Politics & Government

NC elections board says it will try to redraw Wake maps, if judge orders it

Wake County school board and government maps were ruled unconstitutional.
Wake County school board and government maps were ruled unconstitutional. News & Observer

The state Board of Elections told a federal judge Friday it does not have the “software or expertise” to draw new election maps for the Wake County Board of Commissioners and school board.

But election officials would “make every effort to seek resources as needed to comply with any order of this Court,” the board wrote Friday in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III. In other words, if Dever orders the board to draw new maps, it will try.

Dever is giving state legislators and election officials until Monday to decide whether they will draw up new maps for commissioners and school board members for the Nov. 8 election.

On July 1, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the maps drawn by the legislature to be unconstitutional. The ruling overturned Dever’s February dismissal of the lawsuit, which claims the new district lines violate constitutional requirements.

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore filed a motion Thursday asking to be named defendants in the case. Meanwhile, the Wake County Board of Elections filed a motion asking all 15 members of the Fourth Circuit to hear the case, which would typically delay adoption of the ruling.

The plaintiffs, which consist of a group of left-leaning individuals and groups, has asked the court to immediately implement the appellate ruling. They want the Fourth Circuit to reinstate the election maps that the school board and commissioners had adopted in 2011 before they were replaced by the state legislature.

Raleigh to pick Dix Park advisers

Raleigh leaders may decide Tuesday which 45 people get to plan a redesign of the Dorothea Dix campus, the 308-acre downtown property that the city bought last year for $52 million and hopes to turn into a park.

But the city has yet to publicize the nominees.

The City Council earlier this year opted to set up two committees – an executive and an advisory – that will create a vision for Dix Park over the next two years and help guide its development.

The executive committee will have eight members: Mayor Nancy McFarlane, a council member of her choice, two city staff members, three members of the Dix Park Conservancy and N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson.

The executive group will have final say over how conservancy money is spent, while the advisory committee will be responsible for engaging the public with the planning process and leading topic-specific work groups.

Kate Pearce, city staffer leading the organization process, is scheduled to present the staff’s list of recommendations to the City Council at its 1p.m. meeting Tuesday. While Raleigh’s website provides supporting documents for other items on the agenda, staff’s list of recommended Dix Park advisers is not among them.

Hundreds of residents asked for positions on the advisory committee during the two-month application window.

Notable advisory committee applicants include Greg Hatem of Empire Properties, SPARKcon festival founder Aly Khalifa, philanthropist Assad Meymandi, former Raleigh councilman Wayne Maiorano and Matt Tomasulo, local artist and planner.

Compiled by T. Keung Hui and Paul A. Specht.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Send an email to Triangle Politics at metroeds@newsobserver.com by noon Thursday.