Guidelines: The Task Force also sought to follow the Council's guidance to look at commonality of social and economic interests, preservation of existing ward boundaries, and respect both neighborhoods and neighborhood associations.
Why two options?
The Council asked for two options. The Task Force reported that in one approach they chose to try to move the current boundaries around as little as possible. They reported that in the second option they thought about what it would look like to really start from scratch and only consider the requirements, not the guidelines, above. Thus, the second map (Option B) really looks quite different from current wards and results in Kay Daniels-Cohen moving to Ward 2, me moving to Ward 3, and both neighborhood associations in Ward 2 being divided up.
How did they deal with neighborhoods?
The Task Force tried to keep neighborhoods together by keeping residents on opposite sides of streets together, but were less stringent about splitting the upper and lower ends of streets or different streets from which residents might share backyards. In some places the Task Force was able to unite blocks that had been split by the current ward boundaries. However, they couldn't find ways to keep whole neighborhood associations together and still meet requirements (this is especially true in Option B but also to some extent in Option A)
How did the Task Force deal with the homes of existing (or candidate) councilmembers?
The Task Force operated as if it did not know the location of the homes of any existing councilmember because, by doing so, they would help avoid gerrymandering. In various options, the homes of Councilmembers and Council candidates from Wards 2,3, 4, and 5 (and the Mayor) all move wards, sometimes in ways that result in two individuals being placed in the same ward.
Last night's meeting was the first presentation by the Task Force to the Council - it was our first chance to see the report and speak directly with the Task Force and ask them questions about the process they went through and decisions they made. Next week's Council session includes a worksession (and opportunity for public comment) on the report. I expect there will be more meetings in the future. I believe (but we are seeking legal counsel to confirm) that any plan won't become effective until after the Ward 5 Special Election and before the 2013 city-wide election so we have some time to get this right and to allow lots of Council deliberation and neighborhood input.
Thank you for all your feedback so far - please feel free to continue to email me and your neighborhood associations or to participate in upcoming Council meetings on the Task Force's redistricting plan.Requirements: The Redistricting Task Force was formed in January 2012.The Task Force sought to find boundaries that would create wards of nearly equal population, that were geographically contiguous and compact, that recognized natural boundaries, and that were not gerrymandered to ensure the election or defeat of any incumbent or potential candidate. The most important legal requirement (as Sally noted) is that the Wards need to be of approximately equal population and current census data shows that they are not, hence the need to adjust ward boundaries.