local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs

 email us:
 arts and events


Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports


Idaho Conservation League



Gary Carr...The Carr Man!

Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

For the week of July 11 - July 17, 2001


County targeted in redistricting plan

Blaine’s Democratic clout could be vaporized

Express Staff Writer

Under a plan released Tuesday, Blaine County would be split in half for representation at the Idaho Legislature in 2003.

Indeed, the winds of change are blowing over Blaine County’s political landscape, ending a dialogue that, until now, had merely been speculation.

At a meeting in Boise on Tuesday afternoon, the Republican contingent of Idaho’s six-member, bipartisan redistricting commission presented a plan that would split Blaine County in half for representation at the Legislature, said Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, who attended the meeting.

Under the draft plan, which is the Republican commission members’ first choice, the top half of Blaine County ¾ including Ketchum, Sun Valley and Carey ¾ would be joined with Custer, Lemhi, Clark and Jefferson counties. The bottom half of Blaine County ¾ including Hailey, Bellevue and Picabo ¾ would remain with Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties.

For the past 10 years, all of Blaine County has been represented along with Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties as District 21.

"It violates Blaine County," Stennett said of the plan. "It was worse than I had anticipated. By splitting the county, it dilutes the county’s power.

"I guess it’s the Republicans’ idea of an assault on a Democratic base."

Tuesday was the first time the Republicans made the plan public. For weeks, however, Stennett has been warning that Republicans are gerrymandering redistricting plans to dilute Blaine County’s liberal base.

Stennett drew fire from Blaine County Republican Chairman Maurice Charlat for accusing Republicans of gerrymandering.

"If Blaine County ends up in a district with Salmon and Challis, it will not be because the Republicans put them there," Charlat wrote in a recent letter to the editor. "Redistricting should be done as a result of the census, not because of some back room deal."

Every 10 years, in the wake of the U.S. Census, the state undergoes redistricting. It is a reshuffling of political district boundaries aimed at giving all state residents equal representation in the Legislature. Each district is supposed to have roughly the same number of residents.

Idaho is divided into 35 legislative districts, each represented by one senator and two representatives. The Senate contains 32 Republicans and three Democrats. The House has 61 Republicans and nine Democrats.

The bipartisan redistricting commission has been meeting behind closed doors in Boise this summer to hammer out the new legislative districts. The commission has until Aug. 29 to complete the redistricting process.

"They are the only and final authority on redistricting," Legislative Services policy analyst Ross Borden said. Settling any appeals would be up to the Idaho Supreme Court, which could remand the reformed districts to the commission.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.