Greensboro Votes To Sue State Over New Redistricting Law

Greensboro Votes To Sue State Over New Redistricting Law

7:01am Jul 09, 2015
Supporters of a new law that restructures the city government hold signs before the start of a public hearing on the measure Wednesday.
WFDD Photo by Paul Garber

A highly contested bill that restructures Greensboro’s city government may have become law. But the fight is not over.

The city council voted 8 to 1 to pursue legal action to try to stop the new law from taking effect. Tony Wilkins cast the lone dissenting vote.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan spoke about how she felt when the law was passed on a re-vote after initially failing in the state House.

“Greensboro lost. And the state of North Carolina lost. And it was a dark day for North Carolina, because that’s the way that this legislature acts,” she says.

The vote came after more than two hours of public comments during a specially called meeting attended by more than 200 people.

Speakers opposed to the law outnumbered supporters by about two to one. Some called the new law racist. Some were upset that voters weren’t given a chance to have a referendum on the changes.

But those feelings weren’t unanimous. Marcus Kindley, a former county GOP chairman, was among those who gathered outside of the meeting to show support for the law. He says it gives city residents more equal representation.

“We now have 8 districts that are set up and those districts now and each district is going to have their own representative. And the people that run for those are going to fight to represent that district,” he says.

Some speakers took a more neutral tone, saying they weren’t necessarily for the changes but they don’t want to use taxpayer money to fight the law.

It was originally sponsored by Republican State Sen. Trudy Wade. The law reduces the power of the mayor, redistricts the council lines and makes Greensboro the only municipality in the state that requires approval from the legislature to change its structure.

Support your
public radio station