Columbia's city council has approved the ward redistricting plan known as Trial E. In a 6-1 vote at the council’s meeting Monday night, Trial E was agreed to be the most favorable option, with Fourth Ward Councilmember Daryl Dudley opposing. KBIA’s Robert Partyka reports.
Trial E adds to the western extension of the First Ward by taking the boundary all the way to Silvey Street on the west. Heavy community support brought out residents from all over Columbia asking council members to vote for Trial E at the council's meeting Monday night.
After public discourse that lasted more than an hour-and-a-half, the final vote approving Trial E was received with cheers and a standing ovation from the standing-room-only crowd.
Alyce Turner, a Fourth Ward resident, summarized to the council what she believed was the community coming together for a necessary cause.
“I have rarely seen the kind of support for Trial Map E that I saw yesterday, and I just wanted to share that with you, because it was really exciting to see people concerned and fairly well informed.”
Sixth Ward council member Barbara Hoppe says she was influenced by what appeared to be overwhelming public support for Trial E.
“The people are here and they have spoken out, and I’m here to represent the people.”
Councilmember Dudley has sparked controversy and a recall effort from his Fourth Ward residents for his support of an amended redistricting Trial Map, known as Trial Map D Amended, which some people saw as gerrymandering as some saw it as a move to take more liberal voting precincts out of the Fourth Ward and shift them into the First.
Dudley says the plan was not political and was purely geographical.
“I still want to keep a central city ward that is all compact and has all the info structures and needs that are the same in one area…again, it has nothing to do with political, I am doing it just on geographical population.”
Dudley concluded by saying Trial D Amended achieves the goals of compactness and soundness better than Trial E does, and it is that reason alone that he voted for it over Trial E.