Last night, the Tompkin’s County Independent Redistricting Commission voted to recommend an adjusted 14-district plan to reapportion the County’s legislative districts. This would change the county from being a 15 district legislative seat, to decreasing it by reducing Ithaca’s number of seats from five to four.
The plan is supported by a 6-2 vote by the Commission to slightly adjust the district boundaries in the City of Ithaca. The recommendation would adjust the City district lines to include the eastern side of Linn Street and the census block that includes University Avenue in the Fall Creek district, and to extend the Central city district from Collegetown down to the Ithaca Commons. Committee members are divided on how to accommodate students and the permanent residents. There are various views on the issue and how the reapportioning should be done.
Some views reflect both the residents of these areas and reflect the students. Though the students are a part of the district, they do not reflect their views in voting. This could mean that wards with more students would lead to more uncompetitive elections. By including permanent residents to the Fourth Ward, the election problem would be resolved. Also the issue of viewpoints begins to play a big part in this debate.
Commission Char Dr. Henrik Dullea will prepare a draft report for the Commission members to review and be presented for final approval on February 22. It will include the input that was provided from the citizens at the Commission's previous hearings. The report will be submitted to the Legislature for consideration before March 1.
The county redistricting scenarios may be viewed at the Redistricting Commission's web site at http://www.tompkins-co.org/redistricting .