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Members of the City Council listen to city planner Brian Grady explain the proposed changes to aldermanic districts based on the 2010 Census.[/media-credit]

City representatives voiced concerns about creating a comprehensive and balanced redistricting proposal after examining the freshly redefined aldermanic maps drawn up as part of Madison’s redistricting process. 

In an effort to gain the City Council’s reaction to the latest draft plans, Madison city planner Brian Grady offered district alders three proposals, each containing different approaches to redistricting. 

Grady told the alders a major criterion in redistricting is keeping a “one person, one vote” structure of representation, meaning the populations of each individual district must be equalized as per the results of the 2010 census. 

The process of redrawing the city’s ward and aldermanic districts is a lengthy procedure, having taken several weeks of meetings to generate the current draft versions, but Grady said more editions would be drafted before the City Council is scheduled to adopt a tentative supervisory district plan.

 Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, said the redistricting shown in the proposals so far has some problems, especially in regards to the residency of the city’s alders.

“Basically we can go either way, but the way we’ve always done it is you stay in the same district number, even if you don’t live in it, at least until the next election,” Clear said. 

If the city moves to adopt the existing proposals, it would mean alders Brian Solomon, District 10, and Larry Palm, District 15, would not reside in the districts they represent- an experience neither said he felt comfortable with. 

Grady said the city attorney recommends codifying the practice of keeping the same district number, saying the Council would adapt to representing their new geography. 

In his presentation, Grady said the council must make recommendations on the governing body’s size in order for the ward and aldermanic districts to be reviewed. Currently, there are 20 alders representing 20 districts, a number that the council has debated in previous months. 

“In regards to the size (of the council), [the Reapportionment and Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee], basically through discussions, came to the conclusion that 20 alders is a good way to go, and they’ve developed these plans based on 20 alders,” Grady said.

In addition to equalizing the city’s aldermanic districts, the council reviewed areas of interest to be given consideration, such as school districts, subdivision boundaries and, most importantly, neighborhood associations, Grady said. 

Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said at last night’s ad hoc committee hearing he wished to see all undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin living in residence halls to be contained in the same aldermanic district. 

His wishes were echoed in Thursday’s presentation, as Grady said the lines would be reapportioned to include Smith Hall and several other Lakeshore dorms split from the other residence halls because of an error made by the U.S. Census Bureau, which has been slow to correct the inaccuracy. 

Community input meetings are scheduled to take place May 10-12 in different locations.
More information and updates to the district maps and draft plans can be found on the city of Madison’s website by clicking on City Hall and redistricting.