JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A federal judge has rejected Jacksonville City Council’s redistricting map once again and ordered the city to use a proposed plan brought forth by several plaintiffs.
The court says it chose one of the plaintiff’s plans because it follows the basis advocated by the city council, requested by the public and does not violate any other constitutional or statutory requirements.
“Our map moved the city forward and not backwards. Its advanced fair representation did not constrain it," Northside Coalition of Jacksonville founder Ben Frazier said.
U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Morales Howard, sided with the plaintiff’s: Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP, the Northside Coalition, Florida Rising, ACLU of Florida Northeast Chapter, and 10 Jacksonville voters. Northside Coalition President Ben Frazier says their map ensures fair representation.
“This is about service to the northwest quadrant and the people who lived there for so long. They've been underserved and marginalized," Frazier said.
According to the latest judge’s order, the plaintiff’s plan includes: Uniting Chimney Lakes and Argyle Forest and not dividing Springfield or Downtown, keeping the Woodstock and surrounding neighborhoods together in District 9, and addressing the illogical shapes of districts 9, 10, and 14 by improving accountability of elected representatives, and voter access.
City Councilman Matt Carlucci says the city’s map was too partisan and didn’t make the changes it needed. He agrees with the judge’s decision.
"The plaintiff's map seems to be less partisan, and seems to reflect more of who Jacksonville is as a city now, compared to where we were maybe 10 years ago, 20 years ago," said Carlucci.
However, Councilman Diamond disagrees and in a statement on Twitter, says: “I fully support an appeal of Judge Howard’s Order to the 11th circuit. We don’t be using the Plaintiff’s map.”
Carlucci says the city council can appeal, but he won’t support it.
“I wouldn't vote to appeal unless something really changes my mind is some changes my mind," Carlucci said.
Frazier says this map will have an impact on the entire community.
“It's going to change who gets elected. It's going to change what burns get allocated. It's going to change what roads get paved. But streetlights go up, what sidewalks get paid. It's going to have a tremendous impact," Frazier said.
City Council President Terrance Freeman also issued a statement tonight, he says he is confident in the work done by the city council to craft a constitutional map and says the council will get guidance from city attorneys to make decisions on the next step.