The New Plan was just published and brings a fresh look to Commissioner Districts in Muskegon County.
Chris Kaijala, the Republican member of the Muskegon County Apportionment Commission has come out with a plan that changes the focus to "communities of interest". This plan allows the main cities in this county to have more of an identity instead of being cut up into many pieces by:
Working to contain as much of the cities into their own Districts as the rules will allow
This will allow each city to be represented more directly
For example,, Norton Shores is contained almost entirely in one district (D-4). Roosevelt Park has been in a district with the city of Muskegon Heights for the last 10 years and was in a district with the city of Muskegon for 10 years prior to that. This new plan would now have Roosevelt Park in D-4 with Norton Shores. However, every Plan must have equal numbers of population, so two small portions of Norton Shores would still need to be in adjacent districts. This plan closely follows the rules set by Michigan Act 261 of 1966.
Public comment has been strongly favoring the return to 11 districts. This has been soundly rejected by the Commission in an 4 to 1 vote where the Commission refused to allow any plan to be submitted for 11 districts, where as one Republican member voted against this measure and made a case for allowing 11 districts by expressing the county residents desired to see one because it would give greater representation to the more rural communities. This was ignored in 2010 when the current 9 district plan was adopted. The former D-9 Commissioner, Mahoney, also desired an 11 Commissioner Board so the communities in the north of the county would have better representation.
The 2021-9-5 plan reduces the overlap of Norton Shores and Roosevelt Park with the cities of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights . This will allow these communities to elect Commissioners more focused on each of their city's unique issues. And, this plan does not split the four cities south of the lake into many small parts like the 7- district plans do that are currently being offered by Democrat members of the commission. This disenfranchises parts of the cities of Laketon and Muskegon Township residents by shifting the voter balance to gain a partisan advantage to the Democrat party. This is not allowed in the law. Each community of interest needs to have a clear voice on the Board of County Commissioners. This 9 district plan reduces partisan issues by keeping communities together in their own districts as much as the rules allow.
There are two Republican plans that have been drawn up, 2021-9-5 and 2021-9-8 Both should be published on Wednesday October 6. Look over both plans carefully and make your comments known to the Commission by submitting them online here:
Then attend the Commission meting on Oct 7 at 11 AM in the Justice Hall and make a public comment.
You will make a difference!