MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Mobile held its first public meeting to discuss the city’s redistricting, centered on District Two.
A heated debate at the first mobile boundary meeting, with the debate coming from citizens baffled by the process and noting a lack of transparency. The mayor’s office, however, says it is transparent. The mayor’s plan called for four of the seven districts to have more black voters than white.
Jim Flowers, a Reverend from District Two, says there needs to be representation from that majority.
“The bottom line for me is that we are a black majority city and the city council should reflect that majority and that’s the bottom line.”
District Two has seen its black population percentage drop over the past decade, and critics say the mayor’s proposal is based on total population numbers rather than voting age numbers. District 2 Councilman William Carroll noted that this could create problems.
“It’s the voting age population that determines the district, you know you can have so many of the same group. But if the voting population does not correspond to the majority of the district, then we have a problem that we must examine. »
The city says this process happened as quickly as possible. The city received the census results at the end of August, and the city was unwilling to make any changes until the new council was elected in November, leading to the launch earlier this this month.
But residents feel that not enough has been done to spread the word, especially for residents of District Two, who are generally an older demographic.
“A lot of us aren’t on computers and most people are old people who don’t know computers, I barely do it myself,” said one resident.
Another District Two, Reverend Cleveland McFarland, said, “So there hasn’t been enough work to make sure the people really know what’s going on. And then at the last minute too. It is simply unacceptable.
On February 12, the final plans must be submitted to the city council, and then further public hearings will take place. The board has six months to vote.