Manatee County Commission approves redistricting plan
Map B2 adopted in 4-3 vote.
The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday voted 4-3 to approve a new districting plan for the commission’s five single-member districts to account for population growth and shifts in the past decade.
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Features of the new map include moving agricultural areas previously in District 5 into a new District 1; moving some, but not all, coastal areas north of the Manatee River into a new District 3; and splitting the “urban core” of central Bradenton and Palmetto, which is heavily populated by Black and Hispanic residents, and placing the Bradenton portion in a new District 3 and the Palmetto portion into a new District 2.
Voting for the new plan were commissioners Vanessa Baugh, George Kruse, James Satcher and Kevin Van Ostenbridge. Voting against were commissioners Reggie Bellamy, Misty Servia and Carol Whitmore.
(For maps that offer more details about the proposed boundaries, go here.)
Considering approval of the map was all but a done deal after a preliminary vote last week, the commission’s debate Tuesday was somewhat muted. Kruse repeated his defense of Map B2, which he submitted last month, and Whitmore implored her colleagues to approve an alternative, Map A1, which, among other things, would have created a new coastal district and preserved all of the urban core in District 2.
Bellamy offered the harshest criticism of Map B2, saying it represented a “very sophisticated strategy to dilute the minority vote,” in District 2.
Most of the members of the public who offered comment Tuesday were similarly opposed to the adoption of Map B2 and called for the commission to instead approve Map A1.
Marc R. Masferrer 🇨🇺 @MRMasferrerHappening now: @manateegov commission considering proposed redistricting map for 5 single-member districts. Plan before commissioners is known as Map B2. https://t.co/GpZ5fClu1M https://t.co/7u3NmOBvFw