Public meetings on Hillsborough County re-districting begins

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There are four separate voting districts in Hillsborough County, and beginning tonight, the process to re-draw those geographical boundaries begins.

WIth approximately 1.2 million residents in the county, those districts needs to roughly average around 300,000 people, but currently that's not the case.

Districts 1 and 3, represented on the new Board of County Commissioners by Sandy Murman and Les Miller, respectively, are below that 300,000 level, while District 2 and 4, chaired now by Victor Crist and Al Higginbotham, are above that.

So theoretically, Murman and Miller would gain more people, and Crist and Chairman Higginbotham, would lose population.

But as Mike Salinero wrote in the Tampa Tribune on Sunday, Les Miller's District 3 seat is a minority district seat, created to increase the chances of a minority candidate representing the board, which he currently is. Miller's seat was previously held by Kevin White and Thomas Scott.

Interestingly, Latinos in the County are now a larger minority group than blacks, (25 percent to 16 percent), yet the way the lines are drawn, there doesn't appear at this time that the most likely district to elect such a candidate (that would be in District 1, which includes Latino heavy precincts of West Tampa and Town 'n' County).