OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — What seemed to some observers to be negotiations between the three Oklahoma County Commissioners Monday over district maps for redistricting turns out to have been just a discussion or trial run of ideas.
The three maps that commissioners will vote on in a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners Thursday have all been submitted perhaps with the Monday discussion in mind but not tied to anything that may have seemed to be an agreement.
You can inspect the maps submitted by each commissioner at the bottom.
Contention over The Village
Specifically, which district to put The City of the Village in has been a contentious topic. The Village covers a little over 2.5 square miles east of Lake Hefner in the north metro.
Currently, The Village is in District 3 that covers the northern parts of the county with Kevin Calvey as the commissioner.
And, Cathy Cummings, who is a restauranteur with her husband Sean, is one of the City Councilors for The Village. She has declared that she is going to run for the District 3 seat.
However, when the map compiled by legislative staff was revealed for the BoCC meeting Monday, The Village appeared in District 1 effectively eliminating Cummings from running in District 3 unless she moved into it.
From the discussion of the three commissioners Monday, some in the county thought that the agreement was to keep The Village in District 3 in the redrawing of district lines.
But, when the agenda went live on Tuesday, maps submitted by Commissioners Calvey and Maughan each had The Village in District 1. Only the map of Commissioner Carrie Blumert had a configuration that would keep The Village in District 3.
The concern raised by messages to Free Press was that since Maughan and Calvey often vote in tandem as a block on the BoCC, it seemed likely that Cummings would not be able to run in District 3.
Cathy Cummings told Free Press that she thought the agreement Monday among commissioners was that The Village would be in District 3.
“I don’t know how anyone could have interpreted this meeting any other way!” said Cummings. “And, the Commissioners did not see fit to explain it to anybody?”
She continued, “If the Village is removed from D-3 on Thursday, knowing full well I am running for D-3, this will be the most flagrant gerrymandering I have ever heard of in my entire life!”
But, when Free Press contacted District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan about the issue, he directed us to comments he made to TV news outlets after Monday’s meeting. He told them that the decision would be focused on balancing population and lane miles to be maintained.
He said that this has been the most open process for county redistricting “in history” and that in years past commissioners only had the option of choosing between three options placed in front of them by researchers. He said that this year, technology allowed them to see different options in real-time.
Different than city councilors
Oklahoma County is divided into three districts (in earlier days called “road districts”) that each of the three commissioners is responsible for managing. Each commissioner is responsible for the upkeep of roads, bridges, and county buildings in their district and are given day-to-day management of the budget and crews that maintain their district.
Being a commissioner is a full-time job with full-time pay. Unlike city council members who make policy decisions for the city manager to carry out, county commissioners literally run the county.
When you vote for a county commissioner you are voting to hire them as one of the full-time county managers.
The three together as the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) make business and policy decisions that concern the county as a whole.
And, every ten years the BoCC is responsible for carrying out the redistricting in the county according to the latest Census.
That’s how we got to this week.
Three maps up for a vote Thursday
Submitted by District 1 Commissioner Carrie BlumertCommissioner-Blumert-Proposed-Map
Submitted by District 2 Commissioner Brian MaughanCommissioner-Maughan-Proposed-Map
Submitted by District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey and very close to the legislative staff mapCommissioner-Calvey-Proposed-Map
Update — This report has been updated by removing the confusing numbering system for each commissioner’s map after commissioners edited the agenda to remove the numbering system early Wednesday morning. The maps on the Oklahoma County website now clearly, simply list which map is submitted by each commissioner.
Last Updated November 17, 2021, 8:02 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor