LETTER: Plan B for ward reapportionment offers best solution

Thursday, July 28, 2011 | 5:28 p.m. CDT

To suggest, as Columbia Daily Tribune Editor Hank Waters recently has, that reapportionment occurs in a political vacuum is as uninformed as it is disingenuous.

The guidelines specified by the Columbia City Council resolution that established the Ward Reapportionment Committee stipulates three principles, presumably in order of importance:

  • 1. Achieve ward equality “in population,”
  • 2. Best serve “the needs of existing neighborhoods,” i.e., neighborhood integrity, and
  • 3. Maintain the “contiguity of neighborhoods.”

Compactness, though perhaps a desirable outcome, is not a requirement — contiguity is.

With respect to a 2010 census target of 18,083, Ward 1 is the smallest (minus 25 percent variance), Ward 2 is the largest (plus 18 percent), Ward 4 is the second-smallest (minus 12 percent), Ward 5 is the second-largest (plus 9 percent), Ward 6 is next (plus 7 percent), and Ward 3 is the closest to ideal (plus 3 percent).

The simplest solution: To achieve population parity, add to Ward 1 from Ward 2, and add to Ward 4 from Ward 5. Leave Ward 3 and Ward 6 as is. Plan B comes closest to that solution.

Another compelling public argument is that Plan B alone offers a future possibility of expanding Ward 1 beyond current city limits by extending its boundaries northward.

Apart from the primary goal of reapportionment to balance the population changes, other representational aspects may be considered, but not selectively. If all representational aspects are considered, then “diversity” (of density, land use, infrastructure, etc.), and not “homogeneity,” ought to be encouraged within all wards as a means to provide representational balance.

Karl Skala is a Columbia resident.

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Ray Shapiro July 28, 2011 | 7:07 p.m.

When did adjusting Ward boundaries become an opportunity to manipulate voting results, one way or another?
I guess using the census based on population figures, (which represents body count numbers which could mean no more than significant population increases in infants in a ward or under voting aged youths), gives all "concerned" participants the opportunity to jockey for votes in wards which usually have low voter turnout during non-mayoral councilperson campaigns anyways.
Just divide Columbia up along a SouthEast, SouthWest, NorthEast and NorthWest quadrant scenario. Then let the chips fall where they may.
Heck, most of the population in that census don't even know what Ward they currently live in. Why not just use, for example Providence as the main North to South boundary and jog over to Rangeline for the rest of the Northern line aqnd use I-70 as your East to West axis. Then we can do away with 2 of our too many council seats. If you want, we can even make "The District" a special boundary which can be represented via our "Councilman-at-large," aka our Mayor.
Just some food for thought.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 29, 2011 | 6:09 a.m.

Hank Waters sometimes gets confused. (I am more charitable toward Hank than some, possibly because Hank and I are about the same age.)

Not so long ago Hank wrote an editorial in which he stated that until recently University of Missouri consisted of only one campus. Oh, really! What about the campus that's now 141 years old? Hank received an official letter from those folks.

We're used to being ignored. It makes us cry...all the way to the bank.

(Report Comment)

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