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Kane County Redistricting: 24 or 2 More?

Kane Redistricting Task Force zeros in on 24-seat map

The Kane County Redistricting Task force considered a "97 percent complete" draft of a map delineating 24 newly shaped County Board districts, representing the elimination of one member's district and in one instance pitting two Elgin incumbents together in a possible 2012 runoff.

District 9 in North Aurora, currently held by retiring board member Jim Mitchell, was removed and absorbed by surrounding districts that needed to grow in population. 

The other seat reduction was achieved in Elgin's District 19, where task force chairman Cathy Hurlbut combined her district with that of District 18's Jeanette Mihalec, forcing a possible head-to-head contest between the republican Hurlbut and the democrat Mihalec in 2012.

As for why Hurlbut put herself on the line she said, "somebody had to do it so it might as well be me." Hurlbut said she spoke to Mihalec about this in advance and referred to her as "a good sport."

My District 11 in Geneva, which covers most of Geneva east of Randall Road, except the area north of Kaneville Road, remained nearly intact, while significant territory was added in the northwest and far west areas of Batavia to achieve the required population of 21,500, plus or minus five percent. The southward expansion was created by the elimination of the North Aurora district. Batavia board member Tom Van Cleave also shifted significantly to the south.

With a 24-seat map virtually complete task force member Jim Mitchell asked why so much time and effort was being put into this map when the number of districts has not been formally endorsed by the county board.  Hurlbut cited the prior task force 5-1 vote and the county board's 14-10 straw poll in favor of 24 seats as providing the direction she was to follow, and she said so.

"If the County Board wants us to draw a 26 or 22- seat map we'll do it, but right now we're focusing on the map the county board asked us to work on," she said.

During the discussion, only two members expressed a desire to see a 26-seat map and none requested a map with fewer than 24 seats. Mitchell called for the task force to reaffirm their prior recommendation for 24 seats, which was passed unanimously by voice vote.

The new draft map will soon be available for viewing by the public on the county's web site www.countyofkane.org. 

Marc Avelar April 23, 2011 at 12:04 PM
As much as I wanted to see the Kane County Board reduced to 22 districts (which is what I said during the public comments portion of the Redistricting Task Force meeting on March 29th), from what I saw at the April 21st meeting, I believe it will be 24 districts. Disappointed a little, yes, but satisfied. While the initial draft map presented last Thursday, as Redistricting Task Force Chair Cathy Hurlbut said, is nowhere near the final map, it is a start and headed in the right direction. I'm satisfied because the county board began the process to reduce the number of districts and members. Whether due to the 800,000 population restriction, or simply to be more in-line with neighboring county boards, the 7.5% reduction in the number of board districts is a good start. All board members will be representing populations of at least 20,000 under the new map. If the 24-district number is officially passed at the May 10th meeting, the start is an accomplishment and should be commended. I'll address the map itself and my observations, and another interesting one I read, in the next comment.

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