By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
A few Picayune residents attended a public hearing Tuesday for a look at the new redistricting map.
A second public hearing will be held Thursday at 6 p.m.
The hearing allows city residents to view the redistricting maps that seek to ensure the minority population is represented, said Mayor Ed Pinero Jr.
Changes had to be made to the city’s districts to account for the change in population in the two minority districts, two and four. According to census data, minority population in district two and four was not evenly distributed under the old district map.
Parker Berry with Butler Snow said each district in the city ideally should have a population of 2,332 people, but the census data showed the population had migrated. In district two, the population was 1,937, and in district four, the population was 1,756. The new district lines put population of those districts at 2,229 and 2,390 respectively. Each of those districts has a mostly black population.
The purpose of creating district maps is to illustrate the population is evenly distributed between districts, that each district is contiguous and that each district complies with state and federal laws to protect voting rights, Parker said.
Bill Rigby, a demographer with Holland and Rigby Political Redistricting Consulting, said according to the census data collected in 2010, a lot of the population in districts 2 and 4 moved to the other three districts. His purpose was to even out those populations while maintaining minority representation in the two districts.
A major change to the map involves including Ponderosa Subdivision in district four, represented by council member Larry Breland, a subdivision that had been in district two, represented by Lynn Bogan-Bumpers.
Breland was concerned that he lost too many people in his district due to the inaccuracy of census data. Parker said the census data is the only data that can be used to create the maps.
Another public hearing will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. in the council’s chambers.