Redistricting Committee to reconvene in March
The clock is ticking on Cape Coral’s Redistricting Commission to set the new parameters for the city’s council districts.
2010 Census information is due in March, but it could be as late as April 1 before the commission gets a shot to study the data.
Their work must be completed no later than May 16, so city council can vote on their suggestions a minimum of 120 days before the primary election.
Chairman Gary Vandenberg said there’s enough time to ensure the work can be completed.
Vandenberg said that previous redistricting commissions had, on average, three meetings on a bi-weekly meeting schedule to accomplish their goals, and succeeded.
Districts 6, 5 and 2 will most likely see the biggest shift, Vandenberg said, which could affect Councilmember Kevin McGrail, who represents District 6.
Vandenberg stressed that redistricting is not politically driven.
“Our goal is to draw boundaries as equitably as possible,” he said. “Not to protect or promote or defeat a councilman’s home district.”
The commission canceled its next three meetings because they will essentially remain inert until the Census data becomes available.
If city council does not vote to accept the commission’s recommendations, the following election would have no districts, and all potential council members would be elected at large.
So, far, the commission has just been trying to come to grips with the process, Vandenberg said.
The commission spent Wednesday’s meeting digesting sample data of a past Census, and looking at city council meetings to determine the deadline by which they needed to have their decisions before council.
“The work so far has been for us to understand what it is we have to do, reaching a consensus of how we’ll go about this,” he added.
The Redistricting Committee will meet again on March 9.