Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More on redistricting

Well, it's back to the drawing board for Loudoun's redistricting. The population estimates were way off - the actual Census data shows that the county underestimated by 22,000 - and, as Supervisor Miller's analysis shows, some areas were really off (like the Dulles District, which actually had 81,409 people, instead of 71,192 as estimated).

He's rather helpfully pulled some data from the Census's new American FactFinder, which is an accomplishment in itself (the tool is difficult to use, and I say that as a former Federal agency webmaster who has seen my fair share of user-unfriendly government applications). Go check out his blog for more info.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Petition for no street parking on Regal Wood

Brambleton residents, I'd like to call your attention to a petition started by becca and el8 (husband-and-wife superduo who run the Brambletonian): No Street Parking on Regal Wood Drive between Olympia and Vickery Park. If you live here, you know that Regal Wood Drive is often nearly impassable, due to a combination of poor design, people who park illegally near corners, lack of stop signs at Cartier, and the fact that some of the legal spots dangerously block people getting out of their driveways. Throw in some snow, garbage cans, and inconsiderate people who park their Canyoneros two feet from the curb, and it makes for one congested street.

Here's the Brambletonian thread discussing the petition, including some back-and-forth between residents of Regal Wood who support the petition, and one who opposes it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NO to "The Miller Plan"

Redistricting is coming. Census results were fast-tracked to Virginia and three other states that have elections this year. Loudoun County's estimates were off, and now there's a scramble to come up with workable plans. For an overview of the issues involved, I'd recommend this blog entry from Stevens Miller, our Dulles District Supervisor. Be sure to read the comments. I wrote that Route 659 should NOT be used as a divider. Miller responded:

I don’t want to draw any lines through neighborhoods that naturally identify themselves as a community. That’s going to be tough, though, even if we split precincts. My back-up plan is to try to draw the two districts on either side of any such line so as to include two communities that not only have common interests within themselves, but will tend to have common interests with each other. If we can do that, both districts will actually gain strength on the board, because their common interests should motivate two supervisors to vote in support of those interests instead of just one.

So, life got busy and I never got to sit down and look at the nitty-gritty details of how what I wanted would jibe with the bigger issues for the county to consider (even though I wanted to, wonk wonk). And last night, when I read Brambleton's Friday Flash, I was surprised:

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (hereinafter LoCo BoS) have begun the process of redistricting election precincts. Supervisor Miller has proposed a plan that divides Brambleton into 3 separate election districts. This plan is in conflict with the very guidelines that the LoCo BoS adopted and is not in the best interest of the community. Once adopted, the election districts will be set for the next 10 years.

The Brambleton Community Association Board of Directors has expressed their concerns to the LoCo BoS and requested that they revise Supervisor Miller's plan to include Brambleton within one election district. BCA Board strongly encourages Brambleton residents to become current with this ever changing issue and promptly communicate any concerns that you may have to the LoCo BoS. You can also add your name to the Petition opposing the redistricting plan on the intranet by going to RESOURCES>E-FORMS>ELECTION REDISTRICTING PETITION.

Three separate districts???

Here's "The Miller Plan" and here's what Stevens Miller has to say about it.

Under this plan, the west side of Brambleton (north and south of Ryan Road) would be in a district that includes Middleburg, Round Hill, Purcellville, all the way west to the county border. Uh, NO. What about "communities of interest"?? Their issues are NOT our issues. Meanwhile, the east side of Brambleton south of Ryan would be in a district with South Riding, Dulles Airport, and Loudoun Valley Estates; the "water tower district" north of Ryan and east of BRR would be in a non-contiguous district with some other parts of Ashburn.

I personally find this plan to be unacceptable. For Brambleton, it is worse than any of the nine original staff plans that were floated for discussion. Following Miller's argument, if this plan were to be adopted, we'd have three supervisors championing our needs, right? I doubt it. We are going to get the shaft politically, just like we seem to be headed for a future shafting with high school boundaries. (Jury's still out on that one, but I'll let you know in 11 years when my kids are either walking to Briar Woods or getting on the bus to LVE. Meanwhile, post-Miller-Plan, what do you think will happen the next time they try to kick the west side of Brambleton out of Legacy ES? Someone will say, "They're not even in the same district!")

So what to do if you agree? First, sign Brambleton's petition on the intranet. Second, let Stevens Miller and the BoS know how you feel. Third, have a look at Loudoun County's Redistricting page. The Board will be discussing redistricting at its February 15 meeting and will be taking citizen input at its March 7 public hearing. If you really want to get involved, make your own plan. See the "Alternative District Scenarios/Plans" section of the county's redistricting page for details.

Remember, whatever happens, we're stuck with it for the next 10 years.