January 2013          GUN VIOLENCE, AGAIN.  Our hands covered our mouths. Our tears ran. Our faces dropped, and our hearts broke when we heard and watched violence against our children in Stockton, in Jonesboro, in Nickel Mines, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, at Newtown, and sadly, many others.  We are enveloped in gun violence, in schools, in theaters, at municipal meetings, and at businesses. The members of the Newtown Democratic Town Committee join other good and honest people that say “Enough!

The Newtown Democratic Town Committee (NDTC) submits that Game-Changing legislation is necessary. The NTDC supports State and Federal legislation being proposed by Governor Malloy and our Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Representative Esty. The NDTC believes that reforms in the gun market will make all of us safer. This includes universal background checks on all gun purchases, the elimination of high capacity magazines and armor piercing ammunition, and the restricting of further sales to civilians of high capacity assault weapons.

The Newtown Democratic Town Committee further endorses the work of The Brady Foundation, and Americans for Responsible Solutions recently established by former Representative Gabby Gifford. Like Representative Gabby Gifford and her husband, Naval Officer and Astronaut Mark Kelly, some members of the Newtown Democratic Town Committee are gun owners themselves and oppose interfering with hunters or responsible gun ownership. However, we recognize that other markets are regulated to protect the public.  The Second Amendment reads:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Reasonable licensing and regulation for public safety is not infringement, it is responsibility.

Finally, let the jury system address the gun industry like any other industry. Why should gun manufacturers be immune from the consequences of their actions? Let’s repeal the gun manufacturer immunity Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act signed by George Bush October 26, 2005. Let the people and the Constitutional 7th Amendment Right to Civil Trial by Jury decide whether the latest biometric fingerprint access prints on firearms, similar to what is available on doors and laptop computers, is a necessary security, and its absence a defective and unreasonably dangerous gun. The jury system changed the Ford Pinto, cigarettes, baby strollers, washers and dryers and hundreds of other products for the safety of the consumer.

The NDTC unanimously supports this directive. We encourage our Newtown Republican Town Committee friends to join us in this message.  We commend our First Selectman, Pat Llodra for her support of controlling gun violence, as well.

June, 2011 The Democratic Town Committee affirms its commitment to the present owner-operator system of school bus transportation. Historically, the owner-operators have provided superior personal service to the community, have done so at a competitive and cost efficient manner, and have added to the economic well-being of the town.

The Democratic Town Committee previously made this commitment as a policy principle and the present circumstances cause us to reassess and reaffirm that commitment.
The Democratic Town Committee encourages a fair bidding process. Unfortunately the present Board of Education would allow its business manager to effectuate a bidding process that shuts out owner-operators.  Requiring a performance bond for each and every owner-operator is of no consequence except to intentionally cause their bids to rise.  No such requirement was made in the past.  There is no good reason for this concocted procedure except to unfairly disadvantage the owner-operators.
There can be no dispute that the owner-operator system has provided the very best personal service to Newtown children and parents.  It is a service that is unparalleled.  One must question why a Board would throw away a tried and true owner-operator bus system?
The owner–operator matter is not solely a service provider issue; it is also an important community economic issue. The Newtown Democratic Town Committee recognizes that the maintenance of the owner-operator bus system is a vital piece of Newtown’s economic vitality.  Keeping the $2.5M – $3.0M dollars in the Newtown economy is critical.  From a cursory economic perspective, with an average economic multiplier of money factor of 3, the $2.5M-$3M paid to owner-operators in Newtown results in $7.5M – $9.0M dollars in community area dollar spending; add to that the property and vehicle taxes that Newtown collects from owner-operator buses. The choice to lose tax revenues and community dollar spending when the vast majority of voters want the owner-operator services makes no sense.
Finally, Dr. Janet Robinson, Superintendent, Ron Bienkowski, Business Director, and the Board of Education must recognize that any short term dollars saved will not necessarily be injected into the educational budget for other services. In summary, this unwise policy will result in a lesser quality of services, fewer education dollars, and significant economic loss to the town overall. We strongly encourage these leaders to reject the present avenue they are traveling.

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