Gerrymandering is something that you usually only hear about on a statewide level. Unfortunately, we saw it in action last year. Apparently, some of our current Councilmembers feel they are entitled to serve on the Council regardless of what is in the best interest of the City.
Council Approved Gerrymandered Districts with a 3-2 Vote
The City was threatened with a lawsuit if it did not move to district-based elections. The Council decided to avoid the chance of a lawsuit and went ahead with districts. The Council elections changed from four at-large positions to six positions, each elected from a different district (the Mayor will remain an at-large position).
The key contested issue was the boundaries between districts 2 and 3. One proposed district map kept the Glenmoor Homeowners Association together and has a straight border along Mowry. This district would have had appointed Councilmember David Bonaccorsi in the same district as Councilmember Rick Jones who was elected in 2014. The terms for both of these Councilmembers are up in 2018. Thus, this would have meant that they would potentially be running against each other in 2018.
A second map was developed which has a jagged line running through the Glenmoor/Glen Manor area that runs between where Councilmembers Bonaccorsi and Jones live. The local Democratic Party advocated to Councilmembers that the Council should adopt the gerrymandered district boundaries in order to allow the incumbent Councilmembers to remain on the Council.
The City Council should have made the boundary decisions based on what makes the most sense for the City, not on what is needed to give the existing Councilmembers the easiest path to remain on the Council. This sense of entitlement should not be tolerated.
This map was approved by a 3-2 vote with Mayor Lily Mei and Councilmember Vinnie Bacon voting against.