Representative Chris Molendorp (r) (123rd Legislative District – Cass County) sent an e-mail to his constituents expressing his displeasure with the Appellate Apportionment Commission:
The map of the new legislative districts in Cass County – from the Appellate Apportionment Commission.
Rep. Chris Molendorp – Capitol Report – December 2, 2011 – My thoughts on the redistricting maps for the legislative districts in Missouri.
December 2, 2011
[….] Belton has been split from Raymore for the first time in 20 years! District 123 is no longer in Cass County.
I will run for re-election in the newly created 56th District which includes all of Belton, Loch Lloyd, Martin City, Richards-Gebaur and the new Honeywell Plant, Cleveland, Freeman, West Line, Everett, Main City, Drexel and the Northwest Corner of Bates County. Over 34,000 Cass Countians are in this district, along with 720 Bates Countians and 1,442 Jackson County residents. The majority of my constituents in the old 123rd District are still in the newly created 56th District with the exception of the City Limits of Raymore.
As a Cass County native, I’m thrilled to serve a larger geographic area of Cass County. While Belton and Raymore’s population has grown too much to be kept together, it’s shameful that Raymore was cut up into pieces by the panel of judges who clearly have never been in Cass County or care about our citizens. It’s even more ridiculous that our County Seat, Harrisonville, was cut into two pieces as well. At the VERY MINIMUM, a County Seat with a population less than the average State Representative district should stay together as a “community of interest”. This seems to be a simple concept. Then again, these are judges that determined California and Columbia should share a district and that Warrensburg should be split in two through the campus of UCM. Other communities like Washington, Perryville and Farmington got split up, too. I guess the common theme is that judges don’t live in places like that. They must live in bigger, better communities with gates and 24 hour security; they don’t have time to consider the needs of trailer trash like us. Besides, it’s hard to get a good look at the typical Missouri community from the back seat and through the tinted windows.
That’s ok, no hard feelings. I won’t consider ANY of this when I’m considering their budget next year and their $130,000 salaries. Or their case loads. Or their appointment until they turn 70. Naw, I’ll let that go…
Revenge is a dish that’s best eaten cold…
The map of the old legislative districts in Cass County – from the Appellate Apportionment Commission.
…This isn’t about D or R. And this isn’t about a district needing to completely honor the incorporated “city limit” lines of a particular town. City limit lines change over time, growth or recession, annexation or de-annexation change the incorporated “lines” of a city or village often. Just look at Pleasant Hill, Belton or Raymore. My folks moved to Peculiar in 1977. City limit lines have changed a dozen times since then. No, this is an issue that’s larger than that. This is about our communities in the broader sense. This is about preserving “communities of interest”; those communities that share colleges, interstate highways, water districts, school districts, levee districts and fire protection districts. This is about districts that share common employers and common culture. This has nothing to do about how you vote. This is about districts that are compact and contiguous and not districts that look like commas and spider webs on the map. How can I argue that my new district is a “community of interest”? While the Cass County portion is absolutely a “community of interest”, the northern boundary of my district is now Blue Ridge Blvd and State Line Road. The Southern boundary is Highway 18, just north of Merwin and Adrian. Seriously. No, I’m serious. Click the link and look at the map.
I will work for them, too, but I think a reasonable Cass Countian recognizes what a silly argument it would be to say rural Bates County and Richards-Gebaur look alike, have the same culture, economy and employment patterns. Martin City, RG, Belton and Loch Lloyd-sure, close in geography and culture, close to KC; yeah, that’s pretty reasonable. Cleveland and Freeman are just south; many folks there drive into the city to work; we share Cass County-yeah that’s ok, too. But to make my district 37 miles in one direction when there are 100,000 people in Cass County in an easily identified, compact and contiguous area? To split our County Seat and our second largest town is a silly argument, too. Well, the judges never called me. I’m just a dumb legislator….
A comment on the State Senate maps: I’m curious as to how a community of 100,000 people-US-gets split into THREE Senate districts, one of which goes to Hermitage, one that goes into Clay County and another that puts us in with Blue Springs. Clearly the judges view Cass County as an insignificant community full of people not worthy of representation. In all three examples, needs of the state’s ninth largest county will fall behind the needs of everyone else. Cass County will be forgotten.
“…District 123 is no longer in Cass County…”
Uh, the district numbers can change with redistricting. They have in the past, they did this time, and they will in the future.
“…Revenge is a dish that’s best eaten cold…”
Yeah, he actually put that in writing.