Redistricting Committee holds first meeting
The Special Leadership Committee met for the first time tonight. Aldermen David Bogdala and G. John Ruffolo were elected co-chairmen of the Committee. This committee has been charged with redistricting the city’s aldermanic districts, taking what the County Board supervisors gave as a guideline. Other members of the committe include Aldermen Jesse Downing, Michael Orth, Daniel Prozanski, Ray Misner, and Anthony Nudo, although Aldermen Downing, Prozanski and Misner were not in attendance at tonight’s meeting. Mayor Keith Bosman, Jeff LaBahn - city development director, Rich Schroeder – assistant city planner, Mike Higgins -city assessor, Ed Antaramian – city attorney, and Matthew Knight - deputy city attorney, were administrative people in attendance. Other alderpersons in attendance were Anthony Kennedy, Jan Michalski, Theodore Ruffalo, Katherine Marks, and Rocco LaMacchia.
The committee received a demonstration of the census blocking mapping program by Mike Callovi, planning technician. There is one log in and password for every village, town, etc., and each plan is password-protected. The program allows the user to zoom in, click and drag, point and click, and set up ward boundary lines. The 2010 census numbers are then displayed for that district. There are a limited number of maps that can be saved by the program. This is the reason that the Mayor did not want each alderman in the district to have access to this program. (Please refer to the story below.)
There are 78 wards that make up the city of Kenosha. The official 2010 census figure for Kenosha is 99,218. If the Common Council continued to be made up of 17 aldermanic districts, it would mean that 5,836 residents would be in each district. If the number of districts dropped down to 14, there would be 7,087 in each district, and if the number of districts increased to 21, there would be 4,725 in each district.
The aldermen soon realized that they have a tremendous task in front of them. It was felt that manually drawing the boundary lines with magic markers would be foolish when updated technology is available to assist with this work. Another piece of software may need to be purchased that would automatically draw the boundary lines based on population figures.
The committee felt that neighborhood lines needed to be followed as much as possible, and politics needs to be kept out of the mix. Transparency is a key element in this project; meetings are being videotaped. The committee wants and encourages the public’s input. Weekly meetings are being planned; each Wednesday, the committee will meet at 5:30 pm until July 6th, which the committee set as a deadline date for having a workable plan drawn up. Action items given to Mike Callovi included drawing up four plans, if possible, by next Wednesday.