Well, I guess it could have been described that way this morning.
But not anymore.
After learning that incumbent Councilwoman Joyce McDonald was drawn out of her current 2nd District, the geographer hired to draw up the maps made a small change and put her back in.
“Easy fix,” wrote Steven Garrett this afternoon. “Puyallup just ‘annexed’ a very small piece of Summit-Waller.”
Until then, the latest map release last week by Garrett was causing a fair amount of angst on the Republican side. I noted in this morning’s column and in a blog post last week that the latest map presented to the Pierce County districting committee has drawn 7th Distict Councilman Stan Flemming out of his district. That happened when the city of University Place was put in with Lakewood in the 6th District.
While the plans are still in flux, if it ended up that way Flemming would be in the odd situation of representing – for three more years – a district he no longer lives in. And two council members, Flemming and Dick Muri, would both live in the new 6th.
This morning I got a call from McDonald who said that she too was a councilmember without a district. McDonald was in the 5th District which is now represented by Rick Talbert. She, like Flemming, could continue to serve until the next election. But for her, that would be 2012 while for Flemming it would be 2014.
McDonald was suspicious, given that two GOP incumbents were adversely impacted by Map D.
“That’s obviously what I would consider Democrat shenanigans,” McDonald said.
Depending exactly where she lived, the fix could be very easy or very hard. If she lived in an odd sliver of unincorporated county between Puyallup and the Midland area it would be easy. That area was left out of the Mid-County Community Plan because it is within Puyallup’s urban growth area and its service area but has so far not been subject to an annexation effort.
So the area containing about 1,500 people could be moved from the 5th to the 2nd without dividing a city or a recognized community planning area. And since there aren’t many people in that slice, it wouldn’t significantly change the population numbers of either district.
But if McDonald’s house is within the Waller planning area, a fix would require Garrett to move nearly 8,000 people from the 5th to the 2nd because the charter requires recognized communities be kept together. The committee also heard testimony that Summit and Waller be kept together which would increase the number of people in play to 16,000.
“It would be a whole new map,” Garrett said.
As it turned out, she isn’t in Waller and the fix was painless. Garrett said he didn’t even move all 1,500, just enough of them. While the committee will have to direct Garrett to make the change Wednesday, he will show them how it can be done.
So far the districting committee has not considered the residences of current council people even though it is essentially a partisan body with two Republicans and two Democrats appointed by the county council. There is no prohibition on the partisan members knowing where the incumbents live and Flemming testified against Map D last week.
Garrett said he did check addresses for incumbents even though he was directed not to consider such information. He did it though because “it causes controversy and angst” when incumbents are drawn out of their current districts. He said McDonald uses a P.O. Box so he did not have a location for her and said he learned she was outside the 2nd only when I called him.
None of this helps Flemming, however.
Here’s a link to the county redistricting page. Look at Map D and find the white area between Waller and Puyallup. The committee’s next meeting is Wednesday (June 22) at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma. It will meet in conference room D beginning at 7 p.m.