COMMISSION ADOPTS REDISTRICTING PLAN, REDRAWS BOUNDARY LINES

COMMISSION ADOPTS REDISTRICTING PLAN, REDRAWS BOUNDARY LINES

Urban and rural residents of Doña Ana County will no longer have to compete with one another for their commissioner’s attention.
Following a state-mandated directive to redraw all five commission districts to align populations within each, the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners approved a plan Tuesday by which a large portion of the City of Las Cruces will become an independent district and the rest of the county will be divided into primarily rural quadrants.
Commission Chairman Gilbert T. Apodaca (District 5) and Commissioners Paul B. Curry (District 3) and D. Kent Evans (District 4) voted in favor of the new district alignments, while Commissioners Carlos E. Garza (District 1) and Arturo C. Terrazas (District 2) voted against.
Apodaca, Curry and Evans said they believe the “innovative new alignments” represent a “new approach” that will allow the county to more effectively distribute road allotments, because a centralized District 5 will no longer require substantial road funding. They also argued that communities with similar concerns (agricultural, socioeconomic, growth-intensive, etc.) are better grouped within the new district lines, which will allow the commissioner representing each new district to have a more cohesive set of priorities and goals.
Apodaca, Curry and Evans argued that, under the old district configuration, four districts had significant populations within the City of Las Cruces, which resulted in urban/rural competition for the four affected commissioners. The new alignment, they argued, will allow each commissioner to more effectively represent the residents within his/her district while keeping a county-wide perspective on big issues, which Commissioner Evans called “the key to any successful redistricting plan.”
Apodaca said that he hated to lose the communities of Salem, Garfield and Hatch in the new alignments, but he said he fundamentally believed that a geographically smaller District 5 that focused on Las Cruces was in the best interests of the county as a whole.
Garza argued against the new plan, saying his new district is geographically so large that it will take a “Superman of a commissioner” to adequately represent the residents, but he promised to do his best to accommodate the challenge. Terrazas, who picked up the community of Chaparral in addition to the fast-growing Santa Teresa and Sunland Park areas, sided with Garza.
The new and old district maps, along with demographic breakdown charts and information related to voting precinct changes, are on display in the Grand Lobby of the Doña Ana County Manager’s Complex at 180 W. Amador Ave., in Las Cruces.
For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.