Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Treasure Island to keep voting district configuration with tweaks to account for population shifts

TREASURE ISLAND — If you ask most residents where they live, the responses tend to be Paradise Island, Isle of Capri, Isle of Palms, Sunset Beach or Sunshine Beach.

Those are the city's major neighborhoods, and in some cases individually incorporated towns, dating back to before the city was consolidated and incorporated as Treasure Island in 1955.

Most residents assume that their voting districts line up with those neighborhoods.

Not so.

The big debate at Tuesday's commission workshop was whether voting districts should be redrawn to conform with the neighborhoods' geographical boundaries.

The answer was yes and no.

The city has four voting districts that each elect a commissioner. The fifth member of the commission, the mayor, is elected citywide.

The city's charter requires that the boundaries for these districts be reviewed and possibly redrawn every 10 years, utilizing the most recent U.S. Census figures.

The last time voting districts were changed, each of the historic neighborhoods was assigned part of the beach to their voting districts.

In order to keep the voting populations relatively even, part of the Isle of Capri (District 1) was moved into District 2, which encompasses the Isle of Palms.

Since then, the city's population has shifted, with District 2 now having 201 more residents than Paradise Island's District 3.

The solution proposed by Paula Cohen, senior planner for the city, is to adjust the district lines slightly, giving District 3 a chunk of District 2's beach area. The other district lines would remain relatively the same.

Cohen also presented another option: Align the commission voting districts with the original neighborhoods.

The problem with that solution, she said, is that the Isle of Capri has a much greater population and would have nearly 600 residents more than District 4, which encompasses Sunset Beach.

District 1 (Isle of Capri) Commissioner Phil Collins really liked the idea, however, and pushed for the city to revert to neighborhood-aligned voting districts.

"For simplicity of the residents, that would be the way to go. The residents don't know which district they live in," Collins said.

Mayor Bob Minning and District 2 (Isle of Palms) Commissioner Gail Collins agreed at first, but backed off when District 4 (Sunset Beach) Commissioner Alan Bildz suggested there could be a constitutional issue.

"It's impossible. It's supposed to be based on equal representation," Bildz said.

City Attorney Maura Kiefer also cautioned that neighborhood-based voting districts could potentially violate both the city's charter and the U.S. Constitution.

"One of the elements in redistricting is to reach mathematical precision. There is supposed to be an attempt for some type of balance," Kiefer said.

In the end, the commission agreed to keep the present district configuration with only minor changes to account for population shifts.

That means that part of the Isle of Capri would still be part of the Isle of Palms voting district. And part of the Isle of Palms voting district would shift to the Paradise Island voting district.

The commission still needs to vote twice to make the proposed new district lines official.

"Then it will be our responsibility to make sure people know who represents them," said Commission Carol Coward, who represents District 3 (Paradise Island).

Treasure Island to keep voting district configuration with tweaks to account for population shifts 10/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 1:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign


    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home


    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence


    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”