Councilman Sal DiCiccio will not let Ahwatukee Foothills be split apart when the Phoenix City Council decides the redistricting map on June 19.
DiCiccio was recently critical of Tony Sissons, president of Research Advisory Services, who was hired by the city of Phoenix as a consultant to the redistricting process. DiCiccio said Sissons proposed a map that would break Ahwatukee in half and the community would get run over.
“He was injecting politics into the process,” DiCiccio said, adding that residents did not support the Ahwatukee splitting map and that Sissons should not be an advocate while working for the city.
The council ruled that Sissons could not deviate more than 5 percent from the map approved by the Phoenix City Council.
The state of Arizona and the city of Phoenix require that district boundaries be adjusted every 10 years to balance out the population size of the districts. The process began in January. There was an initial round of public meetings in February and March, and a second round of meetings in April and May.
Deputy City Manager Lisa Takata said the city prevents the process from being political by making it completely interactive. This year, there was an online mapping tool available where citizens could draw their own lines and see how it affects the population counts.
“We have had hundreds and hundreds of public participants that came out to the meetings,” Takata said.
DiCiccio said Ahwatukee has always been an active community and that they have worked together to get things done for years.
“We push things that protect the neighborhood and stop things that hurt it,” DiCiccio said.
After the redistricting map is approved by the city, it will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Once approved, the new districts will be active for the City Council elections in August 2013.
• Milton Herman is a journalism student at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.