Hattiesburg City Council adopts redistricting plan - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg City Council adopts redistricting plan

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

As of Tuesday the Hattiesburg City Council has a redistricting plan to send to the U.S. Justice Department.

By a three to two vote the revised version of the consultant's proposed plan is adopted, but two votes went to two different plans.

Councilwoman Deborah Delgado voted for the CPAC plan and Councilman Henry Naylor voted for the edited alternate one revised plan. Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley says the council's job was to make the wards equal.

 Bradley says this plan does that and also prevents splitting and movement of wards.

"There is less than 3,000 people that will be affected by this. It still holds in place the area common interest, ward 4, the University of Southern Mississippi. There were two plans that attacks those, and wanted to break those down, that is not what redistricting is about. Redistricting is about one man, one vote, and then preserving the minorities right to vote, or their strength in voting," said Bradley.  

Bradley says the revisions of the plan were mostly in ward 4 and 5. Delgado believes the choice is one that maintains the status quo and one she says she regrets.

"I'm going to continue to work with my colleagues. We have come a long way in terms of our ability to work together, but this one for the benefit of my community....I would never support," said Delgado.

Delgado says she feel the resistance towards the proposal of a third majority African American ward is based on one thing.

"I think there is a false sense of fear that if you have a majority of African Americans seating in these seats that Hattiesburg is going to go to hell in hand basket," said Delgado.

Each council member gave the reasons for his or her vote. Bradley spoke on the CPAC plan.  

"I'm sorry but this is a plan I can not support," said Bradley.

"These relationships should not come by the artificial drawing of lines on a map to group a people together because of the color of their skin," said Councilman Carter Carroll.

Councilman Dave Ware says redistricting shouldn't be about division.

"It is about reapportionment of the city's population, five wards, and making sure we are not decreasing the voting strength of the minority population," said Ware.

"And I was not ever in favor of any plan that had to do with splitting of the historic black neighborhoods," said Councilman Henry Naylor.

There is one thought the council agrees on.

"Certainly the community knows that this is not the end of this battle for comprehensive redistricting," said Delgado.

"I feel pretty certain that there will probably be a lawsuit filed. I hope not, but I feel certain that there is. I think that's the bad part about this, either way we went there was going to be a lawsuit," said Bradley.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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