Northern Gila County Will Be Slighted Again

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Editor:

The citizens of northern Gila County are being set up to be slighted again in the Gila County Decennial Redistricting of the Supervisorial and College District Boundaries. The Board of Supervisors is 2 to 1 against northern Gila County. Without our objection, the problem will continue. We have long witnessed and endured the disastrous imbalances evident on the community college board. We have seen the admitted “confusion” on the Globe supervisors in relation to the request for support for a university in Payson. Our progress as a region is hampered by this unfair representation.

The last two resdistrictings, over the last 20 years, have set up the unbalanced representation between northern and southern Gila County. Through the current redistricting process, we have a slim chance to rectify this inequity.

The county is again using the same consultants as they did 10 years ago, that ensured two votes on the board of supervisors for Globe and southern Gila County.

This time around, it should be incumbent upon these consultants to find a way to rectify the sins of the past that will allow northern Gila County equitable representation on the board of supervisors and the college board.

So far in the current process, only obstacles to that correction have been set forth by the consultants. The limitations they espouse relate to preserving minority voting rights in District 2 and District 3 without consideration of the 90 percent non-minority citizens in District 1.

The consultants need to help us figure out how to get one man, one vote to count for something in Gila County, not to justify the status quo.

The Globe-based county elections staff, deny the redistricting process should address the disparity of northern and southern Gila County interests. We, the citizens and voters need to insist that this process addresses the fair representation of northern Gila County.

The current makeup of District 2 and District 3 marginalizes and disenfranchises whole towns (Star Valley), whole tribes (Tonto Apache) and whole communities (Young, Tonto Basin and Gisela) of people that need fair representation, when their interests don’t align with Globe.

There needs to be a way to have at least one of the supervisor’s districts to represent relatively equal populations of citizens from both northern and southern Gila County so that the interests of southern Gila County do not always trump our one supervisor’s vote.

I see the point of protecting the block of Indian and Hispanic votes, yet, no matter how important race voting blocks may be, it does not justify, for even a minute (let alone 10 years), depriving any citizen of their constitutional right to one man, one vote representation.

Cliff Potts

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