by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com or hdawkins@supertalk.fm

PASS CHRISTIAN (GG) — Last Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at the recent Pass Christian Board of Aldermen meeting, four maps from the Gulf Regional Planning Commission were presented before the meeting by Mayor Jimmy Rafferty to the board and the general public.  After lengthy deliberation about each map, the legal revised map offered by Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball was adopted by a 4-1 roll call vote from his suggestion.

The City of Pass Christian is required to conduct a Redistricting Map of its voting Wards under the 2020 U.S. Census to meet the requirements of the Federal Voting Rights Act and the United States Constitution.  The last Redistricting exercise was conducted after Hurricane Katrina. The population in the City of Pass Christian has grown at a different pace in its four Wards.

The Board of Alderpersons and the Mayor have been working on the Redistricting of Pass Christian’s voting Wards since December of 2023.

According to Mayor Rafferty, he arranged for each Alderperson to meet with a representative from the Gulf Regional Planning Commission to provide input into the redistricting map that will be in effect for the next 10 years. This ensured that each Ward has approximately 1,422 people and this exercise ensured that diversity in the Wards is not negatively impacted.

The Board of Alderpersons will ratify the ordinance at their July 2, 2024 meeting.

Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball had the original discussion on whether this was a legal requirement by law.  After having six facts answered, Kimball met with the Gulf Planning Commission remotely to redraw the district map.

“The redistricting map I choose accomplished two objectives:  1. The least impactful to the citizens  2. Follows the law regarding even apportionment of wards,” stated Alderman Kimball. “Now we know we must follow the law
and the Board of Alderman needs legal documentation in a timely matter in order to make informed decisions. Variance is great because placing this is to big of a burden on the citizen.”

“This Redistricting initiative was a collaborative effort on the part of each Alderperson, the Mayor and the City Attorney who obtained expert legal advice to ensure that we are doing this correctly,” expressed Mayor Rafferty.

According to state officials, no public hearing nor notifications of the residents is a mandatory requirement, but the new map will go into effect 30 days after the July 2 meeting that ratifies the map.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Betty Douglass Sparkman was the only dissenting vote in the adopted map.

Front Photo:  L-R: Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty, Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball, and Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich discuss the reappotionment maps that were presented at the June 18, 2024 Board of Aldermen meeting in the Pass Christian Municipal Court. Photo by Hunter Dawkins/GG via AP.

Inside Photo:  Legal Revised Proposal that was approved