The Oklahoma County commissioners approved a redistricting map today that moves The Village out of District 3 and into District 1.
The map, drawn by District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan, also adjusts his district to include a northwest Oklahoma City house recently bequeathed to him by his deceased aunt, allowing him to live in the house without losing eligibility for his seat.
Each of the three commissioners on the board proposed their own map in a meeting on Monday.
Maughan’s map drew criticism from candidates in the upcoming county commissioner elections. It was selected after gaining unenthusiastic support from District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert.
Cummings advocates for The Village to stay put
A vocal critic of Maughan’s map was The Village city councilwoman and former mayor Cathy Cummings, who announced six months ago that she was running for District 3. With the new map, she now resides in District 1.
Cummings upbraided commissioners for the move during the public comment section of the meeting.
“I am here to advocate to keep The Village in District 3,” Cummings told commissioners prior to the vote. “I am politely asking you to table this vote. You do have time. The deadline is Nov. 30.”
Cummings said the entire redistricting process is partly the result of Maughan wanting to live in a house given to him by his family.
“We’re basically having to move the entire county around because your family was rich enough to give you a free house,” Cummings said to Maughan. “The entire purpose of this redistricting was because District 3 had too many people and District 1 not enough. Why are you coming in to try and take away my voters? Because that area is heavily Democratic and they all know me. Unless you’re trying to purposely block me for running for District 3.”
Pittman questions equality
Former state senator Anastasia Pittman also spoke out against the map. She is running for District 1, a seat currently held by Carrie Blumert.
“Redistricting should ensure communities of color have a fair shot at electing candidates who represent their views and who will fight for their concerns,” Pittman said. “It’s no secret that I am a candidate for District 1. In my studies and conversations with community leaders, we’ve looked at the maps and we are concerned about the representation of these districts and about equitable funding.”
District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey said he drew his map based partly on the concerns he had about diluting minority votes in the county.
“My goal in the map I drew was to keep the communities of interest together,” Calvey said. “As was pointed out by Senator Pittman and others, the map that I have does increase the percentage of racial and ethnic minorities in District 1. There is a significant minority population in our county and to dilute the power of minority votes is not the best thing to do, and that was the focus of the map that I have drawn.”
Blumert said she had concerns about Calvey’s map because it would significantly reduce the road miles in her district, which are tied to funding.
“None of these maps are perfect,” Blumert said. “I do want to make sure that it is on the record that the map I am proposing looks very similar to the map that is currently in place that Commissioner Willa Johnson supported and voted for 10 years ago. My goal was to make as few changes as possible to our district lines. With Commissioner Calvey’s map, yes it does condense minority population into one district, but it also cuts their budget by quite a bit. I said on Monday that I’m not okay with that.”
Blumert said she would support Maughan’s map as a compromise.
“I think commissioner Maughan’s map keeps the road miles as equal as we can get them to be,” she said. “And as much as I would love to move approval of my map I don’t think I’m going to get any votes so I’m going to have to figure out how to compromise. If the compromise we can make is your map then that’s what I’m going to have to go with.”