The Greensboro City Council voted unanimously to ignore the recommendation of the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee and approved the Moderate Change Version 2 Draft Map.
District 5 Councilmember Tammi Thurm actually made the motion to approve the Moderate Change map, perhaps to send a subtle message to the redistricting committee.
If the Pie-Shaped Map that the redistricting committee recommended had been approved, Thurm would have lost her seat on the City Council. The Pie-Shaped map moved Thurm from District 5 to District 4. Thurm could not have run for reelection in District 5 and would have had no chance of winning against District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann.
Councilmembers in their speeches about the problems with the Pie-Shaped Map failed to mention the biggest problem the City Council had with the map, that it would result in Thurm losing her seat.
What was equally incredible was that Mayor Nancy Vaughan congratulated the City Council for being perhaps the only city in the state to use a citizens’ redistricting committee. No doubt more cities would have used the subterfuge of a citizens’ redistricting committee if they had realized that they didn’t have to follow the recommendation of the committee.
Thurm said that one reason she was against the Pie-Shaped map is, “I have a real concern that when everybody represents the downtown in effect nobody represents the downtown businesses.”
In the Moderate Change Map that Thurm supported, four of the five districts come into the downtown area. In the Pie-Shaped Map all five districts, including District 5 which she represents, come into the downtown area.
The other big concern mentioned by Thurm, Vaughan and Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter was voter confusion.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower went so far as to say that moving district lines “disenfranchised” voters.
Vaughan, in stating her support for the Moderate Change map – which only redistricting committee member Marlene Sanford, who drew the map, supported – and ignoring the recommendation of the committee, which six of the seven members supported, said, “I think the committee did a great job.”
The Moderate Change Version 2 Draft Map will now be sent to the state for approval as the official City Council district map for the City of Greensboro until after the 2030 Census.