Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Objections delay a decision on Hernando redistricting

BROOKSVILLE — Faced with questions about gerrymandering and districts that still would not include equal numbers of residents, the Hernando County Commission on Tuesday postponed until next week a decision about redistricting.

Both the commission and the Hernando School Board will have to vote on the issue next week since both bodies will be meeting for the final time in 2011, and a new map must be drawn by the end of the year.

Redistricting — a process during which the population is evened out in the five County Commission and School Board districts — happens every 10 years, after each census. The lines matter to the candidates for office because they must live in their districts, but are of little importance to voters because residents are able to cast ballots for candidates in all districts.

This year's plan ran into a problem when the County Commission and School Board sat in a joint workshop Nov. 1 to consider several new maps developed by the county planning staff.

They chose one and altered it slightly, but also agreed to consider a map drawn by the local NAACP. The NAACP map brought population numbers closer than the county maps, but didn't follow major roads.

While the county's map kept all of the announced 2012 candidates in their previous districts, Jason Sager prefiled to run for County Commission in District 3 the day before the workshop. With the map picked out for consideration by the commission, Sager would have been moved to District 5.

He argued that he should be allowed to say in his old district, and commissioners agreed to accommodate him.

But some in the community, including the leaders of the NAACP, argued that the change amounted to gerrymandering.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Dave Russell said the commission should take another look at the NAACP plan because it didn't carry the perception that the lines were drawn for some political purpose.

NAACP president Paul Douglas, also a County Commission candidate, said his organization opposed the county's proposal and favored the map it had drawn, noting that it was the most concise and came closer to having an equal number of people in each district. It only considered where incumbent commissioners and School Board members live, which is allowed by law, but not challengers, he said.

Michael Burmann, who is running in the District 1 commission race, said that all the challengers landing in different districts under the NAACP plan would likely raise a red flag.

"It's an obvious maneuver to help incumbents keep their seat,'' Burmann said. "If you adopt that, you're stepping into a big pile of it.''

Adkins also noted that the county's map still has his district with about 700 people fewer than Russell's, and commissioners agreed that, before staffers bring the plan back next week, they address the disparity.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to bring the slightly modified county proposal and the NAACP proposal back before the commission next Tuesday. Then the commission's choice will be forwarded to the School Board for final approval later that day.

Both county and school officials have said they want to keep district lines the same for both entities.

The delay also allows Commissioner Jeff Stabins to weigh in on the issue. He was absent from Tuesday's meeting, saying he had a family emergency, according to Adkins.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Objections delay a decision on Hernando redistricting 12/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 5 things to do under $5 July: Bucs training camp, Dive-In Movie, free Glazer Museum admission


    1 Bucs Training Camp: The public is invited to a series of free Bucs practices through Aug. 26. And don't forget this season HBO's Hard Knocks will focus on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including quarterback Jameis Winston, right. There will be discounted concessions, merchandise tents, appearances by …

    LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times (2016) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
  2. Rose McGowan will replace Val Kilmer at Tampa Bay Comic Con


    Well, that was fast. Less than a day after announcing that one-time Batman Val Kilmer canceled his appearance at Tampa Bay Comic Con, organizers say actress Rose McGowan will take his place at the geek-tastic event running Friday to Sunday at the Tampa Convention center.

    Rose McGowan and her then-husband Davey Detail in 2013.
  3. Bradenton museum where Snooty the manatee drowned reopens to public (w/video)


    BRADENTON — A Florida museum where a 69-year-old manatee got trapped in a maintenance tube and drowned has reopened to the public.

    Four-year-old Katie Blair pays her respects to Snooty at a makeshift memorial in front of the museum on Sunday. Katie and her family has visited the aquarium to see Snooty four times this year. 
Snooty was the world's oldest living manatee in captivity and celebrated his 69th birthday Friday at the aquarium. Aquarium officials described Snooty's death as a tragic accident and is being investigated. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 21-30


    TAMPA - Jesuit linebacker Anthony Nelson will help lead the Tigers into the 2017 season. Taken 5-17-17 by Scott Purks
  5. For starters: Cobb on the hill against Orioles



    Alex Cobb takes the mound, hoping to duplicate his performance from Friday when he was three outs away from pitching a complete game.