EDITORíS DESK: New council, future lines

       Out with the old, in with the new. That was definitely the case in the City Council election, with no incumbents retaining office. From the Westside Pioneer's little peephole on the world, it seems to be a healthy change. It was particularly refreshing to hear newly elected Keith King say he will strive for a council that "works with the mayor and works together." That sounds almost too obvious, but the fact is, this last council behaved at times like a wagon pulled by horses that were running in different directions - and even when a majority could be reached, the votes on certain flashpoint issues seemed to support special interests rather than the good of the city as a whole.
       A recent example, as reported on Page 1, is the ordinance creating a citzen advisory committee for the next council-district election. At first glance, the committee appears to be a community-spirited effort to make sure that everyone gets a say in how the districts are drawn. But I cannot help a skeptic's point of view, and I was surprised that the outgoing councilmembers did not do the same, especially since they are handing off this political football to a council three years from now that they (or at least most of them) will not be a part of. Let's start with the biggest "elephant in the room" - the implication by committee- supporting individuals that in some unstated way minorities did not get a fair shake this time around. There's even the wish that the lines be redrawn so as to create a district with enough minorities to theoretically elect a minority councilmember. Now I wasn't born yesterday, so I understand the longstanding pain behind such thinking. Also, in fairness, the city clerk was pretty rigid on any changes leading into this election. But it offends my sensibilities that here in the 21st century we as a city should be encouraging what amounts to a racist mindset (even if the recent national election indicates that such thinking is prevalent). Should not our leaders instead be seeking ways to lead us out of that morass - to a higher level where the quest is expanded opportunities for everyone? Unfortunately, this committee has too much potential to bury us even deeper into a situation where yes, lines are drawn... but the effect is to divide the community, not unite it.

- K.J.