LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mr. Lucachick conveniently forgets recent history
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
I shook my head when I read in the (May 14 edition of the Pioneer) about Jim Lucachick's lawsuit against the Beltrami County Board redistricting .
Everyone is entitled to their day in court, and one day is all I think Mr. Lucachick and the 30 others deserve.
Selective memory and poor critical thinking skills are commonplace. The lawsuit makes two main claims: gerrymandering and inadequate opportunity for public comment.
Looking at the old and new district maps side by side, it is apparent that the new district boundaries are less arbitrary and convoluted than the old boundaries.
The new districts are compact, contiguous, sensible, similar and seem to reflect communities of common interest.
Per the Pioneer, "One common sign of a gerrymandered district is that they are often oddly shaped and not compact or contiguous" and "The map does fall within the 10% population variance allowed between districts by state statute" and "While not a statutory requirement, state redistricting principles in the past have included that 'communities of interest should be preserved' including those with similar social and geographic interests, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website."
I don't think the new districts provide an unfair advantage for one political party over another. Gerrymandering didn't happen.
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Regarding inadequate opportunity for public comment. The Pioneer reports "There was a public hearing about redistricting held on April 5, though the lawsuit argues that this was not enough."
And, (during the April 12 special meeting), "There were members of the public in the audience and the lawsuit suggests that the floor should have been opened for comments."
Mr. Lucachick conveniently forgets recent history. Public comment is generally not allowed (about agenda items) at board meetings.
This is how the board has operated for some time. I distinctly recall the county board vote on refugee resettlement where the room was packed and no public comment was allowed "There was no public hearing or comments from the public accepted prior to the vote, but a large crowd attended the meeting."
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I also recall the county board vote on making the auditor/treasurer position appointive. There were many attendees and no public comment was allowed.
Mr. Lucachick approved of both.
The difference between those cases and the redistricting vote is that Mr. Lucachick approved of the final result then and does not now.
Well, isn’t that special.