Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Residents make pitch for reconfiguring Hillsborough County Commission districts

The Hillsborough County Commission heard from dozens of residents Thursday weighing in on the once-a-decade drawing of boundary lines for four commission seats.

Most of the speakers championed minority representation or suggested which County Commission district best suited their neighborhood. Meanwhile, the number of redistricting proposals continues to grow.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner said he would introduce a map created by an alliance of Hispanic civic leaders, making it the eighth option for the commission to consider.

The group shared its ideas for redrawing district lines, including a heavy Hispanic concentration in District 1.

The district would include South Tampa, west Hillsborough all the way to Citrus Park, and parts of North Tampa. District 1 would lose all of the South Shore area.

Beckner said some of the other options concerned him and seemed to not go far enough in ensuring that minorities have a strong voice. "I have deep concerns that part of our minority representation voice is potentially being watered down and has been watered down," he said.

After the meeting, Lydia Medrano said she was encouraged by Beckner's decision to support her group's proposal.

"I feel like we are being heard," she said. "The growth in the Hispanic population is being recognized."

Several members of the African-American community also spoke out Thursday, saying they wanted to ensure there was no reduction in the percentage of black residents in District 3.

Linda Washington, president of the Progress Village Civic Council, said she supported the proposals that kept her predominantly African-American neighborhood in District 3. Some of the proposed maps would divide the community between District 3 and District 1.

"It's very important that we stay whole," she said.

District 1, redrawn to include communities such as Ruskin and Apollo Beach after the 2000 census, was the object of much criticism.

Several speakers said those neighborhoods should be restored to District 4, which includes most of southeast Hills­borough.

One of the latest proposals also adds Sun City Center to District 1.

"When you start talking about south county and moving them up into the Tampa area, we have no common interest," resident Betty James said. "We are a rural area."

Though many people argued for their neighborhoods to be kept whole, Temple Terrace leaders said they like being split between two districts.

"Retaining our current District 2 and 3 representation is extremely important to us," City Manager Kim Leinbach said.

Commissioners will discuss the matter and possibly approve new boundaries on June 20. The U.S. Justice Department must also sign off on the plan.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at or (813) 226-3405.

Residents make pitch for reconfiguring Hillsborough County Commission districts 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

    Visual Arts

    For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  2. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist


    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

  3. Bicyclist in critical condition after colliding with vehicle in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist is in critical condition after he ran a red light and was struck by a car on Monday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  4. Myanmar leader sidesteps atrocity allegations in first address on Rohingya crisis (w/video)


    YANGON, Myanmar - In her first major speech Tuesday on the worsening Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, sidestepped allegations of atrocities committed against the stateless Muslim minority and cast the conflict as just one of many problems ailing the country.

    A Rohingya Muslim, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carries his belongings as he arrives at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Free lunch, school routines, spending cuts and more


    FREE LUNCH: Hurricane Irma caused many families to go without income for a week. Many also lost power, and along with it the food in their refrigerators and freezers. Making matters worse, replacing it isn't so easy, as grocery stores have limited supplies. Hoping to ease the burden, the state has asked for …