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Local Redistricting Roundup

A couple of procedural matters and remaining linkage on local redistricting:

» Chron: City’s redistricting OK’d by DOJ
As expected. Now, on to the election. In the course of a lot of conversations yesterday, I've mentioned that District J seems really quiet on the campaign front. No candidate turned in a July 15 report with much over $5k. Mike Laster and Criselda Romero both have websites up. I'm not able to find one for Rodrigo Canedo. Romero has 84 "likes" and Laster has 258 friends and Canedo has 391 on Facebook as I type. Make of it what you will.

» Chron: Redistricting plan OK'd over Latino objections
The Chron version of events on the Harris County redistricting passage. The hearing yesterday was the first real opportunity for any kind of back & forth on either of the proposed maps. And in this case, the back & forth involved the Commissioners themselves. Suffice it to say, there was not a lot of respect shown toward those who were wondering why a community that represents over 40% Harris County are so impossible to draw an opportunity district for.

Latinos now are the largest ethnic group in Harris County, at 41 percent of the population.

"All we're asking is that we get fair representation," said Precinct 2 resident Elisa Gonzales, calling on the court to adopt an alternative map by political consultant Robert Jara and community activist Rey Guerra.

"So, I'm to give up my job to give you fair representation?" asked Commissioner Jerry Eversole, who would be drawn out of his precinct in the Guerra-Jara map.

"Whatever it takes," Gonzales said, as one man called "yes" from the back of the chamber.

Actually, according to my ears, more than one person said that. And the story omits Eversole's even ruder closing quip to Mrs. Gonzales.

And here's Miya Shay's report for KTRK ...

As far as a general reminder on the state and federal level lawsuits on redistricting, just go read anything and everything that Michael Li is blogging.

Lastly, even though it's not local to me, Dallas teacher Bill Bentzen deserves a nice round of applause for his work on redistricting to our north. The process Dallas is using strikes me as pretty interesting. At a minimum, it seems to be above and beyond the mere legal requirements for public input on the redistricting process. While there's been a lot of talk about how many of the Houston area rounds of redistricting were open and transparent, I'd add my voice to a contrary view. The rules may have been abided by, but public hearings were a minimal requirement ... not the be-all of transparency. I know of no single level of redistricting where the public was privy to any of the backroom negotiations that went on among incumbents, for instance. Wouldn't it be great to have, as a redistricting principle, a requirement that incumbents make their "wish lists" public, for instance. I'm sure there's a carrot/stick principle that can accompany it so that those requests can take precedence over other changes in maps that are often given convenient excuses for change that have no basis in reality. Bottom line is that for now, jurisdictions have a tendency to do the least amount that is legally asked of them. I think it's time to ask for more.

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  1. Thank you Greg for the kind mention. It is very exciting to think that we may actually reduce the average district perimeter by over 26% in Dallas City Council Districts, half of which are now terribly gerrimendered! The current average perimeter is 43.52 miles. If my wplan03 is actually selected, with minimal additional changes, we may reduce that 43.52 miles in average perimeter down to less than 32 miles! That is measurable progress! The progress with wPlan03 can be seen at . If you go down that page you will see the wPlan03 map. You can compare that map to the current Dallas City Council map at The boundaries on the south side of the city are the most gerrymandered. That is where most of the changes are.

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