Council unanimously approves redistricting map on second vote

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 8:35pm

The Metro Council gave preliminary approval Thursday for a redistricting proposal that would give members new political boundaries four months before Metro’s August election.

Unanimously, the council on the second of three votes approved new council and school board district lines based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data. The new political maps cleared the Metro Planning Commission last week after the planning department staff expedited the redrawing process to ensure completion well before candidates’ May 19 qualifying deadline.

The council’s vote on Thursday likely sets the stage for final approval on Tuesday. The vote came after little discussion and no disagreement with the new lines themselves. Many chose to thank the planning department for its work.

“I haven’t sensed a great opposition to this plan,” Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde said. “I think the planning [department] did a fine job of listening to us, listening to the public, figuring out ways to make a painful experience less painful.”

The greatest changes with the proposed council lines are in southeast Davidson County near Antioch, by far the fastest growing part of the city. That area has gained a council seat while the northeast part of the county lost one.

The only noteworthy commentary Thursday came from Councilman Jim Gotto, who also serves as a planning commission member and a state representative. Gotto voted for the redistricting bill Thursday, but said he doesn’t know how he’ll vote next week.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do on third reading,” Gotto said. “I think I know, but I want to reserve my right to change my mind.

“What we do,” Gotto said of moving forward with redistricting, “is we create a possible hardship and issue with those folks that have already pulled petitions, they have [named] treasurers. They’re raising money, they’re campaigning and they’re spending money. And they may have spent money in areas that they are no longer campaigning for.”

At the state legislature, Gotto has proposed moving Metro’s 2015 election to November 2016 to avoid the planning department’s having to hastily redistrict in the future.

If the council doesn’t adopt the redistricting bill next Tuesday, then members have 90 days to come up with a redistricting plan that would then go before the public on a referendum vote.  

Election day is Aug. 4.  

5 Comments on this post:

By: global_citizen on 4/8/11 at 6:54

Which version was approved? There was Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.

By: Activate on 4/8/11 at 8:07

So "the only noteworthy commentary" was a politician worrying about how this bill would affect politicians? Thank god they've got their priorities straight...

By: Ingleweird on 4/8/11 at 8:09

Can you say, "conflict of interest?" The Metro Council roster has Mr. Gotto listed as "retired." I didn't realize he did not relinquish his Council seat when he won his TGA seat, but HE SHOULD!! Swine-porker.

By: nash615 on 4/8/11 at 8:16

Gotto can cram it. The sooner he's out of his Council and Planning seats the better off Nashville will be.

By: NOISEEMIKE on 4/8/11 at 7:38

NOISEEMIKE - It's really amazing to me just from the 4 comments posted that people really don't know what is really going on. And anyone that knows the metro and state laws should know that there is no conflict of interest. And Jim Gotto is the only one with enought backbone to stand up for all that can and will be efected. By law the time line for the entire process can take up to 9 months.So everyone should uunderstand the whole picture before they start complaing. I really don't understand why the Planning Commission is trying to rush this through; what is on their Agenda. Let's give all the voters the same chance.