Where politics and faith dance in the shadow of the windmill.

Plan B.

Finally, the Dems came up with a real plan, one that was legible, backed by numbers, and largely work. Unfortunately, it was released a tad late, at the redistricting hearing Tuesday.  While not perfect (more on that in a moment), the plan nonetheless keeps districts generally in line with the underlying social realities, the neighborhoods and communities — and that’s all for the better.

Of course, many will miss it,so here it is:

As can be seen, the districts roughly correspond to the existing social reality on the ground in the city. And that is important.

Districts that cohere with neighborhoods or communities not only help those communities have a voice, but they help the County understand and make better policy decisions.

The plan as submitted still has its errors, most egregiously in the breaking in two of Plainfield Township and East Grand Rapids. Long time West Michigan observer and now head of redistricting for Dallas TX, Peter Bratt explains the ins and outs:

Section 46.404 of MCL states the standards for creating districts. It essentially follows the Apol standards (codified in MCL 363.261), and Section E discourages townships, villages and cities shall be divided only if necessary to meet the population standards. The acceptable range 5% deviation for population is 30,132 to 33,303. Plainfield’s population of 30,952 easily falls within the acceptable deviation. The same goes for East Grand Rapids.

The very short answer: you do not need to contort yourself so to get results that work. Both parties can. Whether the citizens will get this immediately or after a law suit depends very much on the decisions being made by the Redistricting Committee today.


Filed under: Elections, , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Bill V says:

    Bill, you recently posted on the ugliness of the Republican gerrymander. Now you point out the deficiencies of a Democratic gerrymander. Unfortunately, we will see the same ugliness every redistricting until we adopt a non-partisan process such as Iowa has had for some time and California recently adopted.

    • Harris says:

      I would hesitate about applying the word “gerrymander” to the Dem plan, breaking the law does not

    • per se
    • qualify as a gerrymander. Were you to compare this plan with the Republican plan, you would see that the Dem plan repeats the mistakes the Republicans made — this is not new material. I would use the term gerrymander for those districts that are neither compact, nor especially represent a coherent set of neighborhoods. What marks the gerrymander is its arbitrary nature coupled with a rather transparent partisan agenda. With today’s computers both parties are able to draw districts that would give them some sort of nominal advantage.

      That is why the Apol standards in Michigan are important — they specify the criteria for redistricting. As to neutral parties, I think many would be in favor of that, particularly if it saves the County money in court cases from overly zealous plans and/or challenges.

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