City must decide on redistricting by mid-November

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Plan A

Every time the year ends with a zero, it’s time for the U.S. to do a Constitutionally-dictated process called the U.S. Census. About a year-and-a-half later, when the year ends in a one, it’s time for state and local governments to use that information and remap its representation.

Redistricting time is coming up for Clovis as well, with four plans on the table and on display at city hall.

During the Clovis City Commission’s Aug. 18 meeting, it was presented four potential city maps from Research & Polling of Albuquerque.

The city has received four suggested redistricting plans from Albuquerque-based Research & Polling regarding its required redistricting later this year.

The process needs to be finished by mid-November, and the state allows municipalities to tackle the matter in any form they want — whether by resolution or ordinance, and whether through regular commission meetings, town halls or study sessions.

“I would expect (outlining a strategy) will be done at the next commission meeting (Sept. 8),” Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said. “But it’s not on the agenda yet, so I can’t say that’s absolutely going to happen.”

Clovis’ population jumped 15.6 percent from the 2000 census to 37,775 in the 2010 census. Michael Sharp of Research & Polling told the commission at the meeting that the ideal split would be 9,444 residents for each of the city’s four districts.

However, a 5 percent deviation has generally been accepted, Sharp said, meaning the target range for districts falls between 8,972 and 9,916 residents.

All four districts grew in population, but Districts 1 and 2 grew at a faster rate than Districts 3 and 4. That means the slower-growing districts will gain land at the expense of the faster-growing districts through the redistricting process.

All four of the plans do that. The first two plans leave all current city commissioners in the districts they represent.

District 4 Commissioner Len Vohs is the only commissioner who would be moved under both Plans C and D. In each case, he would be moved from District 2 to District 1.

Vohs, up for re-election in 2014, thinks Plan A is the best because it does the least shifting of most details and still accomplishes everything necessary for redistricting. But he’s fine with any choice the other commissioner or citizens prefer most.

“I think there was a lot of studying that went into the plans,” Vohs said. “It falls where it does.”

Plan D would also move both of the current District 1 commissioners, Randy Crowder and Juan Garza, into District 4, and move District 4 commissioner Chris Bryant from District 1.

Commissioners Dan Stoddard (District 4), Fred Van Soelen (District 2), Fidel Madrid and Bobby Sandoval (both District 3) would remain in their districts under each plan.

Any commissioner who is placed in a new district would serve their former district until their current term expires.

Here are notables for each plan, noting percentage changes of 3 percent or more: