Alvin Mason wants to discuss Augusta Commission's vote on new district map

Commissioner questions colleagues' change of mind
Alvin Mason wants to know why two rejected a plan they previously supported.

 

The head of Augusta's ad hoc redistricting committee, Commissioner Alvin Mason, wants to revisit why two commissioners favored a new voting district map Nov. 29, then voted against it Dec. 6.

Mason, who did not return an e-mail or calls seeking comment Friday, has requested to address the commission at Tues­day’s meeting on the part of the agenda typically reserved for public comment.

He did not request another vote on the map, and Comm­is­sioner Jerry Brigham said he doubted the unanimous consent required would exist to add and reconsider the item Tuesday.

The map failed 5-5 on Dec. 6 in the absence of Mayor Deke Copenhaver's tiebreaking vote. Copenhaver said he will be present Tuesday and that he favors the map.

"If I was to vote on it, I would vote in favor of it, as it received unanimous approval by the redistricting committee," Copenhaver wrote in an e-mail.

Brigham, one of two commissioners on the committee who later voted against the map, said he took issue with its treatment of District 7, which he is representing for a second consecutive term.

"The map takes my district and causes it to go all over the place," Brigham said.

The district, currently a triangle that caps the northern tip of Rich­mond Coun­ty, loses territory east of Eisenhower Drive and Berck­mans Road and south of Au­mond Road and Ingleside Drive in the new map.

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett, who also served on the committee, said he was disappointed the commission didn't give the map an approving vote.

"With the dissension, now it's a good possibility the Jus­tice Department may look at it and send it back to us for additional work," he said.

The Richmond County Board of Elections has paid consultant Linda Meggers for hours of work and travel expenses over the past few months. The ad hoc committee met a half-dozen times, and Meggers created five computer-generated maps before it voted Nov. 29 to approve Plan 3R.

Any map adopted by the commission would then have to be approved by the state Legislature and the governor, then face mandatory review by the Department of Justice, which takes at least 60 days. Qualifying begins in May for 10 offices expected to represent the new districts.

Lockett questioned the issues others, including Dis­trict 6 Commissioner Joe Jack­son and school board member Jack Padgett, have with the map's plan for south Augusta's District 6, whose minority population would increase from 53 percent to 60.6 percent.

The map would bring Augusta's total of majority-minority districts to six in a county that's 55.8 percent minority.

"District 6 has for years been predominantly minority," Lockett said.

Richmond County school board approves redistricting plan
City Ink: Surprises keep politics interesting
Augusta Commission rejects new district map
Redistricting committee approves new Augusta map
Hearing, workshop planned on Augusta district maps
Augusta redistricting committee to choose from 2 plans
Augusta redistricting committee seeks lower minority percentages
Proposed district map might change racial makeup of Augusta Commission
Several districts change in proposed Augusta-Richmond County maps
Augusta-Richmond County redistricting under way
Panel to redraw commission, school board lines
See the maps for Plan 3R (Final)
See the maps for the current districts

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