A deliberate approach to redistricting is better

Published 2:16 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

To the Editor:

“Let’s get it done.” Yep, that’s just what we need to do. Never mind that the citizens soundly rejected the old board incumbents in the last election.

Some have proposed just adopting the seven district plan that was proposed by appointees from the prior board. Does it make sense to continue with a committee composed of appointees from the last board? Several were relatives of past board members. In Smithfield, of my three appointees, my female black appointee has passed and another has told me they will never again serve on such a committee. So thirteen are now down to eleven with only four appointed by the current board with three of those appointed by the departing Hardy supervisor. Still think that is the best approach?

A slow, deliberate approach to any redistricting will best serve the citizens. A quick rush to implement seven districts in an election year makes little sense if the goal is to ensure that all have a chance to understand and review any proposed changes. I don’t know where the future supervisor from Hardy stands on the issue but he needs to be heard. Making changes before any minority member joins the board seems to be a giant step backward; especially if he might disagree.

I believe that how we make any changes to the election districts is possibly more important than any particular changes that might be made. The old seven-district plan clearly had some politically motivated components as did the five-district plan.

Characterizing those opposed to an open, fair and informed approach as being power hungry is more than a little unfair but, “it happens.”

Let’s take time to do it right and do it fairly with a real effort to keep the citizens informed of the “what and the why.”

Al Casteen
Board of Supervisors
Smithfield District