Rep. John Faircloth and Sen Trudy Wade were the only Guilford County representatives who voted for it. Greensboro City Councilman Tony Wilkins invoked the name of “Big Daddy,” who he said held all the cards in Raleigh. A Greensboro coalition that included Earl Jones, Skip Alston and Jim Kee also supported it. Former Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins gave it a cryptic endorsement.
But in the end, the bill we came to call SB 36 died a trifling, pitiful death as befitting such a petty piece of legislation.
Without input from any elected officials or citizens save an anonymous group of “business leaders” she invoked, state Sen. Trudy Wade submitted a bill that drastically changed the way the city of Greensboro would elect its council, turning five districts into eight, eliminating at-large reps and limiting the mayor’s ability to vote.
Not all of it was bad. The bit about four-year terms has since been adopted by the city. But everyone knew the rest of it was pure crap — even the people trying to sell it.
“This is not a case where it is difficult to discern legislative motivation,” Judge Catherine Eagles said in her ruling, which was handed down on Monday. “All of the credible evidence points in one direction: a ‘skewed, unequal redistricting’ intentionally designed to create a partisan advantage by increasing the weight of votes of Republican-leaning voters and decreasing the weight of votes of Democratic-leaning voters. This evidence is unchallenged and uncontroverted.”[pullquote]But in the end, the bill we came to call SB 36 died a trifling, pitiful death as befitting such a petty piece of legislation.[/pullquote]
The law was literally indefensible — the Guilford County Board of Elections did not engage County Attorney Mark Paine to defend the law, because the BOE by charter does not care how the districts are drawn.
Sen. Wade invoked legislative privilege and refused to testify.
As the heroes recede — both the citizen plaintiffs and the city, which steadfastly defended itself against this legislative overreach and can now get on with its upcoming council election — the perpetrators remain in the light.
Faircloth’s in place until 2018. Same goes for Wade.
We’d be shocked if Alston hasn’t entertained the idea of angling for the Guilford County Commission seat recently vacated by Ray Trapp — Trapp was Alston’s hand-picked successor to the seat.
Wilkins has already announced his intention to run again for council, though he has coyly avoided naming which race he’ll enter when filing opens in June.
All that’s left for the rest of us to do is vote.