City Council Meets Public Halfway in Redistricting Decision

A compromise in the debate over redistricting Menifee was reached Tuesday evening when City Council met the public’s demands halfway. Counci...

A compromise in the debate over redistricting Menifee was reached Tuesday evening when City Council met the public’s demands halfway. Council members were all in favor of appointing a citizens committee to work with a consultant in the process of redrawing borders.

National Demographic Corporation was hired by the city earlier this year to determine if their four districts complied with federal law that states each area must have equal population. According to the 2010 census provided by the corporation, the city is unbalanced and must adjust their boundaries to avoid potential lawsuits.

Redistricting would only make minor adjustments to each area’s population, but the council and public were divided on how it should be accomplished. “This has been very destructive for us as a council,” said Mayor Wallace Edgerton.

One of the city’s redistricting options is to continue working with the demographic corporation, who would provide council with a plan for $18,500. An alternative proposal to save money was made to the council by Menifee resident Anne Pica, the woman who authored the city’s current district system. She encouraged in-house districting with a citizens committee aided by a consultant.

Council members questioned how reliable a committee would be in dealing with a redistricting procedure subject to judicial challenge. They voiced their concerns about how much time and money it would take to train citizens to use demographic software, and how correct the results would be.

The council came to agree that a professional should be present to approve or alter the new adjustments, even if a committee was appointed. Mayor Edgerton was in favor of continuing with National Demographic Corporation to oversee the committee, but other council members were uncomfortable with the cost.

Councilman John Denver settled the debate with a suggestion of negotiating the expenses. “As a compromise, lets appoint a committee of citizens with a professional and get it as cheap as we can.”

President of National Demographic Corporation Douglas Johnson arrived as the meeting adjourned. He and the city manager will discuss the details for the council’s next plan of action, which will be presented Aug. 2 during their next meeting.

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