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Early look at Pierce County districting final map: Facebook page by private group gets chance to see draft, comment

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 28, 2011 at 10:35 am |
June 28, 2011 10:56 am

It hasn’t been released officially and the draft was not posted on the Pierce County Districting Committee website. But districting master Steven Garrett said he has posted a draft of what he terms Map E on the Facebook page of Citizens for Fair Pierce Co. Districting.

Here’s the link to the Facebook page of the group.

I asked Garrett why he would use an unofficial site to post the draft, especially when the county has created a webpage and an e-mail alert system for all postings and comments.

“This was not an official release of the final map, but a way for me to get feedback after the end of public meetings for a draft map,” Garrett wrote. “This is a public Facebook page; anyone can join. Near as I can tell it has people from all over the county and from both parties.

“Official release of the map is set for today,” he said.

Once this final map is submitted, it will become the county’s council districts for the next 10 years unless four of the five districting commissioners vote to amend it. Even if there are not three votes to approve it it becomes law by default.

The new draft vastly reduces the population variances between the seven districts. For example, the range of variance in Map D – the percentage a district is above or below the target population of 113,605 – was 13.3 percent. The range in the draft is 5 percent.

But it gets there at the cost of doing something no other map has done – split a recognized community other than Tacoma which has to be split because of its size. In Map E, part of Parkland is in the Lakewood-centered 6th District and the rest stays in the 5th with East Tacoma and Midland.

The biggest change involves the 4th District. In Map D is a mostly Tacoma district with downtown, South and East Tacoma joined with Fircrest. In the new draft, the 4th has less of East Tacoma and gains all of University Place. UP was with the 6th in Map D.

Incumbent 7th District Councilman Stan Flemming remains outside his district in the draft but would be in the 4th District rather than the 6th. It also appears the 2nd District incumbent Joyce McDonald is back within her district rather than in the 5th as she was in Map D.

If anyone has more detailed observations, please post them here.

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