April 9 ballot includes referendum on Rock Island County board


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Originally Posted Online: March 28, 2013, 7:14 pm
Last Updated: March 31, 2013, 7:03 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Voters in Rock Island County will be asked in an April 9 advisory referendum whether they favor keeping single member districts for the county board.

At present, the board consists of 25 members elected from 25 districts.

In November, a large majority voted in favor of cutting the size of the board to 15 members, with five elected from each of three districts.

The November referendum also was advisory, and Democrats say that according to state statutes the size of the board can only be set once a decade after a referendum.

Rock Island County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek proposed holding the April 9 referendum to keep single-member districts.

He argues that having only three districts would mean that few board members from rural areas or minority communities would be elected.

"You'd end up with a board that would only have people from Moline and Rock Island," he said.

Mr. Banaszek has asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to provide a legal opinion on whether the size of the board can be reduced outside of the normal reapportionment process after the census.

Rock Island County Board member Drue Mielke, R-Coal Valley, is among the Republicans who are pushing for the board to follow the wishes of the voters by cutting the size of the board.

He said he's confused by why Mr. Banaszek would want to hold an advisory referendum on maintaining single member districts if the referendum on the size of the board had no meaning.

"It is single member board currently so why are asking to keep it the same," he said. "I believe it's a tactic to muddy the waters and circumvent the will of the people."

Asked how he would vote in the single member referendum, Mr. Mielke said, "It's irrelevant. They didn't listen the last time so why would they listen this time."














 



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  Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.








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