The Importance of Preserving Checked & Balanced Government in Stamford


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To the Editor:

Stamford government is based on two independent branches: the Executive (the Mayor), and the Legislative, composed of the forty members of the Board of Representatives, two for each of the twenty municipal districts.  This arrangement is intended to deliver a balanced form of government that keeps in check the temptation towards excesses, such as for example, tax and spend.

The March 5 primaries for election of candidates for the Stamford Democratic City Committee (DCC) are far more important than many realize.  At stake is the built in principle of checks and balances.  The forty members of the DCC decide which candidates will be endorsed in elections for Mayor, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Board of Representatives, State Representatives, and Senators.  Given that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by over two to one, a DCC endorsement almost guarantees election.  As stated during a DCC meeting, candidates are expected to do what the DCC specifies; those that do not obediently follow the party line, or fall in line with the Executive, will be subsequently challenged in a DCC orchestrated primary to preserve its power, ultimately undermining the effectiveness of checks and balances.

The pursuit of unchecked power has long been evident in other matters, such as:


A loophole in our Charter allows for favored appointed members of boards and commissions to remain seated for years after expiration of their terms.  This loophole has been exploited to such an extent that even after the Board of Representatives has rejected the re-appointment of an incumbent, the incumbent is kept seated indefinitely, again frustrating the intended principle of checks and balances.  It took a request letter from a majority of the Board of Representatives for the administration to agree to discuss the appointments matter.


The DCC orchestrated March 5 primaries are intended to ultimately eject out of the Board of Representatives those that do not obediently follow the party line.  Should the DCC succeed in packing the Board of Representatives with additional compliant members, hang on to your wallet- any restraint on the growth of the City’s budget will vanish.  With the erosion of a checked and balanced government, there will be a loss of transparency, diversity of thought, and accountability.


Much criticism has been levied on the so called double dipping DCC members on the Board of Representatives, while remaining silent on the other DCC members double dipping on other boards and commissions, some even with expired terms.


Power hungry, extremists, anti-mayor, pigs, and even “Trumpists”, are some of the labels pinned on Democrats for Responsive Government in the press and on social media.  At a time in our nation when we desperately need to restore civility in politics and search for common ground, it saddens me that that these attacks, silent on policy proposals, have descended to insults, misinformation, and cyber bullying.

In contrast, the focus of Democrats for Responsive Government is characterized by initiatives such as:

  • Recruiting DCC candidates that uphold Stamford needs over those with special interests or political connections.

  • Advocating for democratic values that serve all, not tilted to the privileged.

  • Supporting reasonable, balanced development.

  • Creating deeply affordable housing and real paths toward home ownership.

  • Being responsive to the constituency, not the party establishment.

  • Nurturing civility, unity, and the search for common ground.

  • Being open to differing points of view.

  • Improving education through a robust system of accountability, and a commitment to boost student performance across our diverse communities.

  • Protecting the environment and fighting global warming.


Our central goal is to preserve the principle of a checked and balanced government.  The establishment‘s preference for candidates it “can work with” is code for rubber-stamping — again — hold onto your wallet.

It should give all of our residents pause that entrenched special interests and the politically connected are once again spending lavishly to support the “hold on to power” agenda of those now in control.

Virgil de la Cruz
Democratic City Committee, Waterside, District 2

The following members of the Stamford Board of Representatives and/or candidates for the Democratic City Committee join in endorsing this op-ed:

Kindrea Watson 9
Jeff Stella 9
Jason Kyek 13
Kate Kochiss 13
Anabel Figeroa 8
Gina Calabrese 8
Paul Arvoy 16
Fred Pier-Louise 16
Denis Paterson 6