Thursday, May 5, 2011

Redistricting of Guilford County Commissioners IS ON, How Will The Maps Look, Gerrymandered or Compact?

Guilford County Commissioner Map

Jordan Green from Yes! Weekly CLICKHERE had this to say in the Scuttlebutt section of their weekly paper.

Suburban growth creates need for redistricting of guilford county commission

Suburban growth will require redistricting of Guilford County Commission The district lines for the Guilford County Commission will have to be redrawn based on the 2010 Census, which recorded uneven population growth, County Attorney Mark Payne said. Five out of 11 precincts had strong population growth and will likely have to shed precincts to be rebalanced.
The county saw a suburban growth pattern in the last decade, with three outlying districts demonstrating the most dramatic growth. Payne said District 2, which covers north High Point and is represented by Republican Bill Bencini; District 3, covering the northwest corner of the county and represented by Republican Linda Shaw; and District 4, represented by Democrat Kirk Perkins in the northeast all saw population growth exceeding 30 percent. District 5, running south to southeast and represented by Republican Billy Yow, grew by 17 percent. District 9, drawn to ensure minority representation under the federal Voting Rights Act and represented by Democrat Carolyn Coleman, grew by 13 percent.
Payne said state statute holds that if there is substantial inequality of population the affected board may redefine its districts, adding that federal case law has established that if the variance from smallest to largest district is 10 percent or more redistricting must be done to ensure equal representation. He said the first step will be for the county commission to determine the appropriate process for redistricting.
Redistricting is “discretionary under the statute, but it’s not discretionary under the Voting Rights Act, in my opinion.” Payne said.

 3 Guilford County Commissioners saw a 30% growth in their districts with northeast guilford county, northwest guilford county and southwest guilford county seeing a huge population shift in the county. Redistricting has been on the minds of  plenty of people but we have seen a complete silence from our Guilford County Commissioners. Now with this report from Yes!Weekly and knowing that in regards to redistricting they want to have a variance of commissioners of 10% or below in population that we have a situation where some of the districts are in 30% range well of the 10% level needed.

On April 27, 2011 at Guarino's Blog he has a post titled "Guilford County Redistricting:Will There Be A Media Push To Erase Previous Gerrymanders" CLICKHERE

After seeing what has transpired with the debacle of redistricting in Greensboro ,and living here my whole life except for a few years at the beach , one can only wonder how the redistricting of the Guilford County Commissioners is going to transpire. Will we see the gerrymandered maps as the one above that is what you see now in Guilford County or will the new maps look a whole lot different.

One thing that needs to happen is that if the Guilford County Commissioners think they can do something behind closed doors think again and transparency needs to be a part of the process. For example if each commissioner comes up with their own plan then they need to have a open forum for all to see the maps and have time to actually see the effects of the new districts. Not what happened in Greensboro where you get a map on Friday night then vote on it 4 days later .

This new map for Guilford County Commissioners is going to bring out plenty of diverse perspectives and hopefully everyone will have on their big boy pants for a fight that has huge implications for the next 10 years. It is time to have neighborhood representation all over this county and not having districts split neighborhoods apart as we see in Commissioner Cashion who's district splits the starmount neighborhood in half.

If the commissioners do not come up with their own plans for redistricting maybe it is time to have a guilford county redistricting commission made up of  2 democratic party reps , 2 republican party reps and 2 independent reps who will work with the County GIS planner and the Guilford County Board of Elections to come up with compact areas that make sense not the gerrymandered districts we see in place.

More to come on this issue.

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