Current weather

  • Broken clouds
  • 75°
    Broken clouds
  • Comment

Redrawn maps put potential candidate in the wrong district

Posted: February 1, 2012 - 1:41pm  |  Updated: February 3, 2012 - 1:13pm
Columbia County District 2 Commission Candidate Damon Cline.  File
File
Columbia County District 2 Commission Candidate Damon Cline.

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Damon Cline’s announcement Monday that he intends to seek the Columbia County District 2 Commission seat might prove to be premature.

Cline soon might no longer live in that district.

New local commission and school board districts, currently awaiting approval by the state Legislature and the U.S. Justice Department, would place Cline’s Petersburg Station home inside District 1. Represented by Ron Thigpen, that seat won’t be up for election until 2014.

All voting maps are redrawn every 10 years to reflect the latest Census numbers. Columbia County’s district maps received local approval last fall.

Commissioners’ approval of a controversial “affordable housing” resolution used as part of project called Magnolia Trace on Old Ferry Road in Martinez prompted Cline to seek election to the commission.

“Columbia County needs a public watchdog,” Cline said in a press release announcing his campaign. “The actions of some county leaders indicate they have become out of touch with the wants and needs of the everyday people they are supposed to serve.”

Current District 2 Commissioner Trey Allen said he has known “for two months” that the area surrounding Magnolia Trace might not remain as part of District 2. He said he continued to work with constituents on the issue because it currently is in his district.

Allen and two other current commissioners approved a June 2010 resolution favoring “affordable housing,” and that resolution was used by the private developer in an application seeking tax credits for the project from the state Department of Community Affairs.

The 50-unit rental development will be available to residents who meet income requirements.

“I could have just let him go and scare off any other challengers,” Allen said.

Instead, after having the Board of Elections office verify Cline’s home isn’t in District 2 under the new maps, Allen said he asked County Administrator Scott Johnson to notify Cline that his home will be in District 1.

Whether it be in District 2 this year, or District 1 in two years, Cline said he still intends to run for a commission seat.
“This isn’t about district lines,” he said Wednesday. “This is about putting a watchdog in county leadership.”

Packets typically given to those seeking elected office won’t be available for the redrawn districts until after Justice Department approval, county Board of Elections Director Deborah Marshall said Wednesday.

After that approval, the county’s 85,000 or so registered voters will receive new voter registration cards with updated voting district information.

Current voting precincts are being used for the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary, but the elections office is working on setting up precincts for the July 31 party primaries based on the assumption that the new districts will be approved long before then, Marshall said.

  • Comment

Comments (11)

tvveedie

Way over my head

“I could have just let him go and scare off any other challengers,” Allen said.

Why would you be or not be concerned with someone running against Thigpen?

tvveedie

dead horse but deserving

So just to keep things in perspective.

1 - the resolution to approve occurs b/c the commish of D2 is acting in the best interest of the folks in D2.

2 - shortly thereafter, D2 folks are now D1 folks with a new commish who has plausible deniability regarding the vote to resolve to approve.

3 - D2 commish will have new folks to act on their behalf. (Woe be unto them I might add)

If i have all this correct, the folks in Petersburg Station get a new commish and THAT, I would argue, is better than getting nothing for all their trouble.

Still begs the question of how restructuring the district fell exactly at the time when the representative was at their most unpopular. Lest I say the timing may have been planned?

tvveedie

dead horse but deserved

So just to keep things in perspective.

1 - the resolution to approve occurs b/c the commish of D2 is acting in the best interest of the folks in D2.

2 - shortly thereafter, D2 folks are now D1 folks with a new commish who has plausible deniability regarding the vote to resolve to approve.

3 - D2 commish will have new folks to act on their behalf. (Woe be unto them I might add)

If i have all this correct, the folks in Petersburg Station get a new commish and THAT, I would argue, is better than getting nothing for all their trouble.

Still begs the question of how restructuring the district fell exactly at the time when the representative was at their most unpopular. Lest I say the timing may have been planned?

Barry Paschal

Redistricting predated Magnolia Trace blowup

tvveedie: As noted in the story, the county districts were redrawn last fall - before any of the Magnolia Trace stuff blew up. After local approval, it all was sent off to the state, where it now awaits final OK.

Regarding your previous question, Allen was saying he if he had not told Cline about the change, Cline could have stayed in the race and everyone could then have assumed Allen had a challenger and thus no one else (possibly) would have signed up to challenge Allen.

Riverman1

Allen Went to the Elections Board?

I don't know. All this just doesn't seem right. Allen went to the Elections Board and asked about Cline instead of simply going to Cline first? That explanation by Allen is suspect. Cline should rent in the district, if that's legal, and still run against Allen. He would win handily.

tvveedie

re:

I got it Mr. P.

To clarify though, I'm not saying that Mr Allen set the restructuring up or "imposed" it. My comment points out that the whole Trace dev occurred at a point in time, that was perfect for someone to facilitate it and then leave someone else holding the bag (Thigpen) if things got exposed the way they did. If anything, the established 10 year interval would allow for someone to plan around it if they so chose to, not saying they did or didn't, but could.

Look, since the thing started, EVERY time a piece of information comes to light, it's got this taint to it. Then another piece and it's tainted. Then another and so on. I'd just like to know, at the risk of losing property value and the possibility of an increase in crime, were our representatives acting with our best interest in mind? So far, I haven't been given anything but all these tainted bits of info about how it went down. I started my first comment about this saying that everyone should pipe down and just use their vote to send their messages. Well, that's just not gonna be that easy now is it? So is it really odd that I'm laying all this out considering?

tvveedie

jez one more item

Mr Paschal and the article stated that after the redrawing of the district lines it got "local approval". In the spirit of enlightening the tvveedie, who redraws and who approves it specifically? Or more to the point, are the commissioners involved in either process and to what extent?

hoping i don't get the answer I'm anticipating but I gotta know.

thanks

Barry Paschal

Local elected officials approve new lines

When local districts are redrawn, a state office supplies census models that show how many people should be in each district, how current disticts fit and where adjustments should go. County commissioners and school board members then agree on the changes and send them to the legislature for approval. (This is the process that has been such a still-unresolved mess in Richmond County.) District 2, the most densely-populated district, lost much of its western portion to District 3, which is the most over-populated since the last census, and lost part of its eastern portion to District 1. All of this was worked out last summer when the maps became available - the same maps used for state reapportionment - and then approved in the fall by commissioners and the school board, who share districts.

tvveedie

Ok thanks

By my count there are so many possible conflicts of interest it would be just as well the folks in CC find the most trustworthy person and make them in charge of doing it all. Saves on salaries, saves time wasted on debate, saves having to figure out who causes this and who voted for that, and saves folks from the disappointment of erroneously thinking they can vote based on their elected officials performance, b/c as we are seeing now, they won't even be voting for another 2 years and the election will not include their current rep. Ideal for an unpopular rep no?

In reality, if you have the fox watching over the hen-house, then there isn't really any legitimate restraint, just a trust that the fox doesn't abuse his position. I'm not comparing anybody to a fox but it's the only colloquialism I could think of to get my point across.

In case I'm confusing myself, let's look at things. The commission takes part in the process that determines their constituent base. Then they take part in approving it? I've heard of the funky ARC district line drawing issues too.

I stand by my suggestion to wipe the board and just get a person in there to do it all. It's a fallacy to think that our group of commissioners has built in checks and balances based on what we are discussing here.

Little Lamb

Resolution

The Columbia County Commission could solve this mini-dilemma by passing Little Lamb's resolution at the next commission meeting:

WHEREAS commission district lines are to be re-drawn, and WHEREAS the new district lines are uncertain and have not been approved, and WHEREAS candidates have expressed interest in offering for office, and WHEREAS the Commission believes in fairness, now THEREFORE let it be RESOLVED that for the Commission election of 2012, requirements that commissioners reside in the district they represent are hereby waived.

Voilá! Problem solved.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
P.S. There might be some grammar issues in the final clause of my resolution, but Barry can correct it.

Spelunkerman

Why so much attention for Mr. Cline????

Could it be he is part of the media elite? Mr. Cline worked for the Morris Group (Yep, Augusta Chronicle) before leaving for another media position. Do any of you think any other candidate will get this much attention. I think not...

Follow News-Times:

News-Times Video »

CONTACT US

  • Main: 706-868-1222
  • Fax: 706-823-6062
  • Email: cnt@newstimesonline.com
  • 4272 Washington Rd, Suite 3B, Evans, Ga. 30809

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES