Some are not so keen on Delta, Aspen link

New state House district maps should pair Delta either with Grand Junction or Montrose, several people who attended two public hearings Saturday told the Colorado Reapportionment Commission.

Putting Delta with Aspen, as the 11-member panel’s current preliminary map does, makes no sense, said people who attended public hearings in Montrose and Grand Junction.

“Honestly, when we talk about communities of interest, when you lump Delta County in with Pitkin County, somebody wasn’t doing their homework,” Orchard City Mayor Don Suppes said. “We’re not even on the same page. To put half of Delta County into House District 61 with all of Pitkin County just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The commission, which is made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and an unaffiliated chairman, is taking preliminary legislative district maps to the public in a series of two-dozen public hearings around the state this month.

Because 2010 U.S. census figures show the state’s population increased by nearly 730,000 people over the previous 10 years, the maps dramatically alter some districts to keep each nearly the same size.

For Mesa County, the change in one proposed map is minor, and it won praise from some people who testified Saturday evening before the panel at Mesa State College.

Grand Junction resident Arthur Gardner praised the commission’s decision to keep House districts 54 and 55 nearly identical to the way it looks today.

Still, Gardner warned the commission not to reconsider an earlier proposal that would have made Grand Junction its own district.

“It is without merit, it is unconscionable, it is a good definition of the phrase: ‘No redeeming qualities,’ ” Gardner said of that idea. “It suggests ulterior motives.”

While some commission members told Gardner the map that included making Grand Junction its own district was considered and rejected, others said the idea could resurface.

That’s because everything still is a possibility, said former Rep. Gayle Berry of Grand Junction, a member of the commission.

Berry said the commission heard similar comments during its public hearing in Montrose earlier in the day, saying people there not only questioned splitting Delta County, but Gunnison County, too.

The commission has until Oct. 7 to present final maps to the Colorado Supreme Court.


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