Lexington Urban County Council resolution expresses concern about redistricting

bfortune@herald-leader.comJanuary 27, 2012 

House Republicans are challenging the constitutionality of such oddly shaped districts as 80 and 89.

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Lexington's Urban County Council passed a resolution on Thursday to express concern at the redistricting plan that moved Sen. Kathy Stein's district out of Lexington.

The resolution urges the governor and legislature to institute a restricting process such that in the future, district lines are drawn "fairly, representatively and in a non-partisan manner."

At-large member Steve Kay, who sponsored the resolution, said the redistricting plan "diminishes people's respect for government, and I think we should speak out."

Council vote 11-3 in favor of the resolution. In opposition were council members Ed Lane, K.C. Crosbie and Bill Farmer. Diane Lawless was absent. Farmer called the resolution "laudable, but not proper." He said the resolution "will hurt us with the legislature."

Crosbie urged council to write a letter expressing its displeasure and have council members who agreed, to sign it. A resolution makes it appear that all members agreed, when she, for one, did not, she said.

But Kay said a letter would not have the same impact.

Vice Mayor Linda Gorton said she questioned what the resolution will accomplish after the fact other than "this will make us feel good."

Judy Taylor, the city's paid lobbyist, advised council not to pass the resolution. "I don't think it would accomplish anything, and it has the potential to hurt," she said.

However, councilman Tom Blues said the statement was "civil, not inflammatory... We have a serious duty to our citizens to see this does not happen again."

Councilman Jay McChord said he was "sick and tired of Lexington looking weak, acting weak" at the state level. "If they don't like it up there, so be it. Maybe it is time to send somebody else up there," he said.

Councilman Chris Ford said when an action by Frankfort legislators "harms the citizens of Fayette County, we should stand up and speak."

"This is classic gerrymandering," said council member Julian Beard. "I don't think we should duck our head and go quietly into the night."

Reach Beverly Fortune at (859) 231-3251 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3251.

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