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Council Majority Ignored Constituents



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To the Editor:

Is it really a public hearing if elected officials aren’t there to listen?

At last week’s Legislative Council meeting, six LC members voted to repeal Newtown’s smart, effective Reusable Checkout Bag Initiative ordinance. This ordinance went further than the State’s plastic bag ban by requiring a 10-cent charge for the use of single-use paper bags, encouraging use of reusable bags instead.

No local businesses that were allegedly being hurt by this popular ordinance spoke out in favor of repealing it. Not one! Plenty of residents spoke on the issue though.

Nine out of ten residents at the public hearing spoke in favor of leaving the ordinance in place — 9-1! The Legislative Council also received 33 letters from their constituents before Ryan Knapp, Ordinance Committee Chair, made his motion to repeal.

Thirty-one of those letters were written in opposition of his proposed repeal. Only two were in favor — 31-2!

Despite the overwhelming public opposition, Mr. Knapp and five other LC members shamefully ignored what constituents wanted and voted to repeal this helpful, responsible, popular ordinance anyway. This begs the question: Whose interests are these public servants actually serving, if not the public’s?

Dave Ackert

Sandy Hook

Comments are open. Be civil.
1 comment
  1. ryan knapp says:

    We should be careful not to conflate a letter writing campaign organized by the DTC and individuals misleading voters about the impact of proposed changes with the wishes of the people broadly. While all comments are considered, these decisions are not made by an email referendum or a Town Meeting. The ordinances in question were well intended (I worked on both of them,) but we have a responsibility to weigh other factors such as if an ordinance is in conflict with state law or if it sets a precedent most do not support on principle. I believe many of these goals can be accomplished through other means such as education, communication and philanthropy without the need for government mandates.

    Assuming these are sincere letters and not political opportunism, I am sorry some people are so upset, but I hope it gives them comfort that plastic grocery bags and fracking waste are still banned in Newtown under state law and that Big Y and Stop and Shop will continue to charge 10 cents per bag as they do in all their other stores (despite suggestions otherwise.)

    My comments are my own as an individual and not on behalf of the Legislative Council of which I am a member.

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