Knox County Commission Stalls To Benefit Themselves

UPDATE: OOPS! Former Republican Fourth District County Commissioner Candidate Walter Wojnar has pointed us to the answer that the Knox County Law Director was unable to provide to us yesterday. Here it is. Sec. 2.03. C. No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Commission unless that person shall have attained the age of eighteen (18) and is a resident of, and a registered voter in, the district from which suck person seeks election on the date he/she filed his/her nominating petition and has been a resident of both the County and the district for one (1) year prior to such person’s election; provided however, that the district residency requirements shall not apply in the first general election at which Commission seats appear on the ballot following any reapportionment or redistricting of Commission districts. A member of the Commission shall remain a resident of the Commission district which such member represents during his/her term of office.

As for Citizen Activists A. Summers question. He got one and it is published in the comments. So, it appears that our forefathers anticipated this and cured it. It was good blog fodder and certainly scared a few people. So, now there is nothing else to see here, move on.

UPDATE: March 18, 2009 3:35 p.m. A Real Life Example: Let’s say that you are R. LeRoy Somebody and you currently live in the Seventh district. Let’s say that you desire to run for Knox County Commission because you are an insurance agent and very active in the community. You believe “in doing your homework” and you are tired of seeing your Commissioner R. Lying Selfish tell one story a few months after telling another story. Commissioner R. Lying Selfish in redistricting ensures that the Commission redistricts you into the Eighth District. The vote to put you and your residence in the Eighth District occurs at the August 2009 (8-24-2009) Commission meeting. You are unable to be a candidate for Knox County Commission for the May 4, 2010 primary and August 5, 2010 general election due to the fact that you have NOT been a resident of the Eighth district for a year.

Citizen Activist A. Summers sent the following thoughts on this issue. I have been asking this question to a few people, including one member of the redistricting committee. I haven’t heard anything back yet.

The State of Tennessee Election Commission has a schedule of May 4, 2010 as the primary elections, and August 5, 2010 for the general elections.A few facts:Tennessee law mandates the use of census data and refers to its use in local redistricting and in the establishment of voting precincts. The first, TCA 5-1-111(d), states that, “the county legislative body must use the latest federal census data whenever a reapportionment is made.”

The U.S. Census takes place every 10 years, and the next census occurs in 2010. Census questionnaires will be mailed or delivered to every household in the United States in March 2010.

The Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the President by December 31, 2010. Redistricting should take place one year after that date. PL 94-171 is a law passed by Congress in 1975, requiring the U.S. Census Bureau to furnish state governments population data by April 1 of the year following the census count for use in redistricting.

With all that said here is the questions at hand: How could the committee actually achieve a proper redistricting if they will not have the new census data to go by? Am I missing some magic number factor to apply to population to get close to the census numbers?

Original Post: 3/18/2009 1:38 p.m. The Knox County Commission is stalling the redistricting of County Commission lines in order to eliminate possible opponents and control the power to maintain their elected positions.

Last year, the citizens of Knox County voted to reduce the Knox County Commission to eleven members (nine district members with two countywide at large). With the voters passage of a reduced Knox County Commission maintains that it is necessary to redraw the commission boundaries. The Knox County Charter mandates that in order to be a candidate for Knox County Commission you must reside within the district in which you are seeking election for one year.

So, the current Commissioners have appointed some commissioners and some citizens in drawing a proposed boundary lines. It is assumed that the process by committee is a delay tactic. Brian’s Blog has inquired of the Commission office when the redistricting committee has met and and where they are in the process of proposing the lines. The Knox County Commission office is researching and will get back to us with the information.

The Knox County Primary election is May 4, 2010. The qualifying deadline date is February 18, 2010 at 12:00 Noon. The first date to pick up petitions is November 20, 2009. So, the boundary lines MUST be voted on and approved by the legislative body (Knox County Commission) no later than May 4, 2009 in order to make EVERY citizen in Knox County eligible to be a candidate for County Commission. To do anything other than comply with the law (charter), disenfranchises the citizens of Knox County and exposes the 19 members of Knox County Commission as abusers of the power of their office to enrich and keep themselves in power.

Brian Hornback of Brian’s Blog contacted Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett and asked about the appropriateness of the commission delaying past the one year deadline. While he was not prepared to answer the question without first researching the issue. He indicated that this question may be added to the Commission’s discussion items next week.

More details as they develop. Remember you read it here first.

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2 Responses

  1. A Summers says:

    I might have gotten some answers about my concerns. A NS reporter said…
    “Out of curiosity, I looked up the law you cited. The law states that a county can reapportion at any time, so there’s no requirement that they wait till after 2010. The Census Bureau releases updated population estimates all the time so I presume they could use that but I don’t know if it’s detailed enough for use in reapportionment.”

    So, that might be the answers I was needing to sooth my concerns.

  2. It’s funny how Rep. Bart Gordon calls himself a “blue dog” but is basically walking in lock-step with the expansion of government while also wasting taxpayer money on trips to Europe for him and his wife.