George Barrett fired the first warning. Now Don Majors is sharpening the aim.
In mid-January, veteran Nashville attorney Barrett wrote Metro officials, urging them to promptly take U.S. Census Bureau statistics, due to arrive March 31, and redraw the Metro Council’s 35 district lines to ensure voting accuracy for the Aug. 4 election.
Barrett said he was prepared to take legal action. Now Majors, a former Metro councilman and current aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, is joining the effort.
“The city could possibly end up with another fiasco,” Majors predicted. He’d know.
In the early 1990s, Majors lived in northeast Nashville’s 900-home Parkwood subdivision. Following the release of the census’ decennial statistics in 1990, Metro held its August 1991 council election — without finalizing redrawn district lines until 1992.
“Prior to [redistricting], I lived in District 3,” Majors recalled. “After the lines were redrawn in 1992, Parkwood was moved to District 4. So from 1992 to 1995, Parkwood and two huge apartment complexes were located in a no-man’s land.”
At the time, Paul Koulakov represented District 3 and Jimmy Summers District 4.
“Summers had little incentive to resolve some issues in Parkwood because we were not officially living in his district [at the time of the 1991 election],” Majors said. “On the other hand, Koulakov knew when he ran in 1995 that Parkwood residents would no longer be voters within District 3. So he had little incentive also.”
The situation created an opportunity for Majors, who defeated Summers in the 1995 election. Still, Majors said the situation is troubling — if not potentially a legal mess.
Majors said the Metro Planning Department, before the May 19 deadline for council candidates to qualify, should draft a redrawn map to indicate whether any large neighborhoods would later be moved to a different district. This would minimize, if not eliminate, a possible second Parkwood situation.
“If the preliminary redistricting map doesn’t appear to have a detrimental effect on any one neighborhood, the planning commission and Metro Council can approve it at their leisure,” he said.