Redistricting hearing Saturday

Residents of Kingman and Mohave County will have an opportunity at 3 p.m.

Saturday to tell the Arizona Redistricting Commission how they like – or don't like - the proposed maps of voting districts.

The meeting will be held in the Kingman Council Chambers at 301 N.

Fourth St.

Commissioner Joshua Hall is scheduled to attend the Kingman hearing.

"These are draft maps, subject to change," said Amy Rezzonico, Commission public relations director.

"That is why we are coming back to Kingman to get information from the area on the constituencies and issues important in the area and ways to solve the differences."

Current maps show congressional District 1 running from New Mexico across northern Arizona to the Nevada line and including all of Kingman.

It is similar to the current District 1 with the city of Kingman added.

The proposed congressional district is one of two new districts added with the increased population in Arizona made evident during the 2000 census.

It begins in Greenlee and Graham counties and comes across northern Arizona to include the north half of Mohave County.

Clifton, Morenci, St.

Johns, Show Low, Flagstaff, Holbrook and Window Rock are some of the communities included.

Both Kingman and Bullhead City would be in the huge district drawn to put most of rural Arizona in a single congressional district.

The current redistricting maps are drafts subject to change depending on what the people across the state tell the commission.

"The commission is trying to take the information and work toward consensus on the final draft," Rezzonico said.

To date, the most contentious hearing in the second round involved Cochise County where part of the county was put in a state legislative district reaching into the Phoenix area.

The commission is trying to keep the criteria from Proposition 106 that called for compact and contiguous districts with a common interest that would also make districts competitive.

At the same time the new boundaries must meet the criteria of the Voting Rights Act as interpreted by the U.S.

Department of Justice.

Kingman Mayor Les Byram has been contacting people.

"I expect Colorado City Mayor Don Barlow to attend and tell the commission that his city has not seen a state legislator for 10 years," Byram said.

"Kingman could be in the same situation if the District 1 boundary remains the same and we are included with Navajo and

Apache counties."

Byram said people should be aware that these boundaries would be with Kingman for the next ten years, until the 2010 census.

Any resident of the area is invited to speak at the Saturday hearing.

Former legislative candidate and Kingman resident Matt Capalby expects the District 1 boundaries to change after this series of statewide hearings are complete.

"My Flagstaff contacts indicate they will tell the commission in the Thursday night hearing that they would rather be in District 1 with the Navajo Nation than with Mohave County," he said.

"They have common interests with the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

Flagstaff has more economic and social ties with the Indian nations than with Verde Valley where they would be with current legislative maps."

He said that district would be heavy with Democrat registration and the heavily Republican areas of Kingman and Bullhead City areas were put in District 1 to make it more competitive.

Capalby said he thought the commission had made too many changes in the current draft maps to placate various groups

The issues that will be brought before the commission on Saturday are beyond partisanship, Capalby said.

"Our community of interest is along the Colorado River where the residents have common issues and common economic interests.

The first map with Mohave County all in one state legislative district was liked by everyone."

Saturday's hearing will begin with a brief presentation by the commission and is expected to last two to three hours.