Council Districts

There is a move afoot, it seems, to redraw Greensboro’s city council districts next year. Such a move was recently reported and sourced to unnamed business interests in the city who think it’s bad that regular folks, as opposed to the business elite, deigned to get themselves elected to city council.

It’s likely a pushback against two of the newest council members, Sharon Hightower and Jamal Fox, both community activists who rode popular sentiment to upset victories over council incumbents in the 2013 election. Both Hightower and Fox had a steep learning curve coming into the job. That, combined with their curiosity and dedication to get to the heart of a matter, often has bogged meetings down, causing them to take much longer than necessary.

We said in these pages recently that council needed to do a better job of vetting issues and settling petty differences before the laundry was aired at regular meetings, televised of course city wide, that often devolve into grandstanding and lengthy speeches on simple policy matters.

We stand by that. But we also stand by the right of the people to elect their own representatives. Hightower and Fox are energetic, visionary representatives of their constituencies and serve the city well. Much better, it can be argued, than some empty suit purchased by another set of developers looking for shovels full of cash and sweetheart deals from political insiders.

The most likely scenario for a council redistricting will be a bill moved in the state legislature by a conservative Republican with a long history of public service. Given that it’s the long session coming in 2015, local bills don’t have to have unanimous consent. The likelihood that it will pass is great.

Right now there are five council districts, three at large representatives and a mayor elected by the people. A council of seven gerrymandered districts, that itself elects the mayor, is a distinct pos- sibility. !

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