Lisa Cupid issues statements on Cobb County cityhood movement and redistricting

Cobb BOC Chairwoman Lisa Cupid at lectern during her second swearing-in ceremonyCobb Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid at her second swearing-in as District 4 commissioner (Photo: Cobb County Courier/Larry Felton Johnson)

Chairwoman Lisa Cupid of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners issued the following statements on the movements to form new cities in the county, and on the redistricting maps proposed for Cobb County:

Cupid’s statement on the cityhood efforts

Four cityhood efforts have been underway that include Mableton, East Cobb, Lost Mountain, and Vinings.

The county understood that some of these initiatives could appear on the ballot in November. We have been communicating with a consultant on providing impact analyses.

During this legislative season, it now appears cityhood measures will now appear on May ballots. The impact analyses cannot be completed by the May primary, so I and staff will be much more active in assessing our impact internally and in educating citizens, both in city limits and outside, about the financial impact in Cobb.

As a former community advocate, I am not here to thwart efforts towards determining the future of one’s community. As chairwoman of the county, I am here to ensure some sense of transparency and to better educate Cobb Citizens, more broadly, about how cityhood can impact all here.

Recognizably, time is of the essence with this likely being on the ballot in May and considering how historically, there is marginal voter turnout in May primaries. This means that very few can be determining the outcome for many with a significant impact on Cobb as we know it today.

Cupid’s statement on redistricting

With respect to redistricting, this process is now underway and occurs every 10 years when a new census is taken. As the population changes, the representation of the population is rebalanced so that there is roughly the same population in each area of representation.

Cobb County is growing, and thus lines of representation are shifting for the U.S. House of Representatives, our School Board, and our Board of Commissioners.

Redistricting is a state process, not a local process. State leaders do not have to consult leaders that represent locally on the Board of Commissioners, School Board, or House of Representatives.

Nonetheless, we have had the courtesy provided of the head of the local delegation, Representative Erick Allen, to consult with each district commissioner about the new map. In taking input into consideration, Representative Allen presented a map that slightly altered the maps in place from the last census, and that balanced the populations across all 4 commission districts.

There was concern that one district would fall under 50% republican with Allen’s new map. Thus he worked with her to try to present a map she desired, but unfortunately, the population could not be balanced with that new map.

Just yesterday Representative Carson drew a new map significantly shifting districts 2 and 3 as we know them today. His map drew Commissioner Richardson out of her district seat and placed her in the same district as Commissioner Birrell. Although Richardson recently moved further north in her district, Carson’s proposed map would have cut Richardson out of the map even if she resided at her former address.

District Commissioners must live in the district that they represent. His iteration of the map occurred without communication to the full Board of Commissioners. It is unclear to me if he consulted with the local state delegation regarding his proposed map.

Our local newspaper provided that Carson’s map was redrawn to retain the current 3:2 balance of Democrats and Republicans on the Board of Commissioners.

While this is an allowable political goal, I am unsure it best represents our citizens on local matters which should not be partisan. No pothole is seeking an R or D for resolution. 

His map certainly undermines the respectfulness of elected leadership of this county when it fully draws someone out of an area that they have been elected to represent. It also furthers political polarization when districts must be drawn that are either Republican or Democrat and not a combination of both which can result in balanced thought within the leaders that represent them.

In the days ahead, please expect to see more to come, locally, on the matters of redistricting and cityhood. Please feel free to consult your elected state representatives that are making these decisions, as they represent you whether or not you are in a proposed city or in a shifting district.