July 15, 2011

The Menasha City Council approved their redistricting plan Thursday evening after rejecting a map created by the redistricting committee that the council appointed June 6.  Following the rejection of the committee created map the common council held a special workshop creating their own plan which includes eight aldermanic districts and seventeen wards. 

There are questions as to why the council would create a plan where the district in the growth area, district eight, is larger than five of the eight districts and substantially the same as another.  Only one district is larger and that district has a proposed student housing project that could substantially increase its population as well.  The Common Council recently approved a plan to construct nearly 200 new housing units in the vicinity of Lake Park Villas, and substantial development potential occurs elsewhere in district eight as drawn by the council.  By contrast there is almost no residentially zoned property within Winnebago County for potential growth, and trends over the past ten years have shown decreasing population. 

This morning, I announced that I will veto the plan drawn by the common council, even though the council likely has the votes to override the veto.  I will not endorse a plan that will lead to the disenfranchisement of residents living on the east side of the community, if that is the council's intent they will have to do so without my blessing.  The common council drawn plan retains each of the current aldermen in their current district, where the committee drawn plan anticipated two current aldermen residing in district two.  District eight located in the city’s Calumet County growth corridor would have no incumbent living in the district in the committee created plan.

The plan approved by the common council creates additional ballots in two districts due to crossing county supervisory district lines.  The creation of additional ballots could create additional confusion at the polls, and will create additional costs of up to $1,000 per election without benefit to the community.

Any redistricting plan needs to look at the long term best interests of the community.  Priorities stated at the workshop were to create a map that is: simple, compact, as equal as possible in population, without unneeded costs, following statutes, and providing equitable representation.  It is my belief that the plan approved by the council does not provide equitable representation through the life of the plan, and incurs unnecessary cost; therefore, I have vetoed the plan.