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    Temple Terrace opposes new lines

    Redistricting would put the small city in two state House districts, two Senate districts and three congressional districts.

    By LUCY MORGAN, Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 16, 2002


    TALLAHASSEE -- City officials in Temple Terrace don't like being divided into different legislative and congressional districts and went to court Monday to try to stop it.

    The city asked the Florida Supreme Court to reject the state Legislature's plan for new districts.

    With a population of 20,900 people, Temple Terrace, Hillsborough County's smallest city, should not be forced into so many different districts, the city argued.

    The city was part of single House, Senate and congressional districts, attorney Ted Taub wrote in a brief that sides with Attorney General Bob Butterworth, who has formally challenged the legislative districts.

    Under the redistricting plans the Legislature approved, Temple Terrace would be divided into two state House districts, two Senate districts and three congressional districts.

    That would "divide and conquer the political voice of the community," Taub wrote.

    "Temple Terrace's citizens will be forced to divide their time, resources and support among seven different representatives, neither of whom is accountable to all of Temple Terrace as a community," Taub wrote. "Citizens and city officials should not be expected to keep seven different representatives apprised of local issues. Further it is unlikely that a community as small as Temple Terrace would be able to navigate and coordinate so many political agendas."

    Legislators should have drawn compact, contiguous districts that respect the political boundaries of cities, Taub added.

    While it may be necessary to carve up large cities or counties, Temple Terrace is so small it could easily fit into a single voting district, Taub argued.

    Butterworth cited similar concerns last week in asking the court to order lawmakers to redraw new House and Senate districts.

    The court has given lawyers for the Legislature until noon today to respond. Oral arguments are set for April 23.

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    From the Times state desk