Members of the Bakersfield City Council got an earful at their regular meeting Wednesday night.
One of the hot topics was revising council ward boundaries. Ward one members sat together hoping they'd stay together once the council revises the boundaries.
"It's the heart and soul of Ward 1," said former Ward 1 Council Member Irma Carson. "And, I just pray you kind of let us have it and leave it as it is."
Council members must re-draw ward boundaries, based on the 2010 census, which showed some wards were unevenly divided. One solution is to alter boundaries to Ward 1 which historically has had an African American majority. Some are concerned their voting power will be diluted.
"That area is middle class African Americans primarily and they do go out and vote, so on the ground the effect will also change the voting pattern because those people, you can count on that vote," said Marvin Dean with Concerned Citizens for the First Ward.
For the third time, council members chose to table the topic and decision to their next meeting.
"I thought it was only prudent," explained Council Member Rudy Salas of Ward 1, "that we continue that to incorporate all of those comments to incorporate the concerns of the other council members where this will affect their ward and move forward."
Others at the meeting also weighed in on the proposed High Speed Rail Project and its impact on Bakersfield.
"I'm shocked and outraged by the destruction high speed rail will do to our city," said one man opposed to the new rail line. "The more I learn, the more concerned I am."
Members of the "Save Bakersfield Committee" presented council members a letter, urging them to hold a public meeting to discuss the negative impacts of running another rail line through the heart of the city.
City officials say they'll do that, but their powers are limited.
"The city can express an opinion either for it not to continue or for it to be moved to a location away from downtown," explained City Manager Alan Tandy. "It's not a controlling action. It would simply be a statement provided to the High Speed Rail Authority."
Tandy added the council will consider a resolution on the high speed rail at its next meeting. That will take place on December 14th.
That's also when ward boundaries will again be discussed. They need a final map of wards before the next council elections in late 2012.