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Manatee BOCC Votes in Favor of Redistricting Map


BRADENTON -- Deputy County Administrator, Karen Windon came to Tuesday's BOCC redistricting meeting with two maps labeled C and D (click here to view maps). Commissioners unanimously favored map D. They were the work of Manatee County's Geographic Information Systems team and included most of the changes requested by commissioners when they last viewed them.

The team's job was to take the old boundaries, square them off, keep the numbers close and follow the federal guidelines. Now the school district and the public will have the opportunity for any last words at the Nov. 7 Open House at the Manatee County School Support Center, 202 Manatee Ave. W. from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Manatee County's Supervisor of Elections, Bob Sweat, was at the meeting to weigh in on the new boundaries and to be sure they would keep his precincts intact, which don't change with redistricting, presenting an additional challenge. The final vote will be Nov. 21 at a BOCC meeting. There were a few public comments at the meeting Tuesday.  

Corrie Holmes got up to speak and said it as plain and simple as it can be stated. "I'm okay with plan D, but as far as it being more work, that's what you are there for." He was referring to commissioners' statements to try and minimize the expense by pushing the process forward. He was right. Often commissioners say they are concerned with what procedures might be costing the taxpayers, but bottom line, commissioners are often selective about when they use such logic. 

After Corrie, Mr. Charles Smith came forward. He said, "It might be helpful to visit the federal guidelines, make them compact, equal in population and make sure it's what the federal guidelines are." 

Then Mr. Dave Minor spoke. He said, "Show courage and political will. The Nov. 15 date is a false deadline. You could reschedule a hearing," he told the commission. "Direct your administrator to appoint someone from an independent committee to meet with Mr. Sweat. The most important thing you will do is redistricting. Be a leader in Florida. Show the people you are concerned."

Mrs. Byrd was the last to speak. She said, "Personal agendas, put them on the back burner and do what's right. It's not a racial thing, it's a people thing, it's a community thing, people have the same interest and desires." Mrs. Byrd said she was pretty much happy with Plan D, "you can't get everything you want." She wanted to thank the commission and all of those that helped to draw up the maps and put the whole thing together.

It wasn't easy for the commissioners to come to an agreement. There were still a few districts that had areas that stuck out into others. When Commissioners Joe McClash and Robin DiSabantino tried to square off a couple of areas, Commissioner John Chappie wouldn't have it. He claimed the people in those areas already knew where they were supposed to vote and he didn't want to put them through the trouble.

What seemed confusing about such logic was the fact that all of their districts seemed to be experiencing changes, and although he was subjecting others in his district to the different boundaries, that didn't seem to matter. Chappie eluded McClash's inquire to why he was passionate about the described area. Chappie denied there was any particular reason. 

There were two motions to modify the districts, one from McClash and the other made by DiSabatino, and both were voted down 4-3 against them. The final vote, to accept map D without modification, was Approved 6 to 1 with DiSabantino dissenting.


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