Residents are being asked to help with city's redistricting process - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Residents are being asked to help with city's redistricting process

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Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:00 am | Updated: 2:41 pm, Sat Apr 14, 2012.

As the state goes through a controversial redistricting process Phoenix has announced that the city will also redraw districts this year, and they'd like input from residents.

The city must re-do district lines every 10 years after new census information comes in. According to census results in 2010, the district will grow from 165,000 to about 180,000 residents.

The city has set up a series of public meeting in February to explain to residents how to use an online mapping tool to create their own maps. Residents will be able to draw boundary lines, see statistical data on the proposed boundaries, and submit their own plans for review by a consultant. An instructional video on how the tool works will be available for viewing at phoenix.gov/redistricting.

For those who prefer to do things on paper, a redistricting kit will be available to download, or by calling (602) 256-4357. Residents can begin submitting proposals on Feb. 1.

District 6 will need to gain about 20,000 residents with the new boundaries, said Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

"This has always been a very unique district because of the way it's set up, but it has always been great for Ahwatukee Foothills," DiCiccio said. "It's always worked perfectly for our area. There are a lot of similarities with the Biltmore area, Arcadia and North Central, so it's the most logical place for Ahwatukee to be a part of."

DiCiccio does not believe Ahwatukee Foothills would be broken in half, but he does anticipate some changes in his district.

"The way the districts have been set up in the past has been helpful to our area," DiCiccio said. "This district has the highest turn out of any of the districts in the city, and because of that high turnout it has given us a considerable amount of influence at City Hall. It makes it a lot easier to handle incoming issues we have to district."

The city's redistricting process will go through four more phases. Phase one took place in December when a consultant analyzed census data and prepared a mapping application. Phase two, which will take place January through April in a technical forum, will be conducted with details of the mapping process and public meetings will be held to gather input. Finally, a consultant will evaluate proposed plans and develop four to five alternative proposals.

In phase three alternative proposals will be presented to the City Council and in public meetings. In phase four the consultant will review comments from all meetings and prepare a final proposed plan. In phase five, which will happen during the fall of 2012 through January 2013, the plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for the Voting Rights Act (Section 5) pre-clearance. Once pre-cleared by the Department of Justice, the new districts will become effective and used for the regular Council Election in August of 2013.

For more information or questions about the redistricting process, visit phoenix.gov/redistricting, call the redistricting hotline at (602) 256-4357, or email redistricting@phoenix.gov.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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