To the editor:
Great summary. (Hidden Agenda by Ashley Trice, 10/23/19, “Winners and Losers in the sordid mayor-council saga”)
You are the sole public voice that’s raised the issue of the Zoghby Act. The fact that this annexation is being rushed makes me suspicious that the backers realize what a ticking time bomb the Zoghby Act might be and are trying to avoid the topic. If they wanted to do it right they would campaign to have the Zoghby Act modified to include more districts and address annexation. That would take time either through the state legislature or via the courts. The council has shown they don’t want to wait for the courts.
The proponents are talking about voting for your own city council person. While new residents could vote in the city, they will not be part of a separate district. The Zoghby Act specifies seven district council members. As a result of this annexation, two districts will grow (six and seven). There will not be a separate seat for any newly annexed population. Yes, I have a copy of the Zoghby Act and have read it. I am not an attorney.
There are lots of claims and counterclaims re: finances. I think that is the least important issue, it’s gonna cost what it costs.
The more important issues are the gerrymandering that’s taking place both in the previous annexation election and in the proposed annexation.
Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries.
Looking at just one map that includes the businesses along Cottage Hill Road sheds light on how unfairly the maps are done. The area around Dawes and Cottage Hill has partial roads and neighborhoods surrounded by proposed annexation. This cannot be judged to be correct by anyone. There were at least two telephone polls done in the last several months. Being somewhat of a cynic, I suspect the data from these polls was used to draw the maps.
Representation is also a question. The city wants to annex 12,000 folks without representation. Additional representation would require two more council seats at a minimum or re-draw the entire city. The U.S. was founded on proper representation. Why is West Mobile being denied the same right?
The rush to grab money is very clear, it’s just not right.
W P “Tink” Wilkinson
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