JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After much deliberation and debating, Jacksonville City Council members made a final decision Friday on a redrawn redistricting map.
The Jacksonville City Council had to design a new map after local groups sued alleging the new district lines were considered based on race.
News4JAX spoke to a property appraiser about the newly drawn redistricting map, which is now being reviewed by a U.S. district judge.
District 14 Councilwoman Randy DeFoor was nearly in tears because of the decision. At the last minute, DeFoor changed her vote, and the council passed the map, which splits Riverside and Avondale into separate districts.
“Having them separated just doesn’t feel right. I just worry about whether or not they get the representation they deserve,” DeFoor said.
DeFoor said one of the main reasons she voted “yes” on the redrawn map was because of the insight she received from the Duval County property appraiser.
Jerry Holland said District 14, which traditionally included Riverside, Avondale and Ortega neighborhoods, has grown at such a fast pace, there was no choice but to rework its boundaries.
“It became so populated, we have to give a lot of it to District 10, and when you give that population, that District 10, had to turn that turnaround and give it someone and then try to pick up,” Holland said. “So, it was a balancing of District 14, District 10 and District 12. The numbers wouldn’t work where it would balance.”
Holland said while the population in District 14 has grown, some of the surrounding districts have decreased in population. The newly approved redistricting map awaits the final ruling by U.S. District Judge Marcia Howard, and many residents are waiting for that decision.
“I do think the judge should come back with a decision pretty soon. It may be as late as Nov. 18, but the judge knows that the supervisor of elections needs this information. The supervisor of elections has to send out voter registration cards and plan the precincts, so the judge can’t wait,” Holland said. “I think this map meets all the areas that the judge thought was egregious.”