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Johns Island to get its own representation on City Council

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The redistricting process for the city of Charleston is well underway, and Tuesday night the City Council and the public will review potential renderings for the new districts.

Some Johns Islanders are advocating for Johns Island to be all one district, and for the first time in Charleston’s history, there is a potential it could be.

Peter Rubino, a resident of Johns Island, says the original draft from the city split Johns Island into three districts.

Through email campaigns and spreading awareness, he and other advocates were able to get it down to two districts, and after tonight, hopefully, one.

“If you don’t speak up, then you’re not going to get what you need,” Rubino said.

He said having all of Johns Island in one district would give Johns Islanders a real say in their future, and true influence in city decisions.

He said he wants the person who represents Johns Island to live on Johns Island, with the hope that the shared experiences of the island will lead to more impactful decision making.

“We want someone who’s going to live here, and understands the issues, what the desires are of the people who live here and have to put up with the traffic and the growth and all of those things. Because if you don’t live here, you don’t see all those things that are going on,” Rubino said.

Tuesday night, he, along with other advocates, plan to attend the City Council Meeting to continue the fight for one district.

The city of Charleston’s Chief Innovation Officer Tracy Mckee said two scenarios will be presented tonight.

She said the first one prioritizes minimizing change, but splits Johns Island into two districts.

“In that scenario, Johns Island has two representatives, but each of those representatives also represent parts of West Ashley as well as James Island,” McKee said.

She said the second, which keeps Johns Island under one district, prioritizes compactness and communities of interest.

In that scenario, Johns Island has only one representative.

Regardless, Mckee says the City is doing its best to listen to the public and accommodate their desires.

“We have made a really good effort to get public opinion this time and bake that opinion into our plans as much as possible,” Mckee said.

As of now, Johns Island is a part of a larger district in West Ashley. Up until this redistricting, it did not have the population to be its own district.

Tuesday’s meeting is at 5 p.m. at the Charleston City Hall at 80 Broad Street. Rubino encourages those passionate about redistricting on Johns Island to sign up to speak.

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