UPDATE: 10:00 AM.
A response from Canton City Council President Alan Schulman, to wit:
I, for one, am very interested in how the Republicans are intending to carve up our district.
And I know many others who are similarly concerned. No one shared with me that a meeting was scheduled.
Was this intentional ?
The Ohio Apportionment Board (OAB - Board) came to Stark County yesterday: to Walsh University's Barrette's Center in North Canton.
To hear (i.e. via taking testimony) Stark Countians (and the citizens of surrounding counties) views on how the OAB should re-create Ohio's house and senate seats. Ohio's Constitution requires that the process be done every ten years in the year with a "1" in it.
On October 5th, the Board will determine the shape and composition of the districts.
Stark County embarrassed itself in not having one person step forward to offer testimony on how the OAB should proceed with respect to recomposing Stark County's and, indeed, all of Ohio's legislative districts.
Stark County commissioners experienced much of the same (lack of public interest) when they launched a series of 22 community meetings February - June of this year only to be met with overwhelmingly sparse attendance.
Only Jackson and Perry townships greeted commissioners with significant crowds. And Perry's was happenstance. The township had recently experienced a flooding problem and the affected residents were anxious to get their hands on anyone in government who they might interest in dealing with their flooding problems.
In Canton, nobody showed up and in Alliance only two citizens showed up.
Another Stark County "incident of apathy" occurred a couple weeks ago when Chief Deputy Mike McDonald started a series of tours at the Stark County Jail to show the Stark County public how much jeopardy corrections officers and deputies were in who had to deal with a couple of hundred or so prisoners in the face of current layoffs, let alone what would be coming if the proposed 1/2% sales/use tax issue fails on November 8th.
How many Stark Coutinans showed up at the first tour on August 15th?
On the redistricting matter, on the face of it, Stark County may have an interest in getting a reconfiguration that eliminates the "U" shaped district - the 50th - in the county which may or may not meet the standards of Article XI of the Constitution, to wit:
§ 07 Boundary lines of House and Representatives districtsBut again not a person spoke up on that issue or any other redistricting issue at yesterday's meeting.
(A) Every house of representatives district shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory, and the boundary of each district shall be a single nonintersecting continuous line. ... .
The SCPR questioned Republican Ohio Auditor David Yost (a member of the Board) specifically about whether or not the 50th - on the face of it - met the constitutional definition of compactness.
Here is his video response:
Another person present at the North Canton meeting was Democratic state Senator Michael Skindell of the 23rd Senate district (Lakewood) who is a 1983 graduate of the then Walsh "College."
Skindell offered that one of the reasons for poor attendance is that the OAB scheduled its regional meeting prior to any proposed maps being made available to the general public.
He said that he and the minority (Democrats) were pushing for a supplemental round of hearings at which "actual" proposed maps would be available to be commented upon.
It appears to the SCPR that there is very little likelihood of supplemental hearings being held. OAB officials at the meeting said that all the proposed maps would not be into the Board until September 23rd, which, of course, leave precious little time (about two weeks) to go out again across Ohio with a new round of hearings before the Board makes its decision on October 5th.
Moreover, it is unclear whether or not Republicans will agree to additional hearings even if they are doable. While they say they are for "transparency," as with so many government officials and elected officeholders, the word is mostly used as a mere word with little if any real world action by them to demonstrate the substance of the word.
Thusly, they along with many federal, state and local government officials contribute to the growth of public skepticism, if not cynicism, which the SCPR believes is a major reason for public apathy.
Here is the Skindell video.