He said, “We recognize value to a four-year (mayoral) term however there’s just so much going on in South Norwalk that we’re concerned, we feel there’s more accountability right now with the two-year terms.”