Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Proportional representation on Dallas City Council

Based on this evenings news and the tensions surrounding the Dallas City Council Redistricting Process, it appears that proportional representation is the central issue.  What would proportional representation look like on the Dallas City Council?

Obviously you cannot have fractions of a representative.  However, the following chart showing the proportional numbers for Dallas can be used as a guide.  Click on it to enlarge it, and for printing.
This chart shows that 9 of the 14 seats on the Dallas City Council should be minority seats.  Map 3 is the map that provides the strongest potential for that to happen. Dallas still has never even had 8 minority members on the Council at one time!
A major debate surrounds the potential loss of a Black representative on the Dallas City Council.  This is a valid concern. In 2001 the current four Black City Council Districts had an average Black population of 56%.  By the 2010 census this same average Black population in these 4 districts, 4, 5, 7, and 8, had fallen to 48%.  (See slide #70 in the presentation given to Dallas City Council on 9/7/2011 titled "Redistricting 2011: Process Review and Proposed Districting Plan.")

The only redistricting map that was submitted that met the definition for providing for 4 majority Black districts was wPlan43.  It can be found online at with the other submissions, down the page, for July 14, 2011. 

It was strongly criticized by the Commission as a very weak map for minorities since NONE of the districts had a full population Black majority. The total Black population average in these 4 districts is only 48.6%.  These 4 districts only became majority districts in the voting age population count.  Then none of the 4 districts were stronger than 52.3%.   These numbers come from the document linked at .

Given that these census numbers are already almost 18 months old, it is very dangerous to use such close numbers due to the ongoing population migrations that appear to show Black population leaving Dallas. Such ongoing population movement must be considered. We cannot start the next decade with Black districts that are virtually no stronger (only 6/10th of one percent stronger) than they were when this redistricting process started!  Stronger districts with higher population numbers were judged as needed by the Commission so that such chances were not taken that may loose much more than one Black district.  Map 3 provides the strongest three Black districts possible!  It provides an average Black voting age population that is 63.07%. That is over 3.5 percentage points stronger than Map 16!

An additional concern is that at least half of the districts in wPlan43 required significant gerrymandering. See the wPlan43 map itself at .  If adopted, wPlan43 will continue the awkward, apathy inducing, gerrymandered districts that the south side of Dallas already has suffered from for 20 years. 

The Commission voted wPlan43 out of consideration and "Postponed Indefinitely."  Apparently people have again been studying wPlan43 as a way to preserve a fourth Black district.

While the potential for a Black leader to be elected in any district city wide is increasing with every passing year, the greatest potential for this to happen for a fourth Black city council representative is in Map 3 with the two minority coalition districts, both of which are stronger minority coalition districts that the one such district in Map 16.  One of the Map 3 coalition districts has a voting age population that is over 70% minority. This is where our 9th minority City Council member could come from.

No comments:

Post a Comment