Thursday, March 17, 2011

Redrawing the district map


Metro is redrawing district maps, using recently released 2010 Census data.  The proposals are due next week.

The end result may be that homes in District 31 today will not be in District 31 by the time of the fall election, and homes not currently in the district may come in.

Metro's Planning department has started the work of reviewing the Census numbers and using those numbers to tweak the lines on the district maps. According to Planning's new redistricting web site, these are the guidelines for drawing the new boundaries:

  • Districts must be, as nearly as possible, equal in population.
  • Districts must be as much like current districts as possible.
  • Neighborhood boundaries must be maintained.
  • Natural boundaries must be utilized as much as possible.
  • Districts must be as compact as possible, with "contiguous" territory - in other words, districts must be in one piece, with no "islands" of additional territory.
  • "Satellite" cities within Davidson County (for example, Belle Meade, Oak Hill, and Lakewood) must not be split by Council districts.
  • Redistricting must be done in compliance with the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which ensures equal representation for all citizens.
  • The public must have an opportunity to comment during the redistricting process.

For more information, the articles published in the Nashville City Paper on March 1March 3, and March 16 are good background reading.  The e-mail below that went out from Craig Owensby in Metro Planning has most of the details:

The Planning Department has received population data from the Census Bureau, and will be posting proposed district lines on a new webpage for public review and comment. Public meetings and a special Planning Commission meeting have also been scheduled, and details are below. [...]

The Planning Department received 2010 Census information from the Census Bureau [on March 16, 2011]; preliminary processing of those figures has begun, and proposed new Council district boundaries will be available online forpublic review and comment beginning Wednesday, March 23. The Planning Department is attempting to propose new Council and School Board districts in a timely fashion so that the new district boundaries can be used in the August 2011 Council elections.

A new Planning Department webpage at http://www.nashville.gov/mpc/redist.asp provides information on the Metro Council redistricting process. This page is also linked directly from the Planning Department front page; it currently displays existing Council district lines based on the 2000 census and explains the guidelines that the Planning Department will follow in the generation of new district boundaries. The page will be updated regularly with maps showing potential new district boundaries as those maps are drawn, and includes an email link for public comment.

Three community meetings have been scheduled to discuss and explain the process and proposed new Council district boundaries and School Board district boundaries. Half of those public sessions will be directed to current Council, Board of Education, and Planning Commission members, and half to Council candidates and the general public. Planning Department staff will make short presentations and be available for informal discussion; there will be no formal public hearings, but written and verbal comments will be accepted.

Wednesday, March 23
Sonny West Conference Center, Howard Office Building, 700 Second Avenue South
1:30 pm - 3 pm: Council, Board of Education, and Planning Commission members
4 pm - 6 pm: Community members and Council candidates

Monday, March 28
Metro Southeast, 1417 Murfreesboro Pike
1:30 pm - 3 pm: Community members and Council candidates
4 pm - 6 pm: Council, Board of Education, and Planning Commission members

Wednesday, March 30
Sonny West Conference Center, Howard Office Building, 700 Second Avenue South
1:30 pm - 3 pm Council, Board of Education, and Planning Commission members
4 pm - 6 pm Community members and Council candidates

The Planning Commission will meet in special session at 4 pm Thursday, March 31, at Metro Southeast, 1417 Murfreesboro Pike, to consider potential new district boundaries. Once approved by the Planning Commission, the Council and Board of Education boundaries will go to the Metropolitan Council for final decision; the Council will set its own timeline for that process.

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