You may have heard about it on the news…perhaps you didn’t pay much attention…but Brookside is about to be split into two different council districts, represented by two different City Council persons. How does this affect you? Read on…
Currently, the Brookside area is in District 4, represented (very well) by Jan Marcason. (You can see the proposed map here, good luck figuring it out. Why can’t the committee members draw a map that translates well on the internet AND has the actual street boundaries written at the bottom of the map’s key?? ) Roughly, the current north/south boundary is from downtown to 79th St. New census population figures support a redistricting of the boundaries…the 4th district would extend north into Briarcliff and stop at 59th St, effectively splitting Brookside in half. The 6th district would begin at 59th and continue south way past 435 and east past James A Reed Road.
Redistricting boundaries also means redistrubing political power as well, because of how your tax dollars are divided up in the neighborhood and commercial areas of the district. Redistricting is necessary to keep the population distribution somewhat equal between districts, and so that minority residents are properly represented. How elected officials from each district respond to the needs of the residents, including how public money is requested for and spent in that district, is of concern to everyone.
The Brookside area is known for it’s politically active residents. Neighbors work together to pressure the city for public funds to keep the area appealing to residents and future home buyers. We contact our council rep when problems pop up regarding infastructure and demand repairs. We are a very active voting block during elections. Splitting Brookside in half could create problems gettiing tax dollars for the area as a cohesive neighborhood. If two separate council persons are working on behalf of one neighborhood, it could appear that the Brookside area is requesting too many public dollars, too many improvement projects, more PIAC funds than other areas.
Recent public meetings brought out residents opposed to the proposed map. An alternative map, outlining different boundaries for the 6th district was proposed but not considered. You can bet there is quite a bit of political back door dealings going on with the current map if other proposals are not even being seriously examined.
The City Council meets today, as of this writing the agenda is not published but I assume the redistricting issue will be up for discussion and possibly a vote. It would be a stab in the heart of Brookside, one of Kansas City’s most cherished and politically active neighborhoods, to have it split in half, represented by two different council persons.