WKRG News 5

Mobile City Council approves redistricting map in 6 to 1 vote

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Fast-approaching a deadline to decide, the Mobile City Council approved a redistricting map in a 6 to 1 vote Tuesday. Out of three proposals, the Council settled on the map created by District 4 Councilman Ben Reynolds and District 1 Councilman Cory Penn.

The approved map is similar to a map proposed by Stand-Up Mobile, which increased District 7 to a 53% majority Black community. Stand-Up Mobile’s Beverly Cooper said she is disappointed that the community map her organization proposed was not approved. But, Cooper said, her primary concern was making sure District 7 was a 53% majority Black community.

The original map that was proposed was created by Mayor Sandy Stimpson and had only a 51% majority Black community in District 7. Some councilmembers said the percentage should be higher.

District 7 Councilwoman Gina Gregory was the only member to vote against the new map.

“I’ve got to say that if I was getting involved in redrawing lines in other districts of my councilmembers and negotiating these different maps without even the courtesy of a phone call, a meeting, I can only imagine what the reaction would be,” said Gregory.

The approved redistricting map for Mobile.

Other councilmembers said the new map was the best option available.

“The third map gives us just a little bit over 53% and so that’s the reason as to why I will be supporting the compromised map,” said City Council President C.J. Smalls, who represents District 2. “Another reason I am going to be supporting it is because one of my colleagues in District 6 lost two communities that supported him and with this compromise map, he gets those two communities back.”

City Council struggled to arrive at the decision. Council last took up the issue on Aug. 2, a week away from the deadline to decide on the new map. Had Council not approved a map Tuesday, Stimpson’s proposal would have become the new map.

Stimpson proposed his map in February, calling it “a collaborative effort after meeting individually with each city councilman and listening to the public.” Stand-Up Mobile opposed Stimpson’s proposal, offering their own map.