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Redistricitng commission ready to present proposal

By Staff | Apr 19, 2011

Cape Coral’s redistricitng commission will unveil its plan to city council on Monday, detailing its work on shuffling the boundaries of city’s seven voting districts.
The city’s population jumped considerably over the last decade, particularly in northern parts of the Cape, according to 2010 Census data.
Commission chair Gary Vendenberg said the the districts will eventually have around 22,000 residents once the lines are redrawn.
Vandenberg said the Districts 1 and 6 will see the most dramatic shift, if approved by city council.
“The Yacht Club district shrunk in population and had to grow in size, and District 6 grew in population and had to shrink in size,” Vandenberg added.
The city’s charter mandates the city be divided into seven geographical districts, and that each district contain “as nearly as possible” an equal population.
According to Vandenberg realignment of the city’s districts will not have an effect on sitting council members who are looking to re-up their seat – four seats are up for re-elections this year – but Vandenberg didn’t want to specualte on whether there was a host of potential candidates waiting in the wings to see how the districting process shakes out.
City council must approve the redistricting by May 16 or the city will have at large elections, but Vendenberg doesn’t anticipate council having any issue with the plan hammered out by the districting commission.
“I think it’s a comendable job,” Vendenberg said.
The commission worked Tuesday to tweak its presentaiton for council.
Commissioner Linda Prince thought it was important not to complicate things too much.
“We need to keep it simple when we present to them and let them make the final solution,” Prince said.
City council will hear the presentation during its workshop on Monday, April 25.
Should they reject the proposal or miss the May 16 deadline, the commission “shall reconvene” according to city charter, and work through the process 120 days prior to the primary election in 2013.
Commissioner Lynn Johnson joked that many citizens are not quite sure of what the northern part of the city looks like.
“People think north of Pine Island (Road) it just a bunch of fields, there’s no one living up there,” Johnson said. “There’s all sorts of stuff north of Pine Island.”