For years, the Colorado Springs City Council has included four representatives elected from specific districts and four members elected at-large or on a citywide basis.
Voters on Tuesday decided add two new districts to the map. When the change takes effect in 2013, the nine-member council will feature six district representatives and just three at-large representatives.
Experts say the change is a victory for neighborhoods. By anchoring councilmembers to specific districts, it ensures accountability.
And be creating more districts, each representative has fewer constituents. That gives folks greater access to their individual council representative.
Some warn the change could lead to more parochial fights on the Council. Representatives of older, established neighborhoods, for example, might find themselves pitted against newer, faster growing suburan neighborhoods with different infrastructure needs.
Some are especially excited because the change creates the potential for the city’s first “majority minority” district — a place where Hispanics, blacks and other minority residents outnumber whites.
Prior to the 2013 vote, the map above will be redrawn to carve out the new districts. The racially diverse south and southeast areas of the city could find themselves with their own seat on council.
“Symbolically, it would be quite significant,” said Josh Dunn, a political science professor at the University of Colorado’s campus here. “It would be a positive development if it creates a sense the council really is more representative of all peoples’ interests.”
Here’s a story the Gazette’s excellent political reporter Daniel Chacon wrote prior to the election.