Meetings watch: Redistricting public hearing

The Portales City Council held the first of two public hearings Tuesday to receive the options for redistricting.

Sterling Fluharty, consultant with Southwest Political Services, gave the presentation on the options.

Fluharty said to provide for population equality in districts, so they can be as similar to each other as practical, the total population of 12,343 was divided by four, which is 3,085 per ward.

He said considerations include maintaining cores of existing districts and protecting incumbents. The presentation included a table of demographics giving the number of people in each ward; people eligible to vote in each; origin of the people in the city; and the deviation between the districts.

Fluharty presented two options: Concept A, which creates the least possible change to the current ward map (incumbents stayed in their wards) and Concept B, which he explained was prepared as “communities of interest” with information from the 2010 Census (still leaving the incumbents in their wards).

Fluharty said Ward D in Concept A did not change at all and that the rest of the wards had minor changes. He told the Council that he would prepare a Concept C map from information garnered from their questions or their direction.

Fluharty said that Concept A would split Precincts 13, 15 and 10 and Concept B would split Precincts 8, 15, 10, and 1. Both concepts fulfill the goal of continuity for the voters (relatively few voters are affected).

Fluharty said he did not recommend one concept over the other, but that the advantage of Concept B is the city would have more compact districts.

The second public hearing will be held during the next regularly scheduled council meeting Tuesday.