The Columbia City Council has chosen Trial E for the city’s new ward reapportionment plan.
Council members voted 6 to 1 to adopt Trial E, with Fourth Ward council member Daryl Dudley as the one vote of opposition. A large and vocal group of citizens – numbering nearly 300 people – engaged in public discussion before the vote, with most residents expressing support for the Trial E plan. Kip Kendrick is president of Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association. He was one of many to advocate the majority support for Trial E.
“Trial E is a straightforward approach to answer the problem of reapportionment. Balancing the wards numerically, causing the least disruption, it had the neighborhood association’s support throughout the city. It had the engaged citizens’ support of it as well,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick and other speakers expressed their approval of leaving the Third Ward unaffected by the redistricting – and many expressed what they saw as political reasons to change the makeup of the Third Ward.
“I was concerned that if Trial E wasn’t chosen that it would divide the community because a lot of people were engaged in this conversation. I felt like if they would have walked away not feeling like they had been heard it could have been a problem,” Kendrick said.
Dudley says Trial D as amended is what is best for the future of Columbia. He says he fears that with Trial E in effect it will take the focus off the areas that need infrastructure work and struggle to keep everything in a central area. Mayor Bob McDavid supported Trial E stating that he wanted to respect the majority of opinions expressed by engaged citizens. Citizens of the fourth ward have gathered signatures recalling City Council member Daryl Dudley this past week.