Friday, October 7, 2011

NEIGHBORHOODS MOBILIZE: Against Ward "gerrymandering" plans

Dudley
COLUMBIA, 10/7/11  (Beat Byte) --  Columbia neighborhoods that would lose City Council representatives under two so-called "gerrymandering" Ward reapportionment plans are mobilizing against them.
 
Although the city's Ward Reapportionment Committee voted to recommend what most observers consider the best plan -- Trial E -- 4th Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley recently came out in favor of Trial D -- one of two gerrymandering plans that also include Trial A
 
"It's very important that we let Mr. Dudley and the rest of the Council know
how we feel about these plans."
 
With muddied waters created by a last minute monkey wrench from city attorney Fred Boeckmann -- who out of nowhere declared several reapportionment plans "illegal" -- Dudley announced his intentions to "clean up" Trial D and promote it to his Council colleagues.
 
Neighborhood associations in Benton-Stephens, North Central Columbia, and the Old Southwest -- all of which would lose net representation on the Columbia City Council under Trials A and D -- have been fired up since, and Dudley has agreed to meet and explain his position. 
 
"I sent a letter to the Council, the Mayor and the reapportionment committee back in July expressing opposition by the Westmount Neighborhood Association (WNA) to Trial D,"  WNA president Catherine Doyle emailed Mr. Dudley last week.   "I think it's important that you discuss your plans with all of your constituents, especially those affected by Trial D, and give your constituents a chance to express their opinions before the Council votes for a reapportionment plan."  
 
Neighborhoods in Benton-Stephens, North Central Columbia, and the
Old Southwest have been fired up.
 
Some 4th Ward constituents see Dudley's move as a slap in the face.  On word the Councilman would appear this Friday at the library to explain his opinion, Tracy Greever-Rice said he already made his position crystal clear.   
 
"When an elected official not just accepts, but champions the removal of the most active precincts in his Ward, he's pretty clearly expressed his opinion," she explained. 
 
Invited to attend last weekend's Historic Old Southwest Neighborhood Association (HOSWNA) annual picnic, Dudley begged off to "do inventory at Hy-Vee," his employer, explained HOSWNA president Hank Ottinger.   But even without his presence, Ward reapportionment was a hot topic. 
 
"It's very important that we let Mr. Dudley and the rest of the Council know how we feel about these plans," Ottinger told the crowd. 
 
Great idea, Old Southwest resident Brent Gardner told neighborhood listserv members.  "We need to show up and express our Old Southwest opinions, just in case those opinions haven’t made it out to Hy-Vee," Gardner explained. 
 
4th Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley on Ward Reapportionment
Daniel Boone Regional Library
Friends Room
Friday, October 7
3:30 pm - 6 pm
 
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