Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kathleen Sullivan and Art Davis of the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress on the last redistricting gerrymander: What have we let our elected leadership get away with, and how bad has Guilford County been?

"On February 19, 2008, our City Council voted to adopt what is known as redistricting “Plan Q” over other redistricting plans, including a “Plan B” that had been recommended by City staff.

...The GNC membership is particularly dismayed with the manner in which Plan Q was adopted. Unlike Plan B and most of the other plans that were made available for public review and comment well ahead of the Council’s February 19 meeting, Plan Q was unleashed on the public for the first time during the Council’s meeting, by its sponsor, Council Member Zack Matheny, who is the District 3 representative. (In fact, The GNC has been informed that some of the Council Members themselves had only 24 hours or less to review Plan Q prior to the Council meeting.) The public had no opportunity to review any maps depicting the impact of Plan Q before (or even during) the Council’s meeting at which Plan Q was adopted. It is hard to imagine a decision more fundamental to our Country’s democratic processes than a redistricting that will deprive some voters of representation by the candidates they voted into office. For our Council to have made such a decision by adopting an alternative that the public was denied access to until after the fact is simply repugnant.

...Plan Q results in 26 voting precincts being shifted from one district to another, whereas Plan B would have shifted 3 precincts. This means that, absent your intervention, voters residing in 26 of Greensboro’s precincts (about one third of the total precincts in the City) will find themselves represented on July 1, 2008 by a candidate whom they did not have the opportunity to vote for in the general election on November 6, 2007. To deprive this many voters of the opportunity for representation by a candidate they had the opportunity to vote for (or against) is a serious usurpation of democratic processes. Plan Q also will split 11 neighborhoods whereas Plan B would split only 5, and the current redistricting splits 6 neighborhoods. Plan B would therefore result in one less split neighborhood than the status quo, compared to Plan Q, which will double the number of split neighborhoods.

...the areas recently annexed by the City have a primarily white population in District 5, Plan Q’s magnification of that dilution relative to Plan B constitutes another serious substantive flaw in Plan Q.

Because Plan Q is flawed substantively compared to Plan B in so many respects, it renders the procedural deficiencies attendant to Plan Q’s adoption all the more suspect, and begs the question of whether Plan Q’s conception and 11th hour unveiling was engineered by special interests. Plan Q has obvious political benefits for certain elected representatives and less obvious impacts for some business interests."

Kathleen Sullivan

Art Davis

Greensboro Neighborhood Congress

Via David Wharton

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