|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Sunday, 26 June 2011 00:00|
Constituents calling and emailing Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis overwhelmingly support Map C as the best configuration for five new supervisory districts to be officially set by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors in August, Davis said June 15.
Davis announced to the Mingus Mountain Republican Club on June 14 he preferred Map C as the best of four options recommended by the Yavapai County Independent Redistricting Committee. The county continues to host public meetings seeking feedback on the proposals.
Davis is the first supervisor to advocate for a specific redistricting plan.
When creating redistricting alternatives, the independent committee took into account the priorities of cities, towns and unincorporated communities reflected in survey responses submitted by residents, Yavapai County Recorder Ana Wayman-Trujillo said.
The committee also considered the requirements of state and federal law. No matter which redistricting plan is approved, it must ultimately pass review by the U.S. Department of Justice, Wayman-Trujillo said.
The board could approve a completely different redistricting plan without regard to the maps, but in doing so, it could fail to observe important criteria that would delay confirmation by the Department of Justice or even disqualify the plan entirely, she said.
In his office June 15, Davis threw a 4-by-4-foot sponge board map onto a conference table and leaned in for a closer look. Maps A, B and D leaned against the wall next to his desk.
Map C was one of the props county officials used at community meetings to ask county residents for opinions about the redistricting proposals.
Most Cornville residents who commented during an open house June 1 said Map C was more appealing because it joins unincorporated communities like Cornville with Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome as part of Supervisory District 3, the district currently represented by Davis.
The maps, a product of months of study by the Yavapai County Redistricting Committee, divide the county into five districts of roughly equal population with about 42,000 residents in each, Wayman-Trujillo said.
County supervisors will vote to approve the new districts in August, according to the county’s official timeline for redistricting. Although the supervisors are not required to approve of the proposed maps, choosing one assures the new boundaries will satisfy state and federal requirements for redistricting, she said.
The 2010 census showed Yavapai County exceeded a population threshold of 175,000, requiring the Board of Supervisors to expand the number of representatives on the board from three to five.
Lines that draw three supervisory districts must be redrawn as five to accomplish several goals required by the Constitution, Ayers said.
The redistricting plan must create districts that are relatively equal in population. The plan must not dilute the strength of minority voters. It must not result in a “racial gerrymander,” which attempts to draw lines according to the racial component of various neighborhoods.
Finally, a redistricting plan must take into account traditional redistricting criteria such as compactness, contiguity and respect for political subdivisions and communities of interest, Ayers said.
“We did very well staying within those guidelines,” Wayman-Trujillo said.
Voters should complete and submit survey responses to express their opinions. The survey responses are important. Responses that reflect a strong majority preference should guide the board’s final decision.
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