• December 19, 2014

Ex-mayors join discussion on changing city charter

Single-member district government issue leads talks at final public hearing on amendments

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 4:30 am

The issue of changing the single-member district government of Killeen brought two former mayors to testify in City Hall on Tuesday, during the last of four public hearings on proposed amendments to the city charter.

Former Mayor Timothy Hancock and former Mayor Raul Villaronga disagreed on whether the city should continue to have four single-member districts or whether all council members should be elected by citywide vote.

Although the issue is not on the council’s current ballot proposal, in the four months of council review and four public hearings this month, it has taken up more discussion than any other issue.

The council plans to find a consensus on a final ballot at its Tuesday workshop. It must approve a ballot by Feb. 12 for approval by the U.S Department of Justice for a May 11 election.

Of the two visiting mayors, Hancock most closely echoed current Mayor Dan Corbin’s outspoken opinion that placing the issue on the ballot gives voters the power to choose, not the council.

“Citizens deserve the right to vote,” Hancock said. “It’s not going to hurt to put it on the ballot.”

The ballot initiative has received much criticism, primarily from representatives of local minority groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the League of United Latin American Citizens, because it was thought to enable the disenfranchisement of minorities in the city.

Single-member district council members are thought to better address the issues of residents living in a specific area of the city.

Hancock, an African-American, said there is no one minority district in the city. “We do not have a district with a minority, just one broad population of mixed minority citizens,” Hancock said.

Villaronga is opposed to placing the initiative on the ballot. He said the local chapters of NAACP and LULAC, of which he is president, spent 12 years developing the plan to put single-member districts in place.

“We worked and we politicked because we wanted our representatives to be elected by the people who live in their district,” Villaronga said.“I want to be able to vote for the person that lives in my district, not someone on the other side of town.”

He also said that, at some point, the city should consider an all-district council.

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2 comments:

  • Viktor posted at 4:41 pm on Fri, Jan 25, 2013.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    Sounds like a plan. Most residents in Killeen aren't enthusiastic about voting in city elections. Putting it on the ballot won't hurt those wanting the changes since voter turn out is low anyway. Folks that like to run the show in this city count on Killeen being asleep at the wheel to make the changes they like.

     
  • Eliza posted at 8:55 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 896

    @

    Hancock, an African-American, said there is no one minority district in the city. “We do not have a district with a minority, just one broad population of mixed minority citizens,” Hancock said.-----

    Villaronga is opposed to placing the initiative on the ballot. He said the local chapters of NAACP and LULAC, of which he is president, spent 12 years developing the plan to put single-member districts in place.
    “We worked and we politicked because we wanted our representatives to be elected by the people who live in their district,” Villaronga said.“I want to be able to vote for the person that lives in my district, not someone on the other side of town.”
    He also said that, at some point, the city should consider an all-district council.
    -------

    I who believe in equal opportunity for all, have read and re-read the KDH article along with the inclusions above in particular.

    I believe that I will have to agree with Mr Hancock's thoughts and believe that he is wanting what is the fair and I believe probably the legal thing for all, who would be concerned and involved in the process of city council elections.

    When the rights for all to vote were made into federal law,Not included was any mention that if you didn't live in a certain area of a city would you not be able to vote. It was only stated All would have Equal treatment at the polls.

    Now we are to believe and accept, that there is a preference to be shown for some and a special privilege for a few. Its really unacceptable ,or should be to the people,especially so to the ones living in the districts who aren't receiving they're full rights as United States voters.

    The names of organizations have been thrown in as if that should be a reason that what I believe is the legal voters true rights, should be overlooked ,because some members of Killeen city government at one time, ' politicked ' to get it done so.

    If that was done then those people weren't doing the work of the people as a whole,and some would think they were looking out for 'special interest groups'.
    In other words,I feel the voter may have been taken advantage of. --- Its hard to believe that ALL citizens living in what became districts, thought and believed in the same manner and wanted to be disallowed the right to vote city wide or be confined to 'a district'.

    Are citizens told about this situation if they wanted to buy a house in the ditrict area,

    that their voting rights will be confined in city elections ? They won't be allowed city wide voting rights .

    Mr Hancock has the correct idea, We are suppose to work as one and as a whole since all moneys to pay the bills of the city, are coming from the entire ,tax paying members of that city.
    We don't live or run the city as in some 3rd world fashion by dividing the people of the city.

    The only manner in which to make this into the American Way is to allow all who want to vote on the subject of districts and city wide voting, is to have it on the ballot for the voters to vote on.
    If districts are voted to stay in or not, if voting for any member whose running in a city election is to be allowed or not,so be it,

    the people and voters as a whole would have spoken, not just special interest groups.