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Stratford Councilman Cries Foul over Apparent Slight from His Own Party

Stratford Democrats opt to exclude current Fourth District Town Councilman Jason Santi from their list of endorsed members.

Fourth District Councilman Jason Santi listens on as Emma Brooks (not pictured) tells the incumbent why he doesn't deserve the DTC nomination for Stratford Town Council (taken in August 2013). Credit: Jason Bagley
Fourth District Councilman Jason Santi listens on as Emma Brooks (not pictured) tells the incumbent why he doesn't deserve the DTC nomination for Stratford Town Council (taken in August 2013). Credit: Jason Bagley
It’s Jason Santi’s party and he'll cry if he wants to.

But at least one fellow Stratford Democrat says it’s his right.

The Democratic Town Committee (DTC) endorsed a slate of members during a caucus Thursday night at Bunnell High School.

Absent from the list: Fourth District Town Councilman Jason Santi.

“I understand and respect people’s opinions but you’re breaking the spirit of the rules,” Santi told Stratford Patch shortly after the slate passed.

“The rules,” as Santi refers to them, are the bylaws of the committee and they state that Town Council members get automatic entry into the DTC.

“According to the current rules, Jason’s name should be on the list,” said Rick Marcone, the Democratic registrar of voters.

DTC Chairman Richard Buturla prepared the list with the help of local and state leaders, including Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.

He disagreed with Marcone.

“He doesn’t need to be part of the slate (to gain membership),” Buturla said of Santi. “Under bylaws he becomes an automatic member.”

Marcone said the newly endorsed slate becomes official in March. The DTC clicks refresh on membership every two years.

But what Santi sees as an apparent beef against him by fellow Democrats can be traced back to last July.

That’s when the DTC endorsed political newcomer Andre Ely to run for the Fourth District over the incumbent Santi.

Ely was the beneficiary of a sentiment held by many members who argued Santi sided too often with the 8-2 Republican majority on key Town Council votes.

The nomination didn’t pan out, though. After it surfaced that Ely owed the town thousands in back taxes, the newcomer pulled out and Santi eventually got the nod and won re-election.

But now the DTC is looking to see if it can change the rules.

A bylaws committee has been formed to review and consider making changes to committee rules, namely, that elected officials (i.e., Santi) receive automatic admission into the DTC.

Marcone, the Democratic registrar, said some members “question the validity” of that specific rule. A report from the bylaws committee is expected in March, according to Buturla.

In a release distributed before the caucus, Buturla is quoted as thanking those who helped him compile the list of endorsed members.

“I am pleased that all recognized that our common beliefs and purpose are, in fact, stronger than any division that may have ever existed,” he said.

Santi’s last words Thursday night: “It goes against that mantra, that new philosophy, that everyone’s united.”

Full report, including all those endorsed, to follow.

Ron Moreau January 12, 2014 at 12:30 AM
What's wrong with this picture? Change Party rules to alienate one of the only 2 DTC appointed members of the Stratford town council. And involve the Connecticut Dem. Chairman in 'backroom' appointments to the Stratford Democratic Committee? Representing 12,000 Stratford Democrats who do no give a crap.
Helene E. Logan January 17, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Siiiigh.

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