published Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Dalton eyes congressional boundary

  • photo
    David Pennington, the mayor of Dalton, Ga., stands inside of the City Hall facility.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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DALTON, Ga. — A Dalton business owner asked the mayor and City Council to support his proposal to shift the 9th District U.S. House district west and south.

Ed Painter, who has created the newly formed Georgia 9th District Committee for Common Sense Reapportionment, said his plan would represent residents of Northwest Georgia best.

“If you look at the map, it just makes sense to all of us,” Painter said, who made the proposal at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday evening. “This is truly nonpartisan.”

Mayor David Pennington promised the City Council would consider a resolution during its next meeting.

“Anything that gets us in a different district from Hall and Forsyth counties is a good thing,” Pennington said. “And it would make us the largest county in the district.”

Painter’s proposal includes 12 core counties — Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens, Walker and Whitfield. Polk County or part of Cherokee County could be added to make up the needed population, he said, while Union, Lumpkin, White, Dawson, Hall and Forsyth counties, which are now part of the 9th District, would be moved to another district.

Whitfield County Commission Chairman Mike Babb made a similar proposal during a public redistricting hearing in Dalton two weeks ago.

The new district would reflect economic connections and follow transportation routes, Painter said. It also would reduce the farthest points in the district from 180 miles to 140 miles and cut travel time to cross the district in half.

It would have very little impact on the racial makeup of the district, he said.

Painter said he plans to take his idea to other local governments in the next several weeks. He said he does not expect support from politicians in Bartow and Floyd counties which are currently in the 11th District, but he thinks the residents will support it.

The state Legislature is expected to reconvene on Aug. 15 to vote on redistricting.

In other business, the City Council heard the first reading for two ordinances that would allow sidewalk cafes in downtown Dalton and other restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors. Under the proposed ordinances, any restaurant could place tables and chairs on the sidewalk.

The proposal would require that restaurants place a moveable barrier between the cafe space and the rest of the sidewalk. The businesses would have to leave at least four feet of sidewalk unobstructed for pedestrians.

Veronica French with the Dalton Downtown Development Authority said Rome and Madison, Ga., have similar ordinances that have been successful.

The council is scheduled to vote on the ordinances at its next meeting.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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