JAMESTOWN – New district boundary lines for the Chautauqua County Legislature could be approved by late this afternoon. The legislature is having a special meeting this afternoon to take action on several items, including two separate reapportionment plans that would reduce the size of the legislature to 19 and significantly redraw boundary lines. One of the plans was designed in a special reapportionment commission, while the other comes from legislature majority leader and commission member Larry Barmore (R-Gerry).
The “Barmore plan” – as it has been called by some – has been criticized for favoring the republican party by reducing the number of districts with populations in urban areas, which often elect a democrat over a republican. However, Barmore says if anything, it is the plan favored by legisator Tom DeJoe (D-Brocton) – who also sat on the commission – that is the more partisan of the two.
“Basically Jamestown is big enough for four districts and the remainder, and the remainder is anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 residents. The bottom line is, the plan DeJoe favors protecting the seat of every sitting democratic legislator, while the plan I favor shares the pain 50/50 down the middle.”
Barmore adds that during today’s vote on the plans, he’s asked that the plan favored by DeJoe and his fellow democrats be acted on first, followed by the plan he’s submitted for a vote.
“I have 13 solid votes and I’ve asked [Legislature Chairman] Mr. Gould to present the one I don’t favor first, so that people who support that plan – once it is no longer on the table – will come over and support the second plan. That way may see more than a 14 to 11 or 13 to 12 vote.”
Barmore made his comments during last week’s community matters program here on WRFA. A podcast of that show can be found at our Community Matters page. Today’s vote by the legislature on the reapportionment plan take place this afternoon during a special meeting that begins at 2 p.m. A public hearing on the plans will take place prior to the vote.