Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dallas City Council Redistricting Maps 3 & 16 Compared

We must closely compare Map 3 (the wPlan03c Map) with Map 16 (the cPlan16d Map).  Map 16 won the most votes on the Redistricting Commission and will be the map sent to the Mayor and City Council next week unless actions are taken for change.  It will ultimately become the map used to redistrict Dallas City Council Districts for the next decade unless enough citizens rise up to express other opinions. A comparison of the two maps shows why change is needed.

Both maps can be loaded in different tabs in your browser so you may then click between them to compare the differences.  Do a right click here for Plan 3 and then click "Open in new tab."  Do a right click here for Plan 16 and again click "Open in new tab."  These are large maps and may take a while to each load. 

Once both maps are loaded in different tabs, click on the tab for one of the maps.  Then click on the tab for the other one.  Now click back and forth between the tabs.  You will first see that Districts 11 and 12 are identical on both maps. As you slowly move both maps down using the scroll bars you will see the multiple differences as you click between these maps.  If both maps are in exactly the same location, when you click between them you will get a very good idea of the differences between the districts for that location.  Both maps can be enlarged for much greater detail.

If you have any questions I would be honored to answer them:

If you become concerned about the Map 16 that was chosen for the city by the Redistricting Commission, remember that you may still contact the Mayor and City Council members about your concerns and preferences, including another map such as Map 3.  Here are the email contacts for the Mayor and City Council . 

It may be as long as 45 days before the City Council and Mayor make their final decision on the map to use for our future City Council Districts.

In addition to the concerns documented yesterday about the reduced minority representation in Map 16 as compared to Map 3, there are other concerns:
  1. District 6 in Map 16 is pushed south and stretched out over three miles longer into a gerrymandered, irregular shape.  District 2 remains strangely gerrymandered around the center of the city.  These residents most affected by flights from Love Field will again have fragmented representation between two Council members for issues at Love Field.  In Map 3 these issues are made more compact in one district, District 6.  In Map 3 District 6 includes and surrounds Love Field on all sides.  The residents who suffer most from airport noise will be able to have one voice to speak for them relative to the Love Field noise issues, but only if Map 3 is chosen.
  2. It is easy to see that District 2 in Map 16 "just doesn't look right" due to gerrymandering.  In Map 3 it is united to the east with the similar far East Dallas community.  The 39 mile long District 2  perimeter in Map 16 is reduced to 29 miles in Map 3 while the voting age Hispanic population jumps four percentage points to over 57% in Map 3 for District 2.
  3. The comparisons of District 7 between Map 3 and Map16 is almost painful.  In the gerrymandered Map 16 you find that the resulting Black voting age population is only 50.4%!  In Map 3, with a much more compact and centrally located District 7, the Black voting age percentage is 66.36%, over 15 percentage points higher!  Part of this advantage is lost as District 4 is moved in Map 3 to the southeast corner of Dallas to be the Pleasant Grove district which is majority Hispanic.  Then it is regained significantly as District 5 is moved to the southwest corner of Dallas to become a Black majority district with a Black voting age population that is 55.42% in Map 3 instead of the 50.4% for District 7 in Map 16. (Remember, in summary both maps have three Black majority districts but Map 3 has three much stronger Black majority districts with an average Black voting age population that is over 3 full percentage points higher in Map 3 than in Map 16.)
  4. Continue to compare the gerrymandering, district by district flipping between the maps.  With this method it is easy to see which map suffers most from gerrymandering.  What is the reason for this continued gerrymandering?
  5. Do not forget the concerns documented yesterday about the critical difference in minority representation between the two maps.  They merit repeating:
    A) The Hispanic voting age percentage averages 3/4 of one percent lower in Map 16 for the average among the 5 majority Hispanic districts when compared with the higher percentages in Map 3. 
    B) While the weakest Hispanic district in Map 3 is 57.63% Hispanic voting age, the same measurements for the two weakest Hispanic majority districts on Map 16 are lower at only 53.94% and 53.39%.  These are not safe percentages.
    C) There is an average 3 percentage points difference between the average Black voting age population for the 3 Black majority districts in each Map.  In Map 3 that Black voting age percentage is three points higher than in Map 16.  D) The weakest Black district in Map 16 has only 50.4% Black voting age population.  On Map 3 that weakest district is 55.42%, a much safer percentage due to the population movements anticipated.  The potential for loosing an additional Black district is much greater in Map 16 than in Map 3. E) Finally, remember that Map 3 has two stronger minority opportunity districts that are each stronger than the one 57.76% minority opportunity district in Map 16. One of the Map 3 districts is over 70% minority!  That represents a very real opportunity for Dallas to have a City Council that has 9 out of 14 members who are members of a minority community.    
The above concerns are still only some of the potential concerns.  You may certainly have others from your own area of Dallas. The Dallas City Council Redistricting Process is not yet over. 

The health of these maps should reflect the health of our City.  The days of "separate but equal" due to gerrymandering must end!  The comparison of Map 3 and Map 16 proves that in Dallas gerrymandering can actually be used to reduce minority representation.  Then, why does gerrymandering remain?

You can still contact the Mayor and City Council members about your concerns before they make a final vote: Email Contacts for the Mayor and City Council . Notice the link at the top of that page which will allow you to send the same email to all council members and the Mayor at one time.

If the above issues are not shared in gatherings and conversations in Dallas, the potential for our city to become a truly great American City will be limited.  Please join in the conversation and the sharing. Invest in our city, our future.  Share the above issues with your friends.

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