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Hidden Valley residents tell City Council: Don't move us to a new district

Steve Harrison
City of Charlotte
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles speaks during the City Council's public hearing on City Council redistricting Monday.

Residents of Hidden Valley urged the Charlotte City Council Monday to keep them in District 4 during a public hearing on the city’s new proposed district boundaries.

Hidden Valley is a predominantly African American community that’s one of the largest neighborhoods in the city.

Under two proposed maps, two precincts in Hidden Valley would be moved from District 4 into District 1.

Hidden Valley could be moved from City Council District 4 to District 1.

District 4 has a plurality of Black voters and is centered around UNC Charlotte. District 1 covers uptown, Plaza Midwood, Optimist Park and parts of South End. It has more white voters than Black voters.

Charlene Henderson told council members that Hidden Valley should stay in District 4. She urged the council to adopt Option A – a so-called “least change” map.

“Map A is the only map that protects and preserves Hidden Valley’s all Black voting record,” she said.

Hidden Valley resident Cedric Dean agreed.

“District 1 has voted for all white candidates,” said Dean. “District 4 has voted for all Black candidates. We can never be a community of interest with District 1.”

Of the council’s seven districts today, Black voters are the majority in District 2 and the plurality in districts 3, 4 and 5.

That wouldn’t change in any of the proposed maps.

Former city attorney Mac McCarley, who was hired by the city as a map-making consultant, said Hidden Valley was moved because it’s on the edge of two districts. District 4 has too many people and District 1 has too few.

McCarley said there would be some advantages to shifting Hidden Valley into District 1. He said that the share of Black residents in District 1 would increase from about 26% today to about 33% under the maps that would move Hidden Valley.

District 1 Council member Larken Egleston is running for an at-large seat. That means there is no incumbent running in that district.

McCarley said the open seat would make it easier for a Black candidate to win in District 1.

The city is drawing new maps based on data from the 2020 Census. Mecklenburg Commissioners and the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board are also drawing new districts.

Two of the proposed City Council maps aim to keep Republicans as a “community of interest” in south Charlotte. Republicans hold 2 of 7 council district seats and none of the four at-large seats.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.