The 21-member Cobb Legislative Delegation is scheduled to meet this afternoon to discuss the proposal.
Setzler said his map reflects several requests made by commissioners: It doesn’t activate until 2016 and it keeps the Mable House Arts Center in Commissioner Lisa Cupid’s District 4.
“As Commissioner Birrell, Commissioner Goreham and Commissioner Cupid specifically asked for, that’s all in District 4,” Setzler said.
Commissioners adopted a resolution last week in a 4-1 vote, with Bob Ott opposed, asking lawmakers not to redraw their district lines this year.
Birrell, Goreham, Cupid and county Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee said it would be confusing to voters to redraw the district boundaries with the May 20 primary looming.
The district seats held by Birrell and Goreham are up for election this year and therefore would not be affected by Setzler’s map. That map would only activate when the seats held by Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid are up in 2016, Setzler said.
One thing Setzler’s map doesn’t do is keep Birrell’s church, the Catholic Church of St. Ann on Roswell Road in east Cobb, within her district. That’s something she wanted. Birrell said there were some positive points about Setzler’s map and “maybe some not so positive things about it as far as how it affects District 3.”
One positive she noticed was that Mableton was not divided.
Birrell: Just kind of strange
As for the negative, “Well, it has District 3 going down to Smyrna, to the Smyrna line, all through Marietta down to Smyrna,” Birrell said.
The trouble with that, she said, is “it’s not northeast Cobb. Smyrna is south. I don’t have anything against Smyrna, I’m just saying geographically it takes me from north at the Cherokee line all the way down to Dobbins and Smyrna, which is just kind of strange, and over to Delk Road.”
Ott said Monday afternoon he hadn’t yet seen Setzler’s map.
“As I’ve said before it’s a legislative role and I’ll represent whoever they tell me to represent,” Ott said.
Setzler needs seven other Cobb state representatives to sign his map and four Cobb state senators for it to pass.
Setzler said it’s the Legislature’s legal obligation to apportion the school board and commission districts. In 2012, the delegation adopted a new map for the Cobb Board of Education.
“We had a Board of Commissioners’ map pass the House, had all the requisite signatures in the Senate, and because of the unfortunate nature of our 40-day session got caught up in the last day and just didn’t have time to get it passed,” Setzler said. “Unfortunately it didn’t get passed in 2012, a court had to step in and draw a map that would have applied in the 2012 cycle, and in that court opinion restated our responsibility to do that and the map was just going to be in effect until the Legislature got it done.”
Setzler’s map is similar to the existing one in that District 1 is still west Cobb, District 2 is east Cobb and Smyrna, District 3 is north Cobb and parts of Marietta and District 4 is Austell, Powder Springs, south Cobb and parts of Smyrna, he said.
“I think in drawing this map we’re keeping those same basics in place, but I think we’re doing a more effective job of drawing what citizens would expect in the east Cobb district, the north district, the west Cobb district and the south Cobb district,” Setzler said. “They’re doing it I think more effectively than the courts did and in a way that’s done by elected officials not by a court as a stop gap.”
Each district has about 172,000 people.
“Historically, districts have to be plus or minus 5 percent (in population deviation),” Setzler said. “We in the last several years have tried to keep things under 1 percent. These maps are less than four-tenths of 1 percent deviation so it’s very tight deviation.”
Commissioner Helen Goreham has accused Ott of trying to have a “designer district” but Setzler disputed that notion.
“I do think it’s important that people recognize this is a legislative responsibility, and I can tell you from listening to other members we’re not interested in providing designer districts for members,” Setzler said. “We want to do what we think makes sense and honorably represents our county, and I think that’s what we’ve done.”
The delegation is scheduled to meet in Room 123 of the Capitol at 4 p.m. today.