Reapportionment decision leaves some residents crying foul
YERINGTON — The reapportionment map adopted last week by Lyon County Commissioners has left a number of residents saying their interests were not properly represented.
The 4-1 vote approval of the “Option B” has some Fernley, Stagecoach, Silver Springs and Dayton residents saying their commissioners’ votes did not reflect the interests of their constituents. Commissioner LeRoy Goodman cast the only opposition vote.
The new boundaries preserve the current commission seats. Each of the options preferred by residents of the northern communities would have eliminated either Commissioner Chet Hillyard’s or Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill’s district. Both seats will be up for election in 2002.
Fernley Mayor Dave Stix said the final map should be representative of the fact census numbers illustrate 72 percent of the county’s population lives within these areas.
“Their main reason for voting for ‘B’ was a feeling for their fellow colleagues. That was self-serving and is not what reapportionment is all about. The thing you cannot deny is the census numbers tell you one commissioner belongs in the south and four in the north and the map should reflect this,” Stix said Friday. “I am a big supporter of elected officials stepping forward and making the tough decision and that did not happen. Now it is time to look to the polls to see if they made the right decision or not.”
In support of a compromise that would eliminate one district, Goodman stated, “When you are elected you are elected for four years. After that there are no guarantees.”
Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill, a Smith Valley resident, strongly supported the adopted map, pointing out it gives each area of the county an opportunity to have two commissioners.
“I have to confess ‘B’ is something that I helped to create because it is obvious it is my choice,” she said.
Spokesmen for the Smith Valley and Mason advisory councils recommended approval of that map. Commissioner David Fulstone added Yerington residents appeared to also favor Option B.
The redistricting decision was postponed from the Dec. 6 commission meeting to allow each community time to hold a meeting for residents to review the nine options and express a preference. The fact Hillyard and Commissioner Bob Milz voted against the expressed wishes of the communities they represent is one source of local ire.
“The important thing to us was to keep the communities as demographically intact as possible and they ignored this wish,” Silver Springs Advisory Council Chairman Richard Zierenberg said on Friday. “After asking us to hold special meetings to get our input, they ignored it.”
Stagecoach Advisory council Chairman Mike Kline echoed Zierenberg’s opinion.
“If you are going to ask for town board input, they should listen to it. We did not want our community to be divided along Highway 50. Their decision shocked me.”
Voicing his support of the map that will preserve his seat, Hillyard made no reference to reports from Fernley, Stagecoach and Stagecoach that indicated his district residents preferred other maps, and said only, “For obvious reasons, I will vote for option B.”
Hillyard represents all or a portion of Stagecoach, Silver Springs and Fernley.
Speaking on behalf of the Dayton Advisory Council, member Dee Scott said their special meeting resulted in map “C” being the first choice. Acknowledging it would eliminate Hillyard’s seat, he said attendees indicated they didn’t feel the eastern portion of the community should be represented by a Yerington commissioner, preferring the area’s interests would be better served by being included in a district with Stagecoach, Silver Springs and Fernley. He agreed with Stix, Zierenberg and Kline that “F” would be an acceptable compromise.
However, Commissioner Bob Milz did not feel Hillyard’s seat should be eliminated and supported “B” because, “It isn’t up to this board to elect or unelect a commissioner. It is up to the people. If the people chose not to elect somebody, that’s where it should be.”
Dayton resident Gayle Thomssen on Friday expressed disappointment in Milz vote, stating he was absent from the Dec. 19 special Dayton meeting.
“Bob (Milz) requested that particular date and then did not even attend. He did not even consider our choices,” Thomssen said. “Why did they bother to schedule the meetings if they had no intention of listening to us.”
Drawn up to give a general indication of district boundaries, the final redistricting lines will be determined when actual population figures for each area are determined. However, as it now stands:
— Goodman will represent an area generally to the north of the Truckee Canal and Farm District Road;
— Hillyard — south of the canal, most of the residential area of Silver Springs and north of Highway 50 in the Stagecoach area;
— Fulstone — some place east of Smith’s Market in Dayton to Ten-Mile Hill, south of Highway 50 in Stagecoach, a portion of Silver Springs south to an area west of the Walker River in Yerington;
— Hunewill — all of Smith Valley and the major population areas of Yerington, east to the county line;
— Milz – Mound House, Silver City and all of Dayton east to somewhere in the area of Smith’s Market.
The approved lines will take effect for the 2002 elections.