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Talk among yourselves: Will proposed new Pierce County Council lines give Tacoma control?

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
June 30, 2011 2:23 pm

That’s been one of the threads in comments and in testimony before the Pierce County Districting Committee – since four of the seven districts have some Tacoma residents inside, that allows the city to dominate.

I asked Districting Master Steven Garrett for the numbers. Here are the Tacoma percentages in each of the districts in his final plan:

Distinct 7: 47,079 = 42.4%
District 6: 0
District 5: 61,521 = 54.3%
District 4: 72,667 = 65.6%
District 3: 0
District 2: 16,879 = 14.6%
District 1: 0

So, does that allow Tacoma residents to decide who wins in the 2nd, the 4th, the 5th and the 7th? Would that allow a city of just under 200,000 to control a county of just under 800,000?

Here’s what one commenter to the committee wrote: “A ‘Final’ Map has been submitted by the Master Mapmaker for filing. While closing the variances from MAP D, it still gerrymanders to give the Most Urban area of the County, City of Tacoma, parts of 4 Council Districts when they cannot fill two full districts. To accomplish the power grab they have now taken Suburban UP and Fircrest into District 4 which frees up urban Northwest Tacoma to be added to suburban and rural District 7.”

And one resident told the committee June 22 that the mayor of Tacoma would become the defacto county executive because her endorsement would be necessary to win the four districts with pieces of Tacoma.

Just to kick things off, I’m not sure a resident of Northeast Tacoma would ever win the Puyallup Valley dominated 2nd. And while a Tacoma person would have a chance in the new 7th, a Tacoma candidate never won the district in the 21 years Tacoma and Gig Harbor were linked. Each time ( Jake Bujacich, Paul Cyr, Karen Biskey) the candidate from the peninsula won.

The committee meets July 12 to decide whether to amend the plan, which takes four of five votes, or adopt in with three votes. If three votes can’t be found to pass it, it becomes law anyway.

For a closer look at the official Districting Committee map released this morning here’s a link to an image file.

Or you can click on the map below to enlarge…

Final Pierce County Redistricting Map
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