The redistricting of our county from 3 to 5 districts will impact our politics for perhaps decades. We are not sure, but think the current 3 districts were created about 1948 - almost 70 years ago. I do know from what I was told by port commissioners almost 40 years ago that they were originally set to give each port district a piece of the waterfront. Over time with population growth and changes, the three districts pinched in on Meridian Street in Bellingham. Far from being gerrymandered, they were quite satisfactory to liberals and conservatives for decades. It was only last spring that some decided for political reasons to suddenly discover that they were supposedly unfair. Regardless, we are now about to create 5 districts and, if done right, they may serve us better in the future. But they need to be done fairly.
Here are the versions prepared by the Districting Master, Dr. Tjalling Ypma for today's Districting Committee meeting at 12 noon in the county council chamber. They are versions E and F, with a county wide view of each and a zoomed in view of the immediate area around Bellingham of each. There is one at the top of this article, and three at the bottom. But for real study, there are four pdf files which allow expanding to full computer screen for study.
Ralph Schwartz has said he will be covering today's meeting and hopes to post his report tonight or Tuesday. He, like the rest of us, depends on a job to make a living and we do this in our free time.
After today's meeting, there will be a couple weeks break and then probably a public hearing in early April on whatever the committee decides today to put forward. After that - we are not sure. Maybe a second public hearing, maybe a couple committee meetings and agreement on a new districting plan for our county. Or deadlock and then the issue goes to the council or courts, as opinions differ on this.