The Blanding City Council has come out in opposition to three preliminary proposals for redrawing the county-commission districts in San Juan County, Utah.
The proposals are the latest effort to come up with new commission districts following a federal judge’s decision last year that the three existing districts are unconstitutional because most of the county’s Navajo population is packed into just one district. The Navajo Nation had filed suit over the issue, saying that even though Navajos have a slim majority in the county’s population they can never get more than one representative on the commission. On November 16th, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby and an expert recently hired to redraw the districts held well-attended hearings on the proposals in Monticello and Bluff. But two days earlier, the Blanding City Council had unanimously approved a resolution opposing the proposals because all divide the city among different districts. The resolution states, “Any proposal that splits Blanding into multiple districts disenfranchises the citizens of our community and weakens their representation. . . .” The resolution suggests all three commissioners be elected at large or that the board be expanded to five members, with two chosen at large. The city council also complained that no hearing was held in Blanding, calling that unacceptable because the city will be “dramatically affected” by the redistricting.