Get on with Redistricting

Observer-Dispatch (Utica, NY) - Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The argument du jour between Republicans and Democrats in the Oneida County Legislature is whether a month is enough time to redraw district lines. Republicans think it is. Democrats believe more time is needed. Whatever the case, the public should be clued in on the process. And that process should be fair and deliberate. 

County voters decided last November to trim the board from 29 members to 23. All the legislators are up for election in the fall, and the districts should be set in time for campaign season. The issue at this point is that there are no maps of reconfigured districts. That has Democratic Minority Leader Frank Tallarino of Rome in a tizzy, since he wants to make sure that there's no gerrymandering done to favor Republican candidates. Tallarino says he'll have the issue resolved in court, if need be. 

Come on. Once again petty politics is standing in the way of good government. The problems this county faces aren't Republican or Democrat problems, they're non-partisan problems that affect every single taxpayer. 

Hamilton College government Professor Phil Klinkner thinks the redistricting issue can be settled in a month if the politics can be kept out of the process. So far, that doesn't appear to be working. 

Legislators have a copy of the existing district map, and a representative from the county Planning Department will be at a Redistricting Committee meeting Wednesday. The department has a computer program that can generate possible maps that give each district the proper number of residents - about 10,000 for each of the new 23 districts. 

So configure some models, share them with the public, have some responsible discussion and get on with it.