Council Approves Redistricting Map
Despite claims that parts of the redistricting process violated the Florida constitution, city leaders unanimously voted to approve the redistricting plan.
St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously to pass the recommended redistricting plan, map 7, Thursday.
Council Chair Karl Nurse told Patch, "Although a number of council members disagreed with some of the lines, it was clear that overall the redistricting commission was focused on drawing compact and rational districts as compared to gerrymandering as is normal at the federal and state level."
Prior to the vote, city council candidate Dr. David McKalip asked council to reject the maps. "They were drawn violating the Florida constitution. Florida constitution states that no map should be drawn to favor an incumbent,” he said.
“They were never informed that incumbents could move into the new district, just like myself and my opponent are doing, moving into the new district," he said.
McKalip and Darden Rice are both running for the open District 4 City Council seat to be vacated by Leslie Curran. Both candidates have moved to a new address to ensure they can run.
“I am not going to put the taxpayers through the trouble of filing a lawsuit against this city.
“So I’m not going to sue the city on this, I’m just gonna to get elected here, and I’m going to change the law so you can’t do any more incumbent protection here,” McKalip said during public comment.
St. Petersburg resident Matt Florell told council that after looking at several maps from around the state, the proposed plan is "ideal" as far as compactness.
Florell agreed that protecting incumbency and its conflict with the Florida state constitution is a serious issue, however, he stated the city could address the issue of incumbents during this process with an ordinance.
“You can actually pass an ordinance that would allow existing council members to stay in their district, you are allowed that ability,” Florell said.
Florell urged city leaders to discuss this during their upcoming scheduled workshop.
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- City Council Redistricting Hearing Tonight
- St. Pete Set for Redistricting
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