Vote No on Burlington’s Proposed Redistricting Plan

burlington-redistricting-planBallot Item 5 – Proposed charter change RE: Ward Boundaries, City council, School board, Ward officer, and Voter registration board composition?

The proposed redistricting plan would add an additional ward for a total of 8 wards with 4 larger districts. There would be 2 less city councilors for a a total of 12 city councilors. All city councilors would be voted on in 2015.

I don’t like the idea of less representation on the city council. I would much rather the city just add more city councilor positions. Mayor Miro Weinberger has threatened to veto any addition of city councilors and current city council candidates have argued this fact as a reason to support the current proposal. However, they could simply override his veto if they wanted to. I imagine that the mayor and the current city council members don’t want any additional city councilors for one simple reason. I would dilute their power. The mayor only has one vote, any additional councilors will dilute his vote. Also, more new city councilors run the risk of new people not willing to support the established power’s plans. Plans going forward could be threatened.

Having the 4 larger districts help solidify the incumbent’s ability to keep power as the larger the district the harder it would be a for a challenger to cover the district with signs and go door-to-door.

I can certainly understand why the mayor and existing city councilors would want this proposal, but the voting citizens should see this as a threat to diverse representation on the city council.

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2 Responses to Vote No on Burlington’s Proposed Redistricting Plan

  • hi Jeremy. word gets around. so lemme tell you that i was a bit involved with the redistricting (i drew the map) even though i was not in an “official” position. i, too, would have preferred the 8/16 plan with the same map; Council would just have to scoot their chairs over a little and add two more. but there was serious resistance, not just the mayor, to increasing the size of council. we might just have to accept that restriction in the spirit of compromise.

    as a matter of fact, the New North End **must** reduce it’s representation on Council, to satisfy the U.S. Constitution and the results of the 2010 census. the NNE (about everything north of Convent Square) is 10206 out of 42417 or 24% of the city. 4 out of 14 councilors is **more** than 25% and we need to go down to at most 25% of Council, which we do with either 3 out of 12 or 4 out of 16. either way, our representation in Council is the same portion.

    lastly, if Q5 fails on Tuesday, we run the risk of getting a far worse deal for the NNE. the southies wanted us to accept a plan giving the NNE 3 out of 13 instead of 3 out of 12 (everyone gets to stay the same except the NNE loses one councilor). besides losing a councilor (while no other part of the city does), we would either get stuck with a plan where the whole NNE is one big superward with 3 councilors (but the other 5 wards get to remain small with 2 councilors each) or, where you live there would be a half-ward of half the population and only 1 councilor. so you only get to vote for city council every odd-numbered year instead of every year like everyone else in the city. would you like that better?

    Jeremy, you might want to be a little more careful about watching out for your own political interests, because other than 8/16, this is the best plan we can hope for in the NNE and those in the south that want solve this problem by screwing the NNE will team up with you and vote no on Q5. it seems to me to be odd collaborators.

  • Hello Robert,

    Thank you for your response and for your presentation at the Ward 4/7 debate. It was most helpful.

    However, after the presentation I got more concerned about the current proposal. Specifically how is it seems that a lot of people prefer the idea of just adding two more councilors and that the only thing holding it back is the Mayor threatening to veto. Why isn’t the idea of simply overriding his veto a valid option?

    Isn’t that a solution that ALL the wards could be happy with? Why settle for something that no one really likes when we could have an option that everyone wants… also, why should we be stuck with voting yes or no on one plan. Why not have the several proposed plans on the ballot and the voters be allowed to rank them in order of preference?

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