By Kathi Bliss
The LISD mapping situation has me concerned. I’m worried about how far-reaching and widespread the problem is, if in fact it is a problem. I’m worried that there are other voters out there who are voting in the wrong district, because the rolls and the maps don’t match, and I’m worried that no one seems to want to take ownership of the fact that at least one line on a map got changed without anyone really being able to explain when, how or why.
When we first heard from Mr. Islas that he was being told that he did not live in District 3, as he has always believed he did, we pulled the maps that this newspaper published during past election cycles for Lockhart ISD. The maps from 2003 and2005 both clearly reflect what Mr. Islas understood, that the line ran behind his house, not down the middle of his street. It seems now, though, he’s being told that those maps were incorrect, and he was always supposed to be in District 4.
Except, of course, when he volunteered to fill in when a past trustee in District 4 stepped down because of a move. Then, in late 2010, he lived in District 3.
When he filed to run in this election, he lived in District 3. Some thirty days later, he now lives in District 4 – and no one can tell him why.
I don’t live in District 3, and I have a great deal of respect for both Mr. Islas and Ms. Neyman, so as far as the current election is concerned, I don’t really have a dog in the hunt.
But I do have a question, and it’s a question that no one seems to want to answer.
Who changed that line?
I remember the talks about redistricting, and though I didn’t sit in with the committee, I’ve been told by folks who served on that committee that, at no time during the 2010 redistricting, did anyone discuss, look at, or consider changing the District 3-District 4 dividing line behind Meadow Lane. That change wasn’t presented to the public, nor was it sketched on any map released to the media.
But as sure as I’m sitting here, someone moved that line.
It’s curious to me that one candidate is being told that the line was never correct, and should have always been down the middle of Sunrise Terrace and Meadow Lane, and that another candidate is being told that the line was changed on the new maps.
It boggles me that Lockhart ISD is punting responsibility for verifying addresses and voting districts back to the County, which indicates that their records reflect only what information Lockhart ISD provides them.
And it absolutely blows my mind that, instead of someone saying, “whoops, that line wasn’t supposed to be there, and we didn’t catch it. Now that we know about it, we’ll fix it,” Lockhart ISD would rather say, “no, the line has always been wrong, and we’re sorry, but you and your neighbors have been voting in the wrong school board races for the last decade.”
Seems to me that LISD would go a lot further by saying “we made a mistake,” rather than disenfranchising 22 households worth of voters over the course of at least 10 years.
The citizens of this community are owed an explanation and a resolution. There are two candidates waiting to (maybe) run a race. There are dozens of voters who aren’t quite sure where they should be voting, or for whom.
And there are people living along district boundaries across Caldwell County wondering, “Do I really live where I think I live?”
We all deserve an answer.