Editorial roundup: Views from around Georgia

Valdosta Daily Times: Gerrymandering hypocritical, undemocratic

Redistricting should be 100% nonpartisan.

The very partisans who complain about what they call rigged, or stolen, elections seem to be completely OK with gerrymandering. How much sense does that make?

It doesn’t matter whether it is done by Republicans or Democrats, manipulating voting districts to favor a political party is antithetical to open, free and fair elections.

The patchwork of willy-nilly redistricting laws and processes across the nation favor whichever party happens to be in power every 10 years when redistricting takes place following the U.S. Census.

Partisan districting undermines the entire electoral process and the damage done cannot be undone for a decade.

Quite simply, voting district lines should be based on math and geography and little else.

Commissions tasked with drawing voting districts in states should never be made up of self-interested, sitting elected officials, lobbyists, party loyalists, donors or operatives. All conflicts of interest should be avoided at all costs.

Those panels should be diverse and representative.

Packing redistricting panels with elected officials disproportionately favoring the party in power is simply undemocratic.

When maps are drawn they need to make sense and, at the very least, a district should be completely contiguous.

Public input is a must if there is going to be public trust.

There must always be adequate public notice of all redistricting meetings and deliberations and those meetings must be easily accessible to the general public.

The U.S. Congress should pass comprehensive redistricting reform that only allows for completely independent, nonpartisan commissions and that guarantees a completely transparent, open public process.

Short of that, lawmakers in our state should realize it is disingenuous, if not completely hypocritical, to cry about rigged or stolen elections and then turn around and rig voting districts for the next 10 years.

Brunswick News: State lawmakers must address rise in violent crime

Georgia lawmakers will hopefully put as much energy and effort into protecting the public from criminals as they are now in protecting their own political lives with redistricting. Violent crime across the state is up, and it is still rising.

Just this week a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head while standing at a school bus stop in Lawrenceville. He remained in critical condition Tuesday. According to police, two teens — one 17 and the other 18 — allegedly walked up to the boy and one shot him in the head.

It is a story that has become all too familiar around the state in recent years. Gunplay, people shooting into cars and into homes, is getting to be a routine happening even in communities like Brunswick.

Two local incidents involving gun play were included in a CrimeScene published Tuesday in The News. One was reported in the 3700 block of Ogg Avenue, where bullets struck four vehicles in an area where people were socializing. The second occurred at Albany and T streets. Residents told police they heard gunfire in the neighborhood. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in either incident.

This has to stop, and it goes without saying that police need the resources to bring it to a screeching halt. More manpower and rapid backup, along with a well thought out counter to violent actions, would go a long way in addressing the state’s unwanted Wild West look.

Gov. Brian Kemp and members of the Georgia General Assembly have pledged to invest more state funding in public safety. On top of their hit list is all the physical lawlessness, shootings and homicides occurring in Atlanta under the ineffective policies of the current mayor, who voters are removing from office.

But while Atlanta is important, it is not all of Georgia. There are 159 counties in the Peach State and a galaxy of communities. Many could use an extra pair of hands or two just to catch up with the crime rate.

We urge Glynn County’s own delegation to the Georgia General Assembly — Sen. Sheila McNeill and Reps. Don Hogan and Buddy DeLoach — to keep this in mind when discussions on spending state funds on crime-fighting begin.

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