There are a lot of 'should haves' when it comes to county redistricting

It took about three weeks for the county legislature to analyze and interpret data that reflects 10 years of change in our community, and if County Executive Joanie Mahoney signs the local law passed by the legislature, as she's expected to, the entire redistricting process will have been begun and completed in less than a month.

But let us explain: the legislature didn't spend five days a week for three weeks straight discussing the data.

The six-member reapportionment commission charged with studying the numbers and recommending a plan did the job for the legislature as a whole. And they did it in only three meetings.

Is that a shining testament to efficiency and preparedness? Or evidence of an outdated and broekn system designed to keep the majority party in place for the next 10 years, until a new census is released and reapportionment repeated?

County Democrats argued the job couldn't be done so hastily, and they were dissatisfied with the Republican-led commission's recommendations. So, in even less time than Republicans spent, the Democrats devised their own redistricting plan and their own map of 17 districts.

Well, we agree that three meetings isn't enough time to thoughtfully and fairly relay legislative boundaries for an entire county.

But our solution wouldn't be to scribble out our own candy-colored map of squiggly lines and call it "not perfect, but better" than the alternative, and expect it to win the favor of our peers and constituents.

The process should have begun earlier, before the state released the census numbers in late March, and the process should have included the input of at least one expert on the subject and maybe computer software programmed to devise the best plan.

And it should have provided for more than 36 hours between the public hearing and the legislature's vote to account for the comments, questions and concerns raised by the community.

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