Saturday, September 25, 2010

Redistricting Committee Completes Work, Has Two Maps for Council

After sometimes contentious hearings and meetings over the past few months, the citizen redistricting committee completed its work and had two plans ready for the city council.

The creators of this plan, 15-REV, withdrew the plan from consideration.

This plan, a brain child of Steve Glorioso, was presented to and accepted by the committee Thursday.

This plan also advanced, so 17-REV and 13-REV-2 will be the plans the council gets to work with.

There are three factions tugging on the redistricting--the increased population north of the Missouri River, the concerns of the Black population, and the concerns of the Hispanic population. None wants their population divided so that their influence is lessened. The problem is that the population has shifted both north and to a lesser extent south. The 3rd council district and the 5th council district have lost population, while the 1st and 2nd have gained population. The City Charter asks that each council district have roughly the same number of people in it, so the amount of ethnic gerrymandering that can be done is limited. So now the ball is in the City Council's court. One of the committee's goals is that the redistricting will not have to be done again after the 2010 census figures are finalized in the spring of 2011. There is also the overall issue of when these redistricting efforts should be done, and getting the city charter more in line with the availability of fresh census date, while keeping the rules about how many general city elections occur between redistricting. That still is something that may be evaluated in the future.

Photos of the plans and the committee at work by the Observer. Click on photos to make bigger.

Author's note: This entry was written Friday and was going to be posted Saturday but your writer was felled by a virus, only now able to poke the head up above ground. In the meantime, Blog KC posted this fabulous up close look at these districts, illustrating exactly how small the differences are in places and how political this got. Please check out the post--linked here. Of course, all this committee's fine work can be derailed by the City Clowncil. Like I said, stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

You forgot the John Sharp faction.

bill kostar said...

Given the caliber of representation the minority communities have had and the abysmal results their neighborhoods have suffered all these years from clinging to the '60s notion that they can be respresented ONLY by someone who looks like them, I would think it's way past time to understand that there are plenty of qualified black and Latino candidates who could run and win in districts that represented the city's population generally. Just look at the new KCMSD School Board, which has brought enthusiasm and hope to a mismanaged disaster which had left tens of thousands of young people without the tools to cope in a modern world.
At the end of the day, we're all in this together, or not. Identifying our common purposes is always a stronger way to confront our common challenges.
We need much more serious public leadership and much less self-serving divisiveness that benefits just a handful of insider individuals and groups.
Let's hope the mayoral race will focus on some serious public policy initiatives that will address our highest prioirities and benefit all the residents of the city.

the observer said...

Anon 1:10 a.m.:
I did forget the Sharpies! Looks like they got what they wanted, the only part of the sixth in danger is that western piece, which is outside of HM C-1.

I actually wanted to see if I could see what his supporters looked like--what race and class they were. The audience at Thursday's meeting was mainly older Black folks, mostly men. I figured them for District 3 & 5 folk, but I suppose they could be District 6 peeps.

Thanks for pointing out my oversight. Must have been the virus.

The Observer

the observer said...

bill kostar:
I need to think about this.

Ideally we would just draw the lines around the boundaries required for the Charter provisions about population and leave it at that.

It just seems that we have not become as "post racial" as we think we are. I would not be uncomfortable at all with a well qualified, idea driven, unbeholden to special interests candidate for 6 District City Council that was of an ethnic group different from mine, but I know people of my racial group that would be.

In addition, the culture of victimhood and entitlement that has taken hold in the Black community has a hard time accepting that 1)Blacks can indeed compete on a level playing field. (That would mean they would have to stop being victims and asking for hand outs.) 2) That no one who doesn't "share" in that "victimhood" would "understand." 3) That a Black willing to play on the level field isn't really "Black" any way.

And I am waiting for the mayor's race to start being substantial. Nothing doing yet.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment

The Observer

bill kostar said...

Dynamic successful socities are not stuck in amber. Those are fossils.
Until this community shakes off the status quo of preconceptions, tired ideas, insider dealing, and apathy, the general slide will continue.
In my experience, things either get better or worse; they never just stay the same. And trying to address new challenges with the same old answers hasn't and won't work very well.
I hope some candidates in the mayoral and council races paint our greater opportunities with a brand new brush.

Bob G. said...

They went through some "redistricting" here in Fort Wayne a while have to read EVERYTHING and watch both hands fo these people.

While on the surface, it may seem like not "much" changes, it can have far-reaching consequences farther down the road.

Councilmanic districts and representation can alter DRASTICALLY.

And the developers are looking at dollar signs, so they won't care much about the PEOPLE.

I'd advise the people to do THEIR homework on attention and listen to EVERYTHINMG being told. Then look for your own answers to questrions.

Tread carefully on this.

Excellent post.

the observer said...

Bob G:
Thanks for your comment.

I would wager that most people in KC are not following this, and a few select voters will be surprised one day to find their polling places changed.

Ideally, we would draw lines without worry about racial groups and we would vote people in based on qualification, not what they looked like (MLK's dream...) but there is a lot of power and money attached to keeping the status quo.

Yes, we will try to keep an eye on things, but it's hard if you have a life. This is what we need a good full bodied newspaper for, but alas, our Kansas City Star is laying folks off left and right.

The Observer