LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Police Jurors have adopted their proposed redistricting plan. It's a plan likely to satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Department of Justice. It's a plan that at least one resident feels short changes moss bluff.
It was last month when the proposed new districts were unveiled to Calcasieu Police Jurors. They've held public hearings and at this meeting jurors prepared to finalize their plan for newly drawn fifteen single member districts. The ideal number for each district is 12,851 people-- but with the population of Moss Bluff concerned citizen Paul Swain says they should have a second police jury district comprised mostly of moss bluff residents. "Having 20,000 people with four jurors and only one real solid vote, that just doesn't sit well with me in my spirit, you know. You have to do what the folks who vote for you ask you to do and if 75% of the people who put you where you are live outside of my community, I am outnumbered."
Right now Shannon Spell is the only juror with a solid Moss Bluff District. While they did look at that possibility, attorney Cade Cole says to create a second Moss Bluff police jury district would likely dilute minority voting strength in some districts which is not acceptable to the U.S. Justice Department. "The principal fact is the Voting Rights Act requires us to use all of our minority precincts to make our minority districts effective. The math was just not there. It did not work and I know we talked, if the growth continues to occur in the Moss Bluff Community, ten years down the road there could be a different set of circumstances."
Besides, as Juror Chris Landry was quick to point out, though elected from single member districts, each represents Calcasieu Parish as a whole. "Whenever we all got sworn in to office, we got sworn in to represent the people of Calcasieu Parish, not just the people of our district."
The plan will now be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice in order to be approved in time for the October 22nd election.
Also, administrator Bryan Beam praised state legislators for their efforts this week to keep Calcasieu Parish from being cut in half between two congressional districts.