Single Member Districts: Let the Voters Decide

first_img The Apopka Voice, are you not going to allow me to answer to the lady above by posting my response to her? I am waiting to see if you are going to post my response to her. From the Editorial Board of The Apopka Voice After a thorough analysis of the single member district voting initiative being promoted by the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance, there are a few things we have learned. First, it’s clear that well-informed people are on both sides of this issue, and people with a true heart for the good of Apopka can see this issue from both sides.Good people can disagree. Informed people can disagree too.Pastor Doug Bankson, a candidate for Seat#3 of the Apopka City Commission, cites a study done by Professors at Princeton and Portland State Universities that shows single member districts can run counter to electing an African-American. It also shows that at-large districts can potentially promote female candidates more effectively than single member districts. On his website, Bankson states:“I believe now they would create more division and only secure one vote for themselves while not garnering the votes to pass important changes.”That is a thoughtful and well-informed opinion, and certainly he is right that they would only have one vote representing their district.Mayor Joe Kilsheimer says he is not convinced the Alliance will get what they want with a single member district. He also says that the four sitting commissioners and himself are being held accountable for all of Apopka – including the southern portion of the City.That’s a reasonable position and certainly he is correct that he, and the City Commissioners are being held accountable, judging by the public comments at City Council meetings.In early 2014,  the Apopka City Charter Review Committee met to discuss three issues – term limits, adding two commissioners to the City Council, and single member districts. The committee concluded with a vote of 7-0 that single member districts would be a bad idea. Their reasons were:It’s a complex issueIt will be a cumbersome and time consuming processThey preferred all commissioners to be accountable to all votersThe two re-districting cycles (at the state level) were extremely difficultCommissioners are easily accessible nowThe only good reason to have districts is if communication breaks down. But Apopka is small enough that there is no reason to depart from what we have.In short, there are a lot of  reasonable, well-researched and heartfelt theories of why a single member district would be detrimental to Apopka. However none of those well-researched, reasonable and heartfelt theories match with the reality of what is happening in South Apopka.Pastor Hezekiah Bradford asked a series of questions to The Apopka Voice that illustrates his case.“Drive through South Apopka. Is the housing equal to the rest of Apopka? Are the roads and infrastructure equal to the rest of Apopka? Are the parks and recreation facilities equal to the rest of Apopka? Is it equally safe in South Apopka as it is in the rest of Apopka?”“That’s the reasons we need single member districts,” he concluded.All commissioners are accountable for South Apopka as well as all of Apopka. That statement in theory is true – it just isn’t working out that way. Running The City of Apopka is a full-time effort, and there are needs in all of its communities – North and South – East and West. The City has a $90 Million budget, is days away from potentially closing on a long-awaited City Center Project, and countless other issues to deal with every day.Still,  the residents of South Apopka believe they are slipping through the cracks.But consider this … The South Apopka Ministerial Alliance states that their “want” for a single member district is not to get an African-American commissioner, but a resident of South Apopka they can hold accountable no matter their race, gender or age. That means that if there were single member districts, it is an absolute certainty they would get that person.The Apopka Voice is in agreement with The Apopka Ministerial Alliance, as well as the two most senior commissioners (Bill Arrowsmith 39 years a commissioner and Billie Dean 21 years a commissioner) that the City Council should add the single member district to the February 17th City Council Meeting agenda and vote in favor of taking the next step and sending it to the people of Apopka to vote on at the next reasonable voting cycle. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Reply January 28, 2016 at 12:51 pm January 26, 2016 at 6:41 pm Tenita Reid 5 COMMENTS UF/IFAS in Apopka will temporarily house District staff; saves almost $400,000 Reply Sue Grandy What is the Apopka Ministerial Alliance’s true motive? Seriously. While I respect their right to address the council, and ask for the ballot initiative, remember, it will not be the Apopka Ministerial Alliance that gets the right to draw up the districts ( like in the display illustrative map above) and also it seems like it would be just another issue to fight over, not unlike the gerrymandering fiasco that in the state, has been going around in circles over and over for the longest. People can vote however they want, if it goes to the ballot. Vote for it, if that is what you believe would be best. Vote against it, if you don’t care for it. Simple. It will cost the city more $$$$$$ just to have the ballot initiative, probably, as that is usually what we hear. I like having all the commissioners represent myself, even if I can’t always persuade them on issues, at least I have several with two ears each, hopeful who will listen. I won’t vote in favor of the single districting. Nope, and I still do not know what the hybrid method is. I agree with the Ryan fellow who said that the other commissioners in a different district, other than your own district, won’t care one way or another about what concerns a citizen brings forth, as an issue before the council, if he or she, is not in their district, as in the single district method. The old NIMBY (not in my backyard) theory. As far as the super voters, they are going to turn out to vote, regardless of which district they are placed in. My home, as well as my neighbor’s homes, in my older neighborhood, don’t equally compare to other newer, more expensive homes in other areas of Apopka, so what? Same thing in south Apopka, so what? Do they expect the city to build them new homes down there? The Alonzo Williams Park is in the process of getting some very nice new improvements, and the new building is very attractive. Wish the Dream Lake Park near my neighborhood was as nice, as the Alonzo Williams Park in south Apopka. There are some roads over my way, that could use repaving, not just south Apopka, so what? If you ask me, the Apopka Ministerial Alliance is trying to turn Apopka City Hall into a church. The church is the proper place to instill God in people’s lives, not city hall. Gov. DeSantis says new moment-of-silence law in public schools protects religious freedom January 28, 2016 at 9:40 am You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Please enter your name herecenter_img You, dear lady, are a very insulting, biased person, who only can see one viewpoint, that is, whose side you are on. YOU AND YOUR KIND, are what is wrong with this city. This mentality, that is going around, that a person has to be on this group’s side, or that group’s side, and that the elected officials have to be a part of the change group, or the legacy group.. It is wrong to do this, and not giving the candidates credit that they can think for themselves, and vote the way that they think is best for our city. I don’t buy into that notion AT ALL! I have been going to Apopka City Council meetings for a very long time starting back in 1994, and have been going off and on, for a long, long, time. I have seen decisions made under Mayor John Land’s administration that I disagreed with, and I have seen decisions under Mayor Joe Kilsheimer’s administration, that I have disagreed with. I also have seen decisions on both sides, that I have agreed with wholeheartedly. I have also lived here since 1970 so I have witnessed many changes in our city, good and bad. We had one ballot issue to vote on when Mayor Land was office, that only the super voters could vote on the issue. Were you aware of that? Do you think that is fair? I am not for single member districting, and I make no apologies for that, I prefer the at large districting. You do not discourage me, you do not make me, you do not break me, and your accusations about some of the elected officials, are way over the line. I happen to like Christine Moore, and I think she is doing a great job serving the Orange County School Board. I think she has the students best interest at heart, and her consulting business is HER business, and the candidates can hire whoever they want to manage their campaigns. You don’t know my needs, or concerns, so don’t tell me what I should be concerned with. Your conspiracy theories about the elected officials, are just a bunch of junky old stuff. Tenita Reid Okay, I will try again to get this posted again. Ms. Grandy, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but your comments about my mentality of being of a bug are very insulting and you appear to be a very biased person. It is you who is trumping the racial card, not me. I am simply stating there are other areas of the city that need attention other than just south Apopka, and I am speaking of south Apopka in the City of Apopka municipal boundaries, not the census recognized portion of South Apopka in Orange County unincorporated section. OK? I also noticed you identified your area of residing, as the “north side” of Apopka, and thus you are a part of the problem of this city’s woes, the division of Apopka. I noticed you didn’t say, that you were an Apopka resident, but a resident of the “north side”. Very interesting. I am against the single member districting, and I make no apologies for that, I prefer the “at large” districting. Your commentaries on other articles about our elected officials are way out of line. I happen to appreciate Christine Moore’s efforts as our school board representative, and I like her as a person. I think it is wrong of anyone in this city, no matter who they are, to try to attempt to divide this city further, whether it is because of political, racial, or economic status, and I for one, do not believe in this notion, that you have to be on this group’s side, the “change” group, or the ” legacy” group. This kind of thinking is so wrong, but it appears that you have slipping into the trap. There have been decisions under former Mayor John Land that I did not agree with. There have been decisions under Mayor Joe Kilsheimer that I have not agreed with. There have been decisions that I have agreed with 100% wholeheartedly with both administrations. I believe the candidates should vote what they believe is best for this city, if elected, and disregard this “groupie mentality”. I am not a newbie at attending Apopka City Council meetings. I started going on and off since 1994, and I have lived in this city since 1970, so I have seen a lot of good and bad changes. I resent your nasty comments about “use my brain’. I resent you telling me what I should be concerned about. You don’t know my needs, or my concerns at all, so don’t attempt to tell me what I should be concerned about. Christine Moore’s consulting business is HER business, and I am not concerned at all about HER business. The Apopka City Council candidates can hire whoever they want to manage their campaigns, it doesn’t concern me one bit. As far as the super voters, were you aware of the one ballot initiative that only the super voters were allowed to vote on? Do you think that was fair to all the rest of the Apopka’s qualified registered voters, and this occurred with Mayor Land at the helm . More people do need to vote, but you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Your commentaries are just a bunch of junky old stuff, and you do not make or break me, nor discourage me, as a resident who will speak my mind. Please enter your comment! January 27, 2016 at 10:24 pm Reply January 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm Tenita Reid Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Florida gas prices jump 12 cents; most expensive since 2014 Tenita, unfortunately if you didn’t have the mentality of a bug, you might be able to see the long view. You are part of the overall problem, this is not race related, I reside on the north side and the problem of political accountability exists for me as well. Seriously, you can’t reasonably expect 4 elected officials that are not accountable to any geographic population to be held accountable at the polls. Come on use your brain. You are very short sighted; yes we do have supervoters whom reside in 3 northern sections of our city that determine the outcome of elections for the entire city. Placing single member districts on the ballot does not achieve the end result, due in large part to the disproportionate segment of contiguous city boundaries versus city / county boundaries in the heart of the city with reduces the strength of a solid voting bloc. What you need to concern yourself with is why do we have an elected school board member (Christine Moore) serving as the campaign manager for Sam Ruth and Kyle Becker while serving as our elected school board member. Don’t our children deserve her full attention, or better still, if she must moonlight, do it in a district that she wasn’t elected to serve our children’s best interest. Does she work for Mayor Kilsheimer full time or just when he needs her? By the way, the only resolve for the single member district will be litigation, the facts speak for themselves… Reply Reply Tenita Reid TAGSApopka City CommissionSingle member districtsouth apopka Previous articleApopka City Council Seat 3 Candidate Q&A – Week 4Next articleTonight: City Council Candidate Forum Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img

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