Single Member Districts

AMARILLO, TEXAS - Fransetta Crow ran for Amarillo's City Commission in 2007 because she thought her north Amarillo neighborhood wasn't being well represented.

"They're not aware of the plight and the problems that we have to endure in our communities because they don't live here," she said.

Crow thinks she probably lost because of the way the system's set up with at large commissioners. She believes that would keep someone from the north, more liberal, side of town from winning.

"I don't think so, basically because Amarillo is a republican town," she said.

That's why at Tuesday's City Commission meeting she joined this group supporting a petition that would make it where commissioners are elected based on where they live, with equal representation throughout town.

Some others who spoke out were so passionate, they had trouble get their point across - but the groups leader made it loud and clear she thinks the commissioners are out of touch with most of Amarillo.

"While our neighbors are worried about how to heat their homes, you guys are spending our tax money on golf courses," Amy Taylor-Restine said.

Despite their comments, the commission unanimously voted the petition down, forcing the issue onto the May ballot saying single member districts pit commissioners against each other, and actually reduce your representation.

"When you have single member districts, you can only call the one person who represents you," Commissioner Madison Scott said.

Other commissioners say despite the fact they all live in pretty much the same area of town, they take pride in representing everyone across Amarillo.

"I have never made a decision based on where I live, or against somebody because that wasn't my part of town," Commissioner Jim Simms said.

But Francetta's not buying it. She says commissioners may be well intentioned, but unless they live nearby, they just don't get those other parts of town.