Editorials

Stein redistricting: Stranger than fiction

Just when we thought the redistricting process couldn't get any more ridiculous or offensive, the Senate ups and outdoes the House with a plan that would leave the heart of Kentucky's second-largest city without an elected senator for two years.

Yep, it's the revenge of Senate President David Williams, who was rejected 3-1 by Lexington voters in his failed bid for governor last year and is now paying them back.

The Republican-controlled Senate State and Local Government Committee has approved a redistricting plan that would move Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein's District 13, which now includes the University of Kentucky and environs, to Mason and Lewis counties in northeastern Kentucky.

The Lexington district would become Senate District 4, which is now located in western Kentucky, and for the next two years would be represented by Sen. Dorsey Ridley, a Democrat from Henderson.

With all due respect to Ridley, no one in Lexington ever voted for him to represent them. The Senate Republican plan essentially disenfranchises 90,000 residents of Fayette County.

Stein, who has challenged Williams' heavy-handed rule of the Senate and engendered his dislike, would lose her seat in the Senate at the end of this year and could not run for it again until the 2014 elections. This raw exercise of power is yet one more example of redistricting based on partisan and personal motives, with little to no respect for the public good.

The redistricting process in this year's legislature is making both parties look bad and confirming cynics' worst suspicions about Kentucky lawmakers. Kentucky must adopt a better process — one that's independent, non-partisan and based on democratic principles — before the 2020 census requires another round of redistricting.

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