Thursday, June 30, 2011

Final Dallas City Council Redistricting Plan submitted to Commission

This redistricting plan, wPlan03, will now only be the second of two plans I have submitted that will continue to considered for implimentation by the Commission. It was agreed that there have been so many improvements since pPlan03, the initial plan presented over a month ago, that plan pPlan03 will be retired from any consideration.

The following posting describes this final plan, wPlan03, in four parts:
1) Proposed Dallas Council District map for wPlan03, in 5 photos,
2) Demographic profile produced by wPlan03 for each district, and
3) Text from letter to Redistricting Commission sent with wPlan03 explaining the goals that guided its creating, and the improvements made.
4) A comparison of wPlan03 with wPlan24, and the updated wPlan24a, to demonstrate improvements made.
Part 1) Here are 5 photos which together show one proposed Dallas City Council redistricting plan that provides for the highest minority representation possible while also eliminating over 90% of the gerrymandering that has plagued Dallas City Council districts on the south side of Dallas:
Far North Dallas: (Click on photo to enlarge.)
North Dallas:
Central & South Dallas:
Far Southeast Dallas:
Far Southwest Dallas:
The above 5 maps are generated by wPlan03 completed on 6-30-11 with input from hundreds of people.


Part 2) Demographic numbers produced by this plan: (Click chart to see larger copy.)


Part 3: Text from letter sent Redistricting Commission with wPlan03 on 6/30/11 to explain the values that guided the creation of wPlan03:
June 30, 2011 ...

Dear Honorable Commissioners:

... This final plan took advantage of the hundreds of inputs I have continued to be blessed with over these past three months, right up to the last hour before it was submitted online today. But the design of this final plan is centered on improving the compactness measurements from wPlan24. (Plan completed and now in consideration by Commissioners) There are factors in wPlan24 that are preferred by some Commissioners that are not in this final plan. But, for the long term political health of our city, compactness, and the centering of districts closer to one of the 14 population centers in Dallas, are the highest values. Other values that drove the design of this final plan were the maximization of minority representation and working to avoid any use of residential streets as boundaries, especially with homes on both sides of the street. All such residential streets have been avoided as boundaries except in the northeastern boundaries to District 2 in East Dallas, and in two other locations. Here are some of the improvements made:

  1. Hispanic Voting Age Population averages have improved and now average 62% in the 5 most populous Hispanic districts.
  2. Black Voting Age Population averages also improved and now average over 60% in the three districts with the highest Black populations.
  3. The locations where small two-lane streets were used as boundaries have been reduced to only three locations on the map, a very significant improvement. These lesser boundaries cover about 4 miles of the over 420 miles of boundaries that surround the 14 districts in Dallas. (If more population variation were used, well within the allowable, at least two of these spots may be eliminated.)
  4. The average perimeter for each of the 14 districts is expected to be about 31 miles per district, over 12 miles less than the current average district boundary. The average index score measuring improvement in compactness will hopefully be above 1.4. Both are solid improvements over wPlan24.
Hopefully the final map chosen will equal or improve these four critical numbers, and use even fewer miles of two-lane road boundary.

I again want to congratulate the Redistricting Commission members for designing and approving this public process and the excellent set of guidelines. They reinforce the values of our democracy.

Following are the ways each of the Redistricting Guidelines are followed in wPlan03 now submitted.

1. Population Equality
None of 14 districts recommended in wPlan03 are more than 1.39% away from the 85,558 population target. The total variation is 2.77%.

2. Minority Representation
There are a total of 9 districts with wPlan03 that have a majority of residents from a single minority group. A total of 6 districts are majority Hispanic with an average percentage of the population that is Hispanic of over 68% in the 5 most populous. The sixth Hispanic majority district is truly only an opportunity district as the Hispanic population is 51% with a Voting Age Population (VAP) of 45%. Three districts are majority Black with populations that are 54.7%, 59.6% and 62.6% Black. (Black Voting Age Populations in these same districts are 55.8%, 58.4%, and 66.5% for an average VAP over 60%.) All numbers are improvements over wPlan24. These 8 districts with a majority Voting Age Population that is one minority group, combined with two minority opportunity districts, should allow minority voters to have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in Dallas.

3. Contiguity and Compactness
The 14 districts were each centered as much as possible around the 14 population centers in Dallas. This is required to secure the most compact district possible. This process required radical movement of current districts due to the Dallas history of gerrymandering. At the same time, as compactness increases, the length of boundaries decrease, thereby dividing up fewer communities because there are simply fewer miles of boundaries. It is anticipated that wPlan03 will have about 168 fewer miles of such boundaries than the current district boundaries in use since 2001. We will know this for certain as the compactness tests are run.

Among the guidelines which may be considered is listed “Communities of Interest.” Under that heading three specific districts in this plan deserve mention due to the two historic areas of Dallas they will now represent.

Districts three and one, Hispanic majority districts, will both now include with this final plan the parts of Dallas that used to be called “Little Mexico.” District 4, a majority Black district, now also will include sections of Dallas containing the former Freedman's Town and Freedman's Cemetery which had a painful history of less than respectful care under city leaders in the distant past. These redistricting changes increase the probability that these historic locations may someday be under the more watchful care of one or more city council representatives who are also descendants of ancestors who lived, worked, and may even be buried, on that land. These redistricting changes are a way for all the citizens of Dallas to acknowledge the strong positive contributions and history of the ancestors of the hundreds of thousands of Black and Hispanic Dallas residents, now working in greater numbers than ever to lead us into the next century. We must celebrate our Dallas History!

It is an honor to present wPlan03 for your consideration.


Bill Betzen, LMSW (Emeritus)
The School Archive Project – history, a dropout cure

Part 4: A comparison of the wPlan24 presented to the Commission on 6/21/11, the updated wPlan24a presented on 6/30/11, and the wPlan03 scheduled for presentation on 7/12/11:

Compactness numbers for wPlan03 have not yet been generated.  These are only estimates generated from an earlier version of wPlan03.

Once you have studied the above maps and demographics produced by wPlan03, the cover letter that describes the values used in the design, and the comparison between wPlan03 and wPlan24 and wPlan24a, what do you think?
Which is the best plan? How may they be improved?
Please email, or post below to the blog.

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