Assembly revises boundaries for city election districts

rshinohara@adn.comNovember 14, 2012 

— The Anchorage Assembly Tuesday night voted to change boundaries of Assembly districts to take into account population changes identified in the 2010 census, but the districts are similar to those that exist now.

The new boundaries, if approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, will apply for the April 2, 2013, city election. The city was in a rush to redistrict to give the federal government time to review the plan before candidates sign up in January to run for Assembly seats.

The Assembly has five two-member districts and one single-member district, the downtown area, that is half the size of the other districts. There are 11 Assembly members.

The Assembly picked a plan that keeps the same configuration, evens out the population-per-member, and cleans up district lines by getting rid of split precincts, said Assemblyman Dick Traini.

It will not require any Assembly members to switch districts.

The Assembly voted to modify the plan to put all of Airport Heights in the Midtown district rather than splitting the neighborhood between Downtown and Midtown districts.

Some community council representatives testified that their councils hadn't had to review the alternatives available for redistricting, and asked the Assembly to postpone.

A consultant presented several options for changing boundaries to the Assembly in a work session Oct. 26. They included moving the single-member district to Midtown or East Anchorage. The choices had been developed by a three-member Assembly committee that had been meeting since July. But none of the meetings were public meetings.

Assemblyman Patrick Flynn said he was kept out of the process and wasn't happy about it. "We could have done a better job of this. We could have looked at other single-member districts."

Flynn represents downtown, the only single-member district.

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Reach Rosemary Shinohara at rshinohara@adn.com or 257-4340.

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