City Council Cuts Columbia Wards

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COLUMBIA - One-man-one-vote or political gerrymandering?  The Columbia City Council passed Trial E with a 6-1 vote Monday evening.

The new political boundaries move the western border of the First Ward from Clinkscales Road near West Junior High School to Silvey Street, west of Hy Vee and Walmart. Columbia Mall will now be in the Second Ward as will a portion of Park De Ville Neighborhood.

President of Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association Kip Kendrick said Trial E was the least disruptive way to reapportion Columbia. After the 2010 census data was released, officials noticed the growing and shifting Columbia population. The only plausible thing was to extend some boundary lines and shorten others.

Kendrick says some of the wards-- specifically wards 2 and 5-- were growing too quickly, while others-- wards 1 and 4-- were growing too slowly. He said the project goal was about 18,000 people per ward.

Fifth ward councilwoman Helen Anthony said citizen involvement was crucial to the city council passing Trial E. She said citizens were vocal about what they wanted, and although Monday's meeting lasted about two hours, it made the process go smoothly overall.