Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lines Drawn in the Sand

From the unpublished draft version of post that I had intended to write a while back:
First question: Do you think Laveen should be split into more that one city council district? That's the current plan, based on the final proposed maps from the city's consultants.

Second question: If Laveen is split into more than one council district, which parts should go where? There was one map in the initial proposals that had a somewhat objectionable vertical split, dividing Laveen from east to west. Then there was a map that divided Laveen from north to south, more or less along Baseline, as I recall. The city's current plan seems to have borrowed from both, but definitely has a stronger north-south split.

Third question: If Laveen is kept whole, which other areas of Phoenix should end up in the same district?
As noted in the second question, the city's plan -- based on the 2010 census -- was pretty well formulated to functionally divide Laveen Village between districts 7 and 8. Here are the maps of our new districts that took effect on January 1st, 2013:

And here we are, approaching the end of 2013, with Michael Nowakowski still serving in District 7 and newly elected Kate Gallego prepared to soon take office in District 8. Laveen has never had more direct advocacy on the city council, given that these two community leaders both live in or near Laveen and are involved in the community. 

However, this also raises the question of how Laveen is or should be divided. I feel particularly attuned to this issue, given that I recently moved from "Laveen District 7" to "SoMo District 8". The same folks who gave me grief for my audacious concern for Laveen from the north side of Baseline continued giving me grief after I joined them in their council district but left the village of Laveen (and somehow remained concerned about Laveen). Not only did I join the lower density south-of-Baseline folks, but I also moved into the true "South Phoenix" -- certainly a controversial name for our part of town in some circles. But then this evokes the notion that Laveen and the old South Phoenix are now more inextricably linked than ever. In fact, I even wrote a south Phoenix post in 2011, right before moving a few miles eastward, that still reflects how I feel about this topic. And here's the follow-up collaborative blog post with NPR's Nick Blumberg, with audio included.

I still maintain that I feel more connected to the old Laveen (Laveen 1.0) now than I did as a resident of the new Laveen (Laveen 2.0). I'm now anxious to see how the new-new Laveen (Laveen 2.1) evolves in light of this shift in political power and growth for the area. But that again evokes divisive terminology, just as high-density and low-density does. Given our area's glorious diversity, there seem to be endless opportunities to divide our community on any number of criteria... or unite for the common good. Good luck to Kate and Michael, who I trust to continue drawing on the area's strength in diversity and opportunities for future growth.

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