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City of Peoria Press Release



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Peoria Seeks Public Input on Redrawing Council Districts

Officials Will Host Six Local Meetings to Brief Residents, Solicit Ideas

1/26/2011

PEORIA, Ariz. (Jan. 26, 2011) – The city will host a series of meetings in late January and early February to encourage public involvement in redrawing Peoria’s City Council districts.

After each census, the city is required to adjust its district boundaries to ensure roughly equal population in each district. Peoria’s rapid growth during the last decade guarantees that the districts will look much different than they do now.

City officials will hold a public meeting in each district on the following schedule:

  • Acacia District – Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., City Hall Pine Room, 8401 W. Monroe St.

  • Pine District – Wednesday, Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sun Valley Elementary School library, 8361 N. 95th Ave.

  • Palo Verde District – Monday, Feb. 7, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Oasis Elementary School library, 7841 W. Sweetwater Ave.

  • Willow District – Monday, Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Oakwood Elementary School library, 12900 N. 71st Ave.

  • Ironwood District – Wednesday, Feb. 9, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Desert Harbor Elementary School library, 15585 N. 91st Ave.

  • Mesquite District – Wednesday, Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sunrise Mountain Library, 21109 N. 98th Ave.

At each meeting, city officials will discuss the redistricting process and ask for residents' thoughts. There also will be time for questions and answers. Folks who are unsure about which is their district can consult an interactive map at www.peoriaaz.gov/councilmap.

Peoria and its demographic consultant are using input received at these meetings, as well as from stakeholder interviews and citizen kits, to develop alternatives they can present to citizens in April or May – and to the City Council in June. The city must send its preferred option to the federal Justice Department for approval.

“We encourage and desire citizen participation in this process,” says City Attorney Steve Kemp. “This is a very open and transparent process in Peoria, and we encourage people to get involved.”

Districts must be contiguous and compact, and they must keep together communities with strong identities, such as Desert Harbor or Vistancia. These considerations present some challenges for Peoria, given the city’s length from north to south and its narrow neck between Bell and Beardsley roads.

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Arizona is one of 17 states in which redistricting decisions also must protect the ability of minority voters to influence the electoral process. The Acacia District, for example, is a minority-influence district, which means city officials will have to demonstrate that they have done all they can to retain the same proportion of Hispanic residents in the district. This could be a significant challenge, considering that many in Acacia’s Hispanic population have prospered and moved on over the years.

Peoria’s redistricting plan is unlikely to receive approval from the Justice Department until late this year. Council packets for the 2012 election, which are expected to be made available in mid-2011, will be based upon the Council-approved redistricting plan, even though that plan is subject to change. City Council seats for the Ironwood, Mesquite and Willow districts are up for election in 2012.

Residents who would like to have their names added to a “Citizen Redistricting Contact List,” or who would like more information about the process, can contact the City Clerk’s Office (623-773-7340 or cityclerk@peoriaaz.gov) or visit www.peoriaaz.gov/redistricting.