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Lake City News

Lake City Redistricting:
“If you don’t affect folks in their pocket book, they don’t show up,” City Manager Wendell Johnson

Special redistricting meeting
Three people showed up for the special redistricting meeting where the maps were unveiled.

LAKE CITY, FL –  Last night, the City Council reviewed the four election districts within its boundaries, an act required once every five years by the City Charter. City Clerk Audrey Sikes presented the current and proposed boundaries, the changes of which were to insure that each district had approximately the same number of registered voters. Hundreds of hours were spent redrawing the districts and the maps. Three people showed up for the special redistricting meeting.

Councilman Eugene Jefferson, "I would have liked to have seen more people show up.
I would have liked to have people take an interest."

Before the meeting kicked off, the Observer asked City Manager Johnson why he thought so few showed up. He said, "If you don’t affect folks in their pocket book, they don’t show up.”

Lake City has 6115 registered voters. The districts are drawn by the number of registered voters, not by population. This is mandated by the City Charter. The decision to redraw the districts by population was discussed during the last city charter review in 2010.

City Clerk Audrey Sikes and Mayor Steve Witt
City Clerk Audrey Sikes presents a redistricting power point as Mayor Steve Witt looks on.

City Clerk Sikes explained that it might have been a little easier to determine the boundaries by population, rather than registered voters.

City Manager Wendell Johnson told the Council that he was familiar with election districts being draw by population, not registered voters. He said that he could see the potential for districts drawn by registered voters and not population to skew the relationship between council members./p>

CM Johnson asked, "What is the logic for having registered voters, instead of population [determine the boundaries]?"

City Attorney Herbert Darby told the Council it was discussed during the charter review cycle. He said, "We're stuck with it until it is revisited again."

An hour later, during the regularly scheduled Council meeting, the district boundaries were approved. No one from the public commented during the public hearing before the Council approved the boundaries.


After the meeting the Observer asked the City Council members what they thought of the poor turnout, 3 people, at the earlier special meeting to discuss the boundaries.

City Attorney Darby opined, "The people are satisfied."

City Councilman George Ward agreed, "I agree. There is a certain trust."

Councilwoman Melinda Moses said, "Maybe they trust us to do the right thing. I’m kind of flattered that nobody showed up."

Mayor Steve Witt thought that folks may have been satisfied, but added, "I do like input, especially before we vote."

First term Councilman Zack Paulk said, "Maybe once we publicize it, maybe that’s when people will come out."

Councilman Eugene Jefferson reflected for a moment, "I would have liked to have seen more people show up. I would have liked to have people take an interest."

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Links: click current or proposed to see the maps
District 10 • current  941  votersproposed 1479
District 12 • current 1708 votersproposed 1512
District 13 • current 2308 votersproposed 1724
District 14 • current 1158 votersproposed 1400
The • current map
The • proposed map

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