Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dallas Redistricting Map 16 compared with Map 3

Below is side one of a two sided handout on Map 3. It shows how Map 3 will provide a City Council that will more accurately reflect the 70% of the Dallas population who are members of a minority group.  Dallas has never had a City Council wherein even half of the Council members were members of a minority group.  Minorities members have been the majority of the Dallas population for well over a decade. Accurate representation is overdue.
Click on the chart below to enlarge, save, and/or print. 
Map 3 not only avoids exceptionally weak minority districts, but, with District 9, Map 3 also has a very real potential to provide a 9th minority position on the Dallas City Council!  Such "9th position" potential is very questionable in Map 16.
Remember, all the data in the above chart is taken from the City of Dallas Redistricting Committee web site at where all of the plans accepted for consideration are listed.  Go to plans cPlan16d and wPlan03c which are among the last three plans considered at the top of the page.  Click on the link named "Analysis" which is where this data is included on the demographic and compactness charts.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Bill Betzen at

Here is side two of this two sided handout:
Click on above Dallas Redistricting Map 3 to enlarge, save, and/or print.

Here is a brief history of Redistricting Commission voting on the way to a final map:

At the 8/9/11 meeting the 15 plans remaining before the Commission were narrowed down to the final 3 for consideration. Each of the 14 Commissioners who where at the 8/9/11 meeting were asked to vote for three of the 15 plans to be the final plans. The votes came out as follows, and as documented on page 6 and 7 of the 8/9/11 minutes linked from the Commission web site at : wPlan03 received 12 votes, cPlan05 and cPlan16 each received 7 votes. One other plan received 5 votes and all the others received 3 or fewer votes.

The next vote was taken on 8/20/11. At that meeting the three final maps were narrowed down to two for consideration. Each Commissioner was asked to list their first, second, and third choice. This transaction was recorded on page three from the minutes for the Commission Meeting on 8/20/11, available at the above link. Here are the results of those votes by the 15 Commissioners present at that meeting, followed by the percentage, in parenthesis, of Commissioners who thought that the plan should either be first or second:

Map 3: 1 first place, 12 second place, & 2 third place votes, (86.7% placed  Map 3 first or second.)
Map  5: 4 first place, 1 second place, & 10 third place votes, (33.3% placed  Map 5 first or second.)Map 16: 10 first place, 2 second place, & 3 third place votes, (80.0% placed  Map 16 first or second.)

That evening these votes were interpreted as eliminating Map 3 instead of eliminating Map 5. Commissioner Garcia spoke up to point out this logical irregularity, but he was overruled. (This is recorded one hour and one minute into the meeting video of 8/20/11 available from .) Since no comments were allowed from the public at this point in the meeting, we could only watch what was happening.

Since Map 16 already had 10 votes, and only 8 were needed to be selected as the map to be presented to the Mayor, there seemed to be little reason to voice any objection at that time.   However, the opportunity for more amendments to Map 3 was missed. That may have made the critical difference.  The time spent making improvements to Map 3 may have allowed Map 3 to become the selected map for presentation to the Mayor.  Then the Dallas Mayor and Council would be looking at more compact districts and the realistic potential for 9 minority representatives on the next Council.  Instead we are looking at the very real potential that minority representation may again fall to 7 with Map 16. That will not accurately represent Dallas.

Once Dallas has established a comfortable pattern of proportional representation in the City Council, and in other leadership bodies, we can focus more of our energy on the critical issues of governing. 

As a DISD teacher for the past 11 years, I am CERTAIN that we have a multitude of capable leaders being educated in our schools for the future of Dallas. We need to pave the way for them!  Race and ethnic background should never again be a barrier.  That time needs to pass.  Compact districts are long overdue.  We are on our way to being the greatest American City!

A little over a year ago DISD handed out enough diplomas to equal half of the 9th grade enrollment from four years earlier!  This was the first time in over 20 years we had achieved a 50% graduation rate or better.  The great news is that this same "raw" graduation rate calculation will be over 60%  within 4 years, and probably well over 70% soon thereafter. 

With a City Council that is both more responsive to, and reflective of, Dallas voters due to non-gerrymandered districts, and with a school district cutting the dropout rate in half, Dallas is heading the right direction!

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