Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Clark County Council considers yet another redistricting map

Pushed by Rylander, C2 would keep Bowerman in Dist. 3

By , Columbian staff writer

Just as it seemed the Clark County Council would finally resolve its ongoing battle over adopting a new district boundary map, Councilor Richard Rylander Jr. urged the council to move in a new direction.

Rylander, who was appointed the District 5 councilor by Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday, urged the council to schedule a public hearing for Map C2.

Rylander made the request during Wednesday morning’s council meeting after saying he couldn’t support the 04-19-2022 map presented at an April 27 public hearing. He said he spent the early part of the week reviewing the various map iterations with Geographic Information Services staff member Paul Newman, who created all of the map versions, and had him update Map C to bring it current with precinct and legislative requirements. This revised map is titled Map C2.

“From an outside perspective, having no iron in the fire other than now just joining the council, I cannot support this map, 04-19-2022. I think there are alternative maps that do as good or even better job,” Rylander said.

Council Chair Karen Bowerman and Councilor Gary Medvigy also voted against adopting the 04-19-2022 map. Councilors Julie Olson and Temple Lentz voted in favor.

The council has scheduled a public hearing for Map C2 at 8:30 a.m. on May 11.

If approved, Map C2 would move the northern end of District 2 into District 5, while the northern end of District 3 would be split between District 2 and District 4. Also, the eastern boundary of District 3 would be moved east into District 4.

Unlike the 04-19-2022 map, Map C2 would also keep Bowerman in District 3. The 04-19-2022 map would have moved Bowerman into District 4.

Olson and Lentz were disappointed by the council majority’s decision to reject the 04-19-2022 map and instead move forward with this latest version. Map C was created and rejected by the county redistricting committee in October.

Olson said she didn’t want to change course again with residents already waiting to register or file for the upcoming elections.

“The (04-19-2022 ) map in front of us is the only map that has not been influenced by partisanship and by direct involvement from policymakers. Given how, to put it lightly, messy this process has been, this is the only map that begins the work of cleaning up that process,” Lentz said.

Auditor Greg Kimsey, whose office has been waiting for a final map to be adopted, said if there are going to be changes from the November voter-approved map, it would be advisable to have a map adopted no later than May 11.

“It would enable the Elections Office to implement those changes into the elections management system … The earlier we get this done, the better it is for the Elections Office and for candidates, as well,” Kimsey said.

Former Democratic redistricting committee member Janet Landesberg, who unsuccessfully sued the county over its handling of the redistricting effort, said Map C2 was not an appropriate option.

“The C2 map is just as gerrymandered as the A2 map as it was modeled on the Republican redistricting committee members’ drawing of the A2 map to include Karen Bowerman in (District 3),” Landesberg said.

Landesberg said the “entire redistricting effort” violates state law.

For an agenda or links to the May 11 public hearing, go to https://bit.ly/3vHSiR5.

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