The Lee County Commission delayed a vote Tuesday to adopt new district lines for county commission seats. The decision came following a public hearing in which the NAACP said the proposed boundaries lines could dilute black representation.
The voting map reflects population changes shown in the 2010 census.
The map keeps the communities of Estero, Bonita Springs and Ft. Myers Beach together, but divides the predominantly black community of Dunbar in the city of Ft. Myers.
Past president of the Lee County Chapter of the NAACP, Carletha Griffin, disputed the potential impact of the new lines.
“If you’ve got a voice and you’re a registered voter and you want to do the right thing, you want them to treat like everybody else, then that’s what should be done,” she said. “Everybody but the predominantly African American people get what they want. I don’t understand that. We need to get over that.”
Commissioners defended the map, saying most of Dunbar is contained within Ft. Myers city limits and that the African American community has political representation on the city council.
NAACP President James Muwakil turned his back on the commissioners when they defended the map, causing a stir in the chamber.
Commissioner Tammy Hall moved to delay the vote because two commissioners, Brian Bigelow and Chairman Frank Mann, were not at the public hearing.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to make a decision on redistricting with only three commissioners here,” she said. “Commissioner Mann had asked us if there was any controversy on the maps that we delay, and I’d like to respect the chairman’s request that we do that.”
Commissioners Ray Judah and John Manning agreed and the vote was moved to Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 12:23
County Delays Vote on District MapsWritten by Valerie Alker