Danbury's Charter Revision Commission was bringing the city down the wrong path -- advocating a switch to four-year terms for elected officials.
There was no public demand for it. The push came from some members of the Republican Party, including Mayor Mark Boughton.
But something remarkable happened last week. The Common Council, which has a Republican majority, recommended that the proposal for four-year terms be stripped from the commission's plan for charter changes.
The proposal is a political loser and the council wants to dump it.
Advocates of four-year terms said the job of governing Danbury is too difficult to learn in a two-year term -- an amazing claim. But the four-year-term proposal was really about giving politicians a break from running for re-election and staying in touch with voters.
The commission and the Republican mayor should have dropped this four-year-term proposal long ago.
Credit Republicans on the council for backing away from what was really a grab for power."
And credit Democrats on the council for intelligently challenging the charter proposal and refuting claims that an elected official needs a four-year term to figure out how to govern in Danbury.
As the Democrats wrote in a position paper on the charter proposals: "Two-year terms make elected officials answerable to the public in close proximity to the decisions they make. We know of no crisis or lack of ability of the overwhelming majority of elected officials that would necessitate four-year terms."
A charter establishes how a community will govern itself. At its best, a charter promotes efficiency and responsiveness. The result of four-year terms in Danbury would have been limits on efficiency and limits on responsiveness.
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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.