Afternoon Monday addition: Revamped council district map.
As if any further reminder were necessary, there’s a city council meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the usual stuffy and overcrowded room.
We’ve already discussed the latest Coffey Barbecued Bologna Plan for societal regression (here), as well as the pre-meeting public hearing on a workplace smoking ban (here). The other piece of the evening’s legislative puzzle is the first appearance of a redistricting ordinance since late last year, when in a stunning redistricting vindication, the council “failed to comply” with an agreement to settle with the plaintiffs and the Schmidt solution was laughed out of court.
Subsequently a committee composed of the three at-large councilmen and three representatives of the citizenry was formed, much earnest work has been done, and now, at this typically late date, Little Stevie is offended by the results, 'cuz he didn't get the information.
Council to discuss redistricting; Some in New Albany concerned about idea, by Dick Kaukas (Courier-Journal).
Councilman Steve Price, who represents District 3, said last week that he and District 4 Councilman Patrick McLaughlin would end up in the same district under the proposal and would have to run against each other if both sought re-election.
"I think it's politically slanted," Price said of the plan. "I think it was done on purpose because they want to take me out."
Price, who in two (unfortunate) three-way Democratic primaries has never even approached the lofty perch of 40% voter approval, was out at the cement pond and unavailable for further comment, but previously the Tribune provided an overview of the way that the latest solution to the council’s persistent disinterest in constitutionality came about.
New Albany redistricting plan ready for a vote, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).
Committee Co-chairman Randy Smith said the six districts were shaped to include as close to 6,325 people each as possible, based on population numbers confirmed through Floyd County Clerk Linda Moeller …
… Smith said he’s hopeful the council will sanction the new map since none of its members have provided input, except the three at-large councilmen assigned to the committee.
“I expect no criticism whatsoever, since we’ve had five public meetings,” Smith said.
All those public meetings, and still my councilman couldn’t appear even once to observe the process and reach an independent conclusion. Then again, as the council’s appointee to the Urban Enterprise Association board, Price has struggled valiantly to attend two of six UEA meetings so far in 2008. It would appear that professional decay management is a full-time position, and precludes participation in any enterprise that might dare to seek decay reversal.
Why, then, pretend to be a councilman? There's a question for that wise dude atop the mountain.
Naturally it wouldn’t be New Albany without a semblance of last-minute subterfuge (today’s vocabulary word, loyal readers … there’ll be a quiz), and so a reading of the ordinance proposed for tonight shows a significant change from the one offered by the committee. This alteration has to do with official precinct boundary changes and the potential involvement of the moribund county commissioners, all of which to these eyes is patently unnecessary, but then again, I didn’t serve on the committee. Worst yet, the suggestion that the redistricting process must hinge on the involvement of countywide elected officials seems the perfect excuse for grandstanding on the platform of anti-city/pro-county evil, and thus an equally perfect pretext for rejection.
Here’s what I know. NAC considered the redistricting plan’s impending vote in a previous posting, and the posting concluded with this sentence, which remains true today:
To paraphrase Mick Jagger: "ACLU, children, it's just a call away."
Just a call away, and yet the one fundamental requirement that has been missing throughout this two-year struggle is a clear, unambiguous statement of non-ironic commitment on the part of the city of New Albany’s elected legislative body to the principle of fair elections according to constitutional precedent.
One would imagine that such a commitment would lie somewhat near the heart of an elected official. Why not ours?