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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Council Discusses Redistricting Options

The Louisville Metro Council ad hoc committee on redistricting met Monday to discuss moving forward on drawing new borders for the 26 district seats.

From the beginning council leaders have vowed to protect incumbents, preserve minority representation and keeping neighborhoods united. But lawmakers disagreed on whether an independent demographer should be hired to redraw the maps or if city officials can handle the task after receiving proper software training.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, says the council will finish compiling the census data before the Dec. 31 deadline, but she was concerned if staffers can properly upload the numbers in order to redraw district lines.

“I’m just a little concerned that we’re proceeding probably without an independent demographer to guide us through this process. And it’s kind of like we’re relying on them maybe at the end and we may be back at square one. I don’t know if it’s unfounded or unjust or whatever,” she says

Population shifts that have occurred across the city show growth in east Louisville and an exodus from the city’s West End, particularly in historically black neighborhoods such as Hamilton’s district. There is concern that could diminish minority representation on the council.

During the committee meeting, Council President Jim King, D-10, said he favored the option of city officials entering the data as opposed to a independent group. When that position was hammered by colleagues on both sides of the aisle, King defended himself from criticism that the process is being hurried and the new lines wouldn’t be fairly drawn.

“I never said anything about it being a rushed thing and I never said anything about breaking the law,” says King. “All I’ve said is that I think that this is a numerical calculation. I have no problem with having an independent body validating it later.”

The council will hold another redistricting committee meeting seeking public input on July 1. The committee is still waiting for the final census figures.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

King Names Citizen Panel For Fiscal Court Redistricting

On the heels of creating an ad hoc committee on redistricting, Louisville Metro Council President Jim King, D-10, has named three citizens to a panel that will deal with redrawing the lines for Jefferson County’s Fiscal Court districts.

In 1913, Jefferson County moved to a commissioner form of government that gave rise to the three member body known as the Fiscal Court, with the County Judge Executive at the helm.

The merging of city and county governments in 2003 nullified the court’s power, but state law still requires three residents over the age of 21 review census data to redraw the district lines.

“Even though Metro Government has taken over the responsibilities of the old Jefferson Fiscal Court, we are still required to redraw the districts consistent with the U.S. Census,” says King. “This process will be somewhat easier than the redistricting of the Metro Council’s 26 districts.”

King appointed Rebecca Lamb to represent District “A”, Michael Mercer to represent District “B” and Clarence Yancey to represent the “C” District. Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is a non-voting member of the commission.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Council Forms Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee

Hoping to deliver a redistricting plan by fall 2011, Louisville Metro Council President Jim King, D-10, announced the creation of a new ad hoc committee that will focus on redrawing the 26 council districts in accordance with state law and 2010 U.S. Census data.

The committee is an extension of a work group created earlier this year that will be chaired by Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, with Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, serving as vice-chair.

“I am confident this committee will approach the task of redistricting with the best interest of citizen representation and will dedicate themselves to making sure all the council districts are redrawn fairly,” says King. “This is an important job and I know this committee will work hard.”

Rounding out the ad hoc committee are council members Barbara Shanklin, D-2, Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, Kelly Downard, R-16, Robin Engel, R-22, Madonna Flood, D-24, and Brent Ackerson, D-26, who will help review the census numbers.

At earlier redistricting meetings, King vowed to protect incumbents while preserving African-American representation and keeping neighborhoods united.

However, that could be difficult given the population shifts that have occurred across the city, with growth in east Louisville and dwindling numbers in historically black neighborhoods that could diminish minority representation. In the predominately black 5th District, west Louisville neighborhoods have seen a 12 percent population loss due in large part to a vacant housing crisis in the area.

The redistricting committee will hold its first meeting May 16th at City Hall. The council has until Dec. 31 to pass an map ordinance to finalize its new district seats.

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Local News

Census Workers Go Door-to-Door Starting May 1

by Stephanie Crosby

Kentucky recorded a higher rate of participation in the questionnaire portion of the U.S. Census this year than it did ten years ago. Only four states met or exceeded their 2000 rate of participation: Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Kentucky’s participation rate in 2000 was 70-percent.

Census spokesperson Clay Barbour says census workers will start traveling door-to-door to those who didn’t respond to collect information.

“The people that we miss are not the people that aren’t at home,” says Barbour. “So you’ve got people who are living on someone’s couch, you’ve got people who maybe live between homes, that sort of thing. Those are the people who get missed. If you have a house and you come home and eat dinner at night, we’re going to find you, and we’re going to count you.”

Barbour says door-to-door counts will start May 1st. He says there are 10,000 door-to-door census workers in Kentucky, and about 1,500 in Louisville.