Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Village Buzz - June 6th

Village Buzz, Village Board, Political, Germantown, County Board

Every ten years we revise our voting districts to reflect the findings of the decennial census.  That process is going on now in Germantown and in the county and the state.  There are population targets that guide this process and sophisticated software developed at the state level is used to draw the maps.

There was a General Government and Finance (GGF) Committee meeting held on May 24th where the process was moved from the Village Clerk’s office, where a committee had been formed and had begun the project, to the Board.  There is nothing that stipulates where the process must be completed so the Board is fully within its power to make these calls.

I met with Trustee Art Zabel last Friday to discuss this since he seemed to be the ‘go to’ person involved with the process.  He has been given the proper password authority to access the necessary computer system.  He mentioned that he is a retired engineer and accustomed to working on complex software so it made sense that he would take the lead.  I shared with him that I had received an anonymous letter earlier in which the writer suggested something might be amiss given what he or she saw as the tenor of the GGF meeting on May 24th. 

My initial reaction was to think that it seemed to invite questions when the people who are voted in or out of office were the very people making the changes to the district borders.  (That having been said, the Board is required to approve or disapprove any changes.)   I have seen voting districts in the past that appeared to be drawn by a child on an Etch-a-Sketch given the apparently nonsensical lines involved.  There is no secret that political parties tend to try to draw lines that are most supportive of their candidates.  If Republicans are in power, they will likely try to be sure that new district lines will be favorable to the re-election chances of the incumbent Republicans and they might try to assure a better shot at making it tougher for a Democrat officeholder to gain re-election.  Obviously this can work in both directions, and does.  We do not have ‘party’ politics in our community, but we do have incumbents and challengers just the same.

Gerrymandering is the term applied to this kind of redistricting process.  I advised Trustee Zabel that this term came to mind when I learned of the decision taken by the GGF Committee.  He advised that there appear to be only minor changes involved as he is seeing the new look of the districts, and didn’t think there was any danger of a gerrymandering issue.  Another meeting is scheduled for 6:30PM on Wednesday, June 8th, and it will be televised if you are unable to attend in person.

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