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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 Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.






(More History)