Salisbury Redistricting Plan Draws Ire and Support

May 30, 2014

Credit Don Rush

The Salisbury City Council held a hearing on a proposal to dramatically alter the political landscape by dividing the town up into 5 separate districts.

Mayor Jim Iregon renewed his proposal (See Map) as opposed to a plan approved by a previous council that provided for a two member majority-minority district and a three member district that was predominantly white.Mary Ashanti, president of the local branch of the NAACP, said she favored the mayor’s plan even though the two districts would only hold a plurality of African Americans who could vote.

"So, since the city about thirty percent African American, voting population having two districts where African Americans can achieve a clear plurality out of five districts allows us to view the Mayor's proposal as fair."

Opponents of the five district plan called it the balkanization of the town and questioned whether qualified candidates could be found in such small districts.

Former Council member Carolyn Hall told the council, " You create a scenario, where you have a situation where people are being elected in a very small pool of people who are not capable of doing the job." She added, "And I think that is a disservice to only only all of the city -- the citizens in the city of Salisbury -- but  it is also a disservice to them, because you put them in a position where it is beyond their grasp."