City to lead lawsuit charge over redistricting issue

KINGMAN – The Kingman City Council could authorize legal action opposing proposed legislative districts during an 11 a.m.

Wednesday special meeting.

Mayor Les Byram has been in contact with officials in Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, Colorado City and Page and found support in each.

Mohave County also would be asked to join the effort.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fields made the decision that is causing all the problems, Byram said.

"We have a Mohave County Superior Court of the same rank where we can file (the lawsuit)," he said.

The legislation passed by the Arizona voters, Proposition 106, lists six goals for redistricting.

A.

Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the United States Voting Rights Act;

B.

Congressional districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable sand state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable;

C.

Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable;

D.

District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable;

E.

To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts;

F.

To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.

"The court decision violates items C, D, and E in direct conflict with the wording of the item on competitive districts," Byram said.

He said the voters of Kingman particularly and all of Mohave County would be disenfranchised if the new districts were allowed to stand.

"If the proposed district to meet the Maricopa court decision is allowed to stand, Kingman, the county seat of the fourth largest county in Arizona, will have no representation in the Legislature for the next eight years," Byram said.

Tom Carter, Paul McCormick, Kathy Ott, Beverly Liles, Byram and Lisa Krueger of Lake Havasu City and Don Sullivan of Bullhead City testified before the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in Phoenix on Friday.

"I told them the current district that puts all of Mohave County in a single legislative district is one of the great success stories of the redistricting," Byram said.

"The proposal to separate the county seat from most of the population in the county without any representation in Phoenix is a hatchet job using a chopping block."

If the Kingman City Council affirms legal action in the Wednesday special meeting, Byram would expect the city attorneys and the county attorney to meet together to draft the legal papers and file them in Kingman.

Byram said the issue for Kingman and Mohave County is representation, not partisanship.

"If the change occurs and Kingman goes in a district with the Navajo Nation, none of the 175,000 Democrats, Republicans or independents here would be represented."