It appears the misinformation campaign about the work of the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee to draw new council districts has already begun.
The City of Greensboro issued a press release on Thursday, Oct. 14 that states, “At its fourth and final meeting this week, Greensboro’s Redistricting Committee selected three draft maps to recommend to City Council. The maps below, as well as a link to the committee’s meeting, are located at www.greensboro-nc.gov/Redistricting.”
The Redistricting Committee at its meeting fourth meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12 agreed to “present” three maps to the City Council at the Tuesday, Oct. 19 meeting, but the “recommendation” from all but one member of the committee is for “Pie Shaped Version 2 Draft Map.”
Only one person on the committee was in favor of the “Moderate Change 2 Draft Map” and that was Marlene Sanford representing the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (TREBIC) on the committee. Sanford tried long and hard to enlist some support for the map she favored but was unable to do so.
No one supported the “Least Change Draft Map.” Steve Bowden, representing the George C. Simkins Jr. Memorial Political Action Committee, only agreed to have the Least Change Map presented to the City Council if, “we verbalize that we don’t like it.”
It’s hard to see how a map along with the verbalization “we don’t like it” could be considered a recommendation.
When Greensboro Planning Department Director Sue Schwartz said, “We can say you have two strong recommendations.”
Rev. Bradley Hunt, representing the Greensboro Chapter of the NAACP, said, “You’re overstating support for the moderate change. The moderate change fails in comparison. It is not one that I would even offer for consideration.”
Bowden, who is no stranger to politics, insisted that he be allowed to see the presentation planned for the City Council before the meeting.
The committee chose Ryan Blackledge, representing the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, to make the presentation on behalf of the committee with the caveat that committee members get to see the notes for presentation before the meeting. Committee members were clearly concerned that their overwhelming support of the pie shaped map would not be conveyed to the City Council.
The reason that three maps are being presented to the City Council is that Schwartz and Mac McCarley, from the Parker Poe law firm hired as a consultant, insisted that the committee present more than one map even though the established criteria for the committee states the committee would propose “one or more redistricting maps to the City Council.”
Bowden repeatedly said that he thought the committee needed to make a bold statement in support of the pie shaped map, which the overwhelming majority of the committee strongly supported.
If the committee had been allowed to present only one map, it would be the pie shaped map, which even Sanford supported up until the final meeting.
Bowden tried to get the number of maps presented down to two, the pie shaped map and the least change map but he lost that battle to Schwartz and Sanford who insisted three would be better.