|New district maps for NC Senate, proposed in S 758.|
Dist. 47, which includes Watauga, sends Ralph Hise to Raleigh
Ralph Hise's "local bill" completely upending the structure of the Watauga County Commission -- evidently to give Republicans a guaranteed (or nearly) advantage in three of five new commissioner districts -- is now moving in the General Assembly.
What Used To Be: Every voter in Watauga County got to vote in all county commish races. Didn't matter where the voter lived. Did matter where the candidate lived, because each of Watauga's 5 districts demanded residency for the candidate. But any voter in, say, Beaver Dam, could also vote for any commissioner candidate representing far off Stony Fork.
What Will Happen Under Hise's Local Bill: There will be five new geographical districts. The only map I've seen is this one, annoyingly devoid of place labels and lines. Hise has presented no map, only population "blocks" under the Census, which can actually be reconstructed into a map. It's clear enough that Boone (deep blue) has been segregated into a single district. Three new, large, and largely rural districts will ring Boone and pretty much guarantee a perpetual 3-man Republican majority on the commish.
So, We Get It. Hise has power. Some might claim absolute power. He'll probably get this bill through, and it'll be another notch on Trump-era belts (but to us-ens a grotesque abuse of any understanding of democracy, of how a republic is supposed to govern itself). But we get it. We do get it. We're all naked apes, potentially, and why pass up the opportunity to pound your enemy into dirt and eat his cake?