Reactions mixed to planning department's redistricting map

Monday, March 28, 2011 at 7:48pm

Depending on the Metro Council member or candidate asked, the second version of proposed redrawn Metro Council lines is either an improvement from the initial draft or one riddled with problems.

“I’ve got my district back,” said Bellevue-area Councilman Bo Mitchell, who had lost approximately 60 percent of his constituent base in redistricted boundaries released last week. “Flood victims I’d been representing were no longer in my district.”

The Metro Planning Department on Monday released a revamped council map known as “Plan B,” which features radical changes from its first proposal unveiled last Wednesday. The department is expediting the redistricting process just weeks before the May 19 candidate qualifying deadline and four months prior to Metro’s Aug. 4 election.

The map will evolve again, with a third map coming out Wednesday before the planning department recommends a final draft to the planning commission Thursday morning. The commission will vote on new council and school board lines later that day.

Council members like Mitchell appreciated the changes in Bellevue, but representatives like Antioch-area Councilman Robert Duvall had a different reaction. Under the second draft, Duvall stands to lose several neighborhoods he currently represents. He said he’s handed the planning department a proposal of his own.

“I’ve given them another plan,” Duvall said. “When we first started this, my understanding was that we were going to try to keep the districts as close and as similar as what they were.”

Another wrinkle in Duvall’s District 33 is the situation with former school board member Karen Johnson, who had qualified to run to succeed outgoing council member Vivian Wilhoite. With the revamped lines, Duvall and Johnson would be competing for the same seat.

There’s also the case of candidate Brady Banks, who had originally sought to run to represent the council’s Nippers Corner-area seat. The first round of changes grouped his home address with a Crieve Hall-area district. The second round has placed him inside the district represented by Forest Hills-area Councilman Carter Todd.

“It’s a different council district every week,” said Banks, who stressed he’s going to continue working hard.

“You would have lots on one side with $1 million homes,” referring to how Interstate-65 runs through the proposed district. “Where I live, it’s town homes, condos and apartments that are easily purchased under $200,000. So, there’s not a whole lot in common with that side of the interstate.”

Metro Planning Department director Rick Bernhardt said the new plan seeks to “reunite neighborhoods.” Some had criticized the first draft for supposedly dividing communities.

Unlike the first draft, Bernhardt said “Plan B” combines The Nations neighborhood in West Nashville into one district. He also said it reunites the Belmont and Hillsboro-West End areas, as well as Woodbine, Edgehill, Inglewood, Madison and Goodlettsville. 

5 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 3/29/11 at 4:25

Noted that some districts and neighborhoods are getting a lot more
consideration and tender care than others. Life, funding, schools and
decent representation still contains ye ole "which side of the tracks
you live on"!

By: Paul on 3/29/11 at 7:13

The Belmont/west areas SHOULD be in one district as they are in Plan B. That's a very cohesive, engaged community and quite different from the Green Hills district in which some it would have been placed under Plan A. All districts should be left alone as much as possible.

By: global_citizen on 3/29/11 at 12:30

I agree with Paul. Anyone who would propose carving up the Belmont-Hillsboro-West End area the way Plan A did is showing that they have no familiarity with this neighborhood whatsoever.

This is a very strong, united, cohesive neighborhood that should not be split into three or four different council districts. I'm wondering what someone was thinking when that was initially proposed.

By: Carol Williams on 3/29/11 at 4:39

Redistricting is far bigger that a census. Economic development in East Nashville will benefit if Main Street and Gallatin Road are in District 6 rather than divided. Those of us who have been around a while know this is as much political as census. Rushing the process is good and bad.

By: Trumpetman on 3/30/11 at 6:59

I feel that based on population the different districicts or neightborhoods should have a combination of representives to represent the area, just like how it is in higher levels of government. For example like each state has a certain number of representives based on population therefore neighborhoods won't be devided, like Antioch, which is a highly populated area, divided into at least 4 districts wile the majority of the area share the same concerns, if it were combined into 1 entire district represented by 4 council persons working together so more could get done in the particular larger areas at one time. Other smaller communities could still have 1 represtative.