Man’s redistricting proposal had a fatal flaw

Clark County commissioners voted this week to redraw boundaries to balance the population among the three commissioner districts.

I’m not sure if people really care (or even know) which district they live in; commissioners are elected countywide in the general election and they will all say they represent everyone, not just those in their district.

(And when I say “people” I don’t mean the political geeks who read this blog. I’m sure our dear readers know which district they live in and they can name not only the current commissioner but also the former commissioner. Myself, I live in Mielkeville, formerly Morristown.)

Speaking of political geeks, and I mean that term as a compliment, Vancouver resident John Milem presented an alternative redistricting proposal to commissioners. Milem really gets into redistricting. He’s traveled around the state to testify at redistricting meetings, as you can read about here and here.

Milem lives in the Fircrest neighborhood, east of Interstate 205, and is among the 16,150 people affected by the changes. He argues the county didn’t follow state law; a deputy prosecuting attorney said redistricting requires a balancing act of interests and the county proposal was based on valid factors.

While the commissioners’ proposal moved 16,150 people into a different district (3.8 percent of the county’s population,) Milem’s proposal was a radical shift that would have moved 83,246 people, or 19.57 percent of the population.

Here’s what the new county map looks like.

Milem’s proposal dropped the southern boundary for District 1. I have spent way too much time unsuccessfully trying to link to a copy of his map, but the key thing was he shifted the entire Hockinson School District up into District 1.

While the county put emphasis on following precinct boundaries, Milem used school district boundaries as a guide, something the county has not used.

Can anyone guess the reason that there’s no way commissioners would have ever voted for this proposal? If you are a true political geek, you would know where commissioners live.

Under Milem’s proposal, which he urged commissioners to adopt at meetings on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, Commissioners Marc Boldt and Tom Mielke would be in the same district.

Both are up for re-election in 2012.

Good try, though.

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