Friday, November 17, 2006

Donna Lohry's remarks to the Winnebago County Board

The Northwestern has declined to speak to this thus far so it is being posted here...

Text of Winnebago County Board Supervisor Donna Lohry¹s remarks to the
Winnebago County Board November 14, 2006, with regard to Resolution
112112006, Support Repeal of Recent Amendments to Section 59.10(2) and (3),
Wisconsin Statutes (County Board Redistricting).

Mr. Chairman, I¹d like to say a few words to the viewing audience. This is
a contentious issue, but given this law was conceived and birthed in
Winnebago County, I feel it is Winnebago County¹s duty to address the
frailties in it, as it now affects the entire state.

Our friends and neighbors can be commended for their diligent work in
gathering signatures calling for referendum. As a life-long advocate, I can
appreciate their dedication. However, this is an assault on County
Government, our most basic and personal form of democracy. It is County
Government to which we turrn when ills fall upon us.

Now to address this particular law and its shortcomings:

It uses a predetermined arbitrary number that seems to be neatly selected at
one half in order to meet the balance of constitutional law requirements of
one person-one vote. It is difficult to redistrict mid-census because whole
wards in existence at census time cannot be separated when trying to

This is another unfunded mandate which ignores the cost of manpower.
Approximately one month¹s salary for a cartographer plus County Clerk¹s
staff. Referendums can run as high as $4,000.

The Statute allowing the referendum for a cut in the county boards
completely neglects the fact that redistricting will once again occur in
2010 and more redistricting under the new law can occur as early as two
years after that in 2012.

The likely effect of this statute could result in a continuous folding of
rural town districts into districts populated by city residents, thus
minimizing town input in County Government, despite the fact that County
Government provides many services to town residents which are traditionally
provided to city residents by their City Government such as zoning, public
health, police protection, land and water services.

But most importantly there is no recourse to correct any error if a Board is
reduced and then found to be dysfunctional. There is no safety net until
the 2010 census.

For these reasons I ask passage of this resolution so the entire State can
evaluate and decide if this law is worthy to stay on the books. Small sized
government boards or councils do not appear to work any better than larger
ones that have more voices. Thank you.

The resolution to ask the State to repeal the law is at

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