Tampa City Council redistricting workshops start Wednesday
The first of six public workshops to discuss redistricting seats on the Tampa City Council is coming up Wednesday evening at the North Tampa Branch Library.
The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission is holding the workshops over the next month to seek suggestions and ideas from the public on the makeup of the council districts. Redistricting takes place every four years in Tampa and affects only the city.
The workshops — one in each City Council district and two on weekends — will take place:
• 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the North Tampa Branch Library, 8916 North Boulevard.
• 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the North Tampa Branch Library.
• 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at Copeland Park, 11001 N 15th St.
• 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 1 at the C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Public Library, 2607 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
• 11 a.m. to noon Oct. 5 at the C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Public Library.
• 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Kate Jackson Community Center, 821 S Rome Ave.
Under state law and the Tampa City Charter, the Planning Commission recommends and approves a redistricting plan for the City Council’s single-member districts to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.
In Tampa’s four single-member districts, Harry Cohen represents District 4 (South Tampa), Frank Reddick is in District 5 (downtown, the port, East Tampa and part of West Tampa), Charlie Miranda represents District 6 (West Tampa and parts of South Tampa), and Lisa Montelione represents District 7 (North Tampa). The three remaining seats — currently held by Mike Suarez, Mary Mulhern and Yvonne Yolie Capin — are citywide.
In response to legal requirements and demographic changes, planning commission officials have developed five alternative redistricting plans. Each aims to:
• Create four districts that have populations as close to equal as possible.
• Create “compact and contiguous” districts using existing voting precinct boundaries as building blocks.
• Avoid changes that would hurt minority representation.
The planning commission is scheduled to act on the plan next January or February. It is required to complete the redistricting process by April 1, which is roughly a year before the city’s next elections in spring 2015.
Maps, demographic data and other information about the city of Tampa’s City Council redistricting process is online at planhillsborough.org/redistricting or can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the planning commission library on the 18th floor of the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. For questions or comments, contact project manager Terry Eagan at (813) 273-3774, ext. 349 or at firstname.lastname@example.org