Gubernatorial race: Curry

At the polls Tuesday, voters will choose as they did four years ago between incumbent Gov. John Rowland and Democrat Bill Curry, former comptroller for the state of Connecticut.

Rowland, a republican, has in eight years as chief executive devoted money and time to improving schools and embarked on impressive public works projects, including a plan to revitalize Hartford’s moribund waterfront. But his second term has been marked by increasing cronyism, making the prospect of a third term unappealing.

Equally disturbing is Rowland’s habit of catering to the suburbs and his failure to pay adequate attention to urban areas during his tenure. He vetoed a hard-won bill to clean up the Sooty Six — a clutch of highly pollutant plants outside New Haven — and consistently supported tax policies that put city residents at a disadvantage.

His opponent, on the other hand, has run a lackluster campaign with little support from the state’s Democratic senators. Curry is wonkish but focused on cities, making him a better candidate for improving New Haven. We endorse Bill Curry for governor of Connecticut.

Charter reform: No

Voters also will consider a host of fundamental changes to New Haven’s city charter. Several of the proposals — changes to city hiring policies and campaign finance laws — make good democratic sense. But a proposal to double the length of the mayoral term to four years from the current two is distressing.

Following the costliest mayoral election in city history, in which candidates spent a total of $1.2 million, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. proposed the switch as a remedy; a four-year election cycle, he argued, would be far less costly than a two-year election cycle. In New Haven, where the mayor already has far too much power relative to the city council, a four-year term would render the balance almost insurmountable.

Furthermore, the way that the changes will be presented to voters is unacceptable. The culmination of the nearly yearlong charter reform process will be one vague ballot question: “Shall the proposed changes to the city charter be approved?” If voters had been a regular part of the reform process over the last year, perhaps such a question might be acceptable. But the nine months of meetings, lawyering and lobbying have been marked by a lack of basic democratic participation.

That this very basic part of New England home rule has been shrouded in such mystery is shameful. We recommend a vote against the charter reform proposal.

Third District: DeLauro

Five-term Democratic incumbent Rosa DeLauro is running against Green Party candidate Charlie Pilsbury and Republican Richter Elser. Though DeLauro has been disappointingly partisan during her 12 years in office, she has generally taken an active leadership role and been good to the Third District.

There are few compelling reasons to elect one of the other two candidates, both of whom have considerably less experience. We endorse Rosa DeLauro in the Third District.