September 20, 2011
Redistricting matters to Issaquah area
Washington is in the midst of a once-a-decade chance to re-evaluate the lines on a map that create our congressional and legislative districts. Unfortunately, redistricting has become a politically partisan activity.
Please, powers-that-be, draw the lines based on logical groups of people, not on how best to achieve a legislative majority.
Logic does not divide small cities. Logic does not have a district that encompasses large portions of both sides of the Cascades. Logic does not base district boundaries on today’s representation without acknowledging that elected officials and political leanings will change dramatically over the next decade.
Washington uses a bipartisan committee to draft boundaries. But a bipartisan commission is a long way from a nonpartisan commission. Partisan officials appointed the commission members. When the commissioners think in terms of red and blue, third parties are shut out.
The four suggested maps show a wide array of ideas. With public input, the anointed team must come up with a final solution, or let state Supreme Court justices decide. It’s a tough assignment.
For Issaquah, there are things to like and dislike about each of the four proposed redistricting maps.
All of the proposed congressional district maps keep Issaquah in the same district, either the 8th Congressional District — where the city has been since 1980 — or in a dramatically redrawn 1st Congressional District.
Issaquah would be best represented in Congress by a lawmaker from a suburban district, not a representative forced to juggle suburban and rural issues.
The proposed legislative districts recommend placing Issaquah entirely in a redrawn 41st District or splitting the city among the 41st and 5th districts. Under the existing arrangement, Issaquah is divided among the 5th, 41st and 48th district, so the idea of unifying the city into a single district, or at least fewer districts, is a welcome one.
The redistricting commission is accepting public comment on these proposals. The chance for citizens to offer input in this once-in-a-decade exercise is important. Make your voices heard.