The Charleston City Council overwhelmingly approved a controversial ward-redistricting plan Monday night, despite objections from two Kanawha City council members.
They did so in front of an audience that included a class from George Washington High School that was studying gerrymandering under teacher Jane Claymore, Ward 19 Councilwoman Ditty Markham said.
This is just the latest example of how our City's top elected official continually ignores the old public service maxim "avoid the appearance of impropriety." It seems that Mayor Jones thrives on just the opposite; he seems to really enjoy showing off his political hardball tactics right out in the open. Even in front of a high school class that wanted to witness a case of gerrymandering case up close and personal.
Mayor Jones has been feuding with two city council members, Ditty Markham and Mark Sadd, since day one in office and he doesn't care who knows it. In Mark Sadd's case he took to the airwaves and print media to loudly shout down Sadd's nomination to the federal bench. Now, according to Markham, Jones has apparently succeeded in hamstringing Markham by essentially eliminating her from eligibility to serve as her now former ward's representative. Whether he in fact had a hand in it or not, he certainly didn't seem interested in slowing down the process to allow time for more discussion or study.
An accusation of gerrymandering used to be a serious matter, but it seems Mayor Jones doesn't care; it just pads his resume.