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Five voting districts proposed

The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors is proposing to change the county’s three voting districts into five districts, with one supervisor and one school board member representing each of the five districts. On the map above, the proposed Jamaica District is in blue, Saluda District in pink, Harmony Village District in purple, Hartfield District in green, and Pinetop District in brown.

by Larry S. Chowning

The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss redistricting the county into five voting districts.

The proposed redistricting is in response to 2010 census data.

Currently, Middlesex County has three voting districts—Jamaica, Saluda and Pinetop. Saluda and Pinetop districts are each represented by two supervisors and two school board members, and Jamaica District is represented by one supervisor and one school board member.

Supervisors are considering creating two new districts out of the current Saluda and Pinetop districts.

Populations in each district must not be greater or less than 5% of the other districts to maintain the required “one man-one vote” policy.  This is mandated by state and federal law.

Jamaica District is not changing a great deal because it is considered the county’s “minority district,” and the United States Justice Department will not allow any dilution of the white/black vote in that district. Jamaica District also has not grown much in population since 2000.

The proposed Jamaica District is the largest geographic district, and runs from Laneview to Town Bridge Road (Route 616) near Saluda and Urbanna, but does not take in the Remlik area. According to the 2010 census, the proposed Jamaica District has a total population of 2,237 with 1,398 whites and 779 blacks.

The proposal calls for splitting the current Saluda District into two districts. The new Saluda District would start at Remlik and include Urbanna, Saluda, Cooks Corner and portions of Stormont. If approved, the new Saluda District would be the smallest district, both in area and population.  The district would have a population of 2,107 with 1,613 whites and 434 blacks.

The proposal calls for creating a new Harmony Village District starting near Cooks Corner and include the Healys area, and all of Harmony Village to Grey’s Point at Topping. The population of this district would be 2,158 with 1,559 whites and 517 blacks.

A new Hartfield District would be formed, mostly from an area that is currently in Pinetop District. Hartfield District would start from the west at Point Anne Subdivision near Healys Millpond and take in all of Hartfield to the Twigg Bridge along with the Regent and Wake areas. The district would have a population of 2,206 with 1,976 whites and 185 blacks.

The new Pinetop District would start in the west near the Wilton area and continue east through Deltaville to the Chesapeake Bay. Pinetop District would have a population of 2,251 with 2,134 whites and 63 blacks.

Under the redistricting proposal, all five current supervisors would be in different districts. Wayne Jessie would be in Jamaica, Pete Mansfield in Saluda, Jack Miller in Harmony Village, Carlton Revere in Hartfield, and Fred Crittenden in Pinetop.

Current Saluda District supervisor Pete Mansfield, who was elected in 2009, voted against holding a public hearing on the redistricting proposal. He said the new districts would not allow those in the Urbanna or Saluda area, who may have planned to oppose current Saluda District supervisor Jack Miller in the upcoming 2011 supervisor election, to do so. “Is that fair to them?” he asked.

In response to Mansfield, Miller said county residents should know that redistricting is taking place this year, and if the new plan is approved they will just have to wait two more years and run against “you Pete [in 2013].”

Mansfield also said he felt he was elected by all of Saluda District and it would be unfair to those people in the proposed Harmony Grove District to not be represented by him.

Pinetop District supervisor Fred Crittenden, whose seat on the board is also on the 2011 ballot, said he represents “every citizen in the county. If someone calls me from Saluda District or Jamaica District, I listen to them. I feel that I represent the entire county, not just the district I’m elected from.”

“What is this all about Pete?” Miller asked Mansfield. “The district lines are not a covenant thing. Like Fred (Crittenden) said, we as supervisors represent everyone in Middlesex County.”

posted 04.06.2011

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