Few speak at hearing on county redistricting

By By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
March 26, 2002
Lauderdale County supervisors must now make their final choice: which of two proposed redistricting maps they will submit to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.
Supervisors had hoped to use comments from a Monday night public hearing to help make the decision. But of the 15 people who attended, two spoke and they talked about school districts.
Craig Hitt, Lauderdale County's District 3 supervisor and president of the board of supervisors, said he was surprised at the low turnout.
County supervisors redraw district lines for themselves every 10 years to reflect shifts in population, based on the latest statistics from the U.S. Census.
Besides redrawing their own districts, supervisors also must redraw county school board, justice court, constable and election commission districts. The new districts will be used in the 2003 elections for supervisors, justice court judges and constables.
Clyde Walker Jr. of Wilsondale Road and Sonny Vance of Old Highway 19 South, both in the Collinsville area, spoke in favor of school district maps that placed them in the same district as nearby West Lauderdale schools.
Supervisors, though, had hoped to hear more about the county supervisor districts.
Ray Boswell, District 5 supervisor, said he had a petition signed by more than 117 residents of the Alamucha community wanting to be returned to supervisor District 5 after having spent the past 10 years in District 2.
One of the two proposed county maps would do just that.
Absent from the meeting was Obie Clark, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Clark had said previously he planned to attend the hearing and display a map he plans to submit to the Justice Department, regardless of the supervisors' decision.