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Tag: Districting Committee


Pierce County Districting Master Steven Garrett explains numerical error that nearly scuttled adoption of final map

Gig Harbor resident Walker Allen was the first one to notice it. In the population numbers listed on the final proposed map, by Pierce Districting Committee Master Steven Garrett, two districts had the exact same population. District 2 and District 3 both showed 115,612 people.

Given how difficult it is to get the seven proposed council districts close to even, the fact that two had come in on the button caught Allen’s eye. So he went back to earlier maps and earlier population totals and found an error – the final map had 1,417 more people in the county than

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Pierce County Districting: Would a change in the numbers designating two districts solve an incumbency problem?

There’s an idea floating around the fairly small circle of Pierce County Districting Committee followers that might either be a simple fix to a thorny problem or a controversial blending of politics and map making.

What if the five-member districting committee took the final map submitted by Districting Master Steven Garrett and switched the name of two districts? That is, what if they changed the proposed 7th District to “4th District” and the proposed 4th district to “7th District?”

There is nothing especially magical about the names of districts. They are simply numbered 1 through 7 and district names/numbers have been changed in past districting efforts.

But this change would mean incumbent Council Member Stan Flemming would not become an outsider looking in. That is, he would not have to represent a district that he no longer lives in.

This get’s kind of complicated do stay with me…Flemming lives in University Place and was elected last year to represent what is now called the 7th District that encompasses U Place, a little bit of West Tacoma around the eastern foothold of the Narrows Bridge and then all of the Gig Harbor Peninsula.

The proposed map would group the peninsula and much of west and north Tacoma in a new 7th. U Place and Fircrest would be joined with South Tacoma and the downtown area in a new 4th.

As of now, Flemming would continue to represent the 7th for three more years even though he would no longer live in it. That’s how the county charter deals with instances such as this when a new district plan doesn’t include the incumbent’s house. But if the numbers were switched, Flemming would both represent and live in what would be called the 7th District. Read more »


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

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

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Final means Final: The official, final Pierce County Districting map has now been posted

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

It is as was posted unofficially earlier (see post below), with narrower population variances than in the previous iteration called Map D but with some major changes to a central Tacoma district and the division of Parkland into two districts.

The five-member districting committee is set to meet July 12 to discuss and perhaps amend the map. But it takes four votes to amend, meaning it would have to be a change that satisfies both Democratic and Republican

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Pierce County Districting: Even more on the debate over the boundaries of Summit

I never thought I would spend so much time ruminating on the actual boundaries of Summit.

But then I never thought the question would turn out to be so pivotal in the final days of the Pierce County Districting Committee.

As appointed districting master Steven Garrett continues to put together his final plan for redividing the county into seven “approximately equal” districts, he must also respond to this geographically small but politically huge issue: Does 2nd District Councilmember Joyce McDonald live in Summit?

If she does, then it would be difficult to adjust his most recent map to move her from the 5th District back to her own 2nd. That’s because it would either require him to carve out a tiny piece of Summit or move the entire thing. But moving just a piece would violate a charter requirement that communities be kept together. And moving the whole thing would throw off the population numbers and require wholesale changes.

But if she doesn’t live in Summit and is instead in a strip of land between Puyallup and Summit then the line could be adjusted without implicating communities.

So is she or isn’t she? That simple question lacks a simple answer. She is in Summit based on Census Designated Places. She is not based on the county’s planning maps and is instead within Puyallup’s urban growth area.

Here is an e-mail exchange on the topic between Deputy Pierce County Prosecutor Denise Greer and Garrett: Read more »


UPDATE: Pierce County districting committee – and council members – wait for THE map

All of the maps produced so far by Pierce County districting committee “master” Steven Garrett have been works in progress.

At least four times the geographer hired to produce new county council districts based on the 2010 Census has drawn maps that both redivide the county’s nearly 800,000 people and keep communities with common interests together. Each map in the sequence has been in response to concerns raised by the five-member committee or residents who attended a series of public hearings around the county.

But now, it’s for real. By June 28 Garrett must submit THE map. It is that map that triggers a two-week period in which the committee can amend it or approve it. But it takes four votes to amend it and three to approve it. If the committee does neither, the map is deemed approved and will govern county elections for the next decade – baring a successful legal challenge.

The committee isn’t scheduled to meet again until July 12, the evening before its deadline to act.

So what will that map look like? Based on Wednesday evening’s second-to-last meeting of the committee, that is the fundamental question. There was no consensus for changes so the final version may well look a lot like Garrett’s most-recent map – known as Map D. And if that is the case, then Republicans are likely to be unhappy with the final result.

Map D for Pierce County Districting

Two incumbent Republicans on the council are not in their current districts in Map D. Seventh District Councilmember Stan Flemming, who lives in University Place, would be in District 6 under the most-recent iteration. The Gig Harbor peninsula would once again become partnered with West and North Tacoma, a pairing that occurred after the seven-member council was created in 1981, after the first redistricting in 1982 and again after the 1990 Census. Read more »


Pierce County districting links: maps, history and past blog posts

I write a bit today about the ongoing redistricting of Pierce County’s seven council districts (the charter uses the term “districting” even if it actually RE-districting).

Since the story is best told with maps, here is a link to the most-recent map as well as some previous versions.

Also, here are links to previous Political Buzz posts on the topic.

June 17 – Pierce Districting Committee gets Map D:

June 12 – Redistricting maps carve up Pierce County in different ways.

June 8 – Latest iteration of Pierce County district lines posted

May 27 –

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Map C: Latest iteration of Pierce County district lines posted. Hearing tonight in Spanaway

It is the third version of district lines as prepared by Districting Committee Special Master Steven Garrett and is in response to concerns expressed by residents as well as member of the five-member committee.

This link includes all three versions but the latest – labeled May C – is the most current and reflects the latest thinking of the master and the committee members.

The newest map makes three major changes from the earlier version called Map B. It keeps Joint Base Lewis McChord within the Lakewood-centered 6th District rather than combine it with the 3rd District. It also

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