Letter: Redistricting fails to reflect censusI heard today that Nobles County commissioners decided on Plan No. 1 for redistricting. Clearly, they did not take into consideration the population shift that has occurred.
By: Alan Oberloh, Mayor, City of Worthington, Worthington Daily Globe
I heard today that Nobles County commissioners decided on Plan No. 1 for redistricting. Clearly, they did not take into consideration the population shift that has occurred.
It is quite unfortunate that city staff spent so much time researching the population of the city based on census information, and had staff present it to the county auditor for assistance and direction. The auditor came up with five scenarios, which were then presented to the city council for a recommendation to the county commissioners.
It now appears it was a wasted effort since the commissioners, in their wisdom, made their decision in a way that preserved three mostly rural seats. This was the perfect time to make the change, and the only opportunity until the next census in 10 years. There are currently no studies showing increased population in the rural areas, so it only made sense to allow three commissioners to represent Worthington. I do not make the census data what it is — the report speaks for itself. I believe in fair and equal representation, and the evidence shows nearly 60 percent of the county’s population resides within the city of Worthington.
I also understand that an argument was made, by at least one commissioner, that attempted to justify Plan No. 1 because of the taxes paid in the agricultural area of the county vs. the cities of Nobles County. What a disgusting comment that fails to realize a long-guiding principle of our country — one person one vote, regardless of how much they have in their back pocket. Perhaps a commissioner will propose next that only landowners can vote. The county board missed an opportunity to support representative democracy and a principle that has guided redistricting at all elected office levels.
Perhaps the time has come that commissioners should listen to the people you represent, and their critics, because truly their group is the most discussed story to come out of this area in a very long time.
There is a thought out there that commissioners should consider returning their salaries to the county to pay for the consulting contract that’s in place with the former administrator. It should come close to the annual agreement with him. People are truly disenfranchised with the way things are in the county.