City of St. Pete to convene redistricting commission

in Uncategorized by

St. Petersburg’s City Charter requires the city to convene a Redistricting Commission every 10 years following the national census. Mayor Bill Foster and each member of the City Council have appointed nine citizens to the commission, which now meets weekly each Tuesday to analyze existing City Council District boundaries and make any recommendations for changes by Feb. 15. Some time during that period, the commission will hold a public hearing. 

St. Petersburg, with a population of 244,769 according the 2010 U.S. Census, has eight City Council Districts. The Charter requires each district to be similar in population (between 29,984 and 31,208 each). The Charter also requires districts to be compact, contiguous and follow boundaries defined by streets, railroad lines or other natural boundaries (such as waterways). Currently, only District 3 meets the target population, requiring boundaries to be adjusted throughout the city. 

The Mayor and each member of City Council appointed a member to the commission. The chair of the Redistricting Commission is Dr. Linda Lucas, and vice chair is Dr. Brian Ligon. Other members include Dan Kunitzer, Laurel Macdonald, David Herzik, Greg Holden, Theresa McEachern, Paul Dickens and Ann Sherman-White. 

A timetable dictates that the Redistricting Commission submit its report to City Council on Feb. 15, with a final City Council deadline of May 12 to complete redistricting.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.