Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dallas Redistricting Map sent to Department of Justice, & petition to also be sent!

(Text from release from Dallas Redistricting Commission on 10-24-11:)
The City of Dallas has submitted its 2011 Adopted City Council Districting Plan Section 5 Submission to the Department of Justice. The Dallas Council adopted the plan on Oct. 5, 2011.

A paper copy of Dallas’ submission is available for review by the public at the City Secretary’s Office, Room 5D South, 1500 Marilla St., Dallas, TX 75201 and at the Government Information Center on the 6th Floor J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX 75201. An electronic copy is also available at http://www.dallascityhall.com/Redistricting/DOJ.html.

Comments or concerns can be submitted directly to the Department of Justice. Comments to the Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, sent by the U.S. Postal Service, including certified mail or express mail, shall be addressed to the Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, Room 7254–NWB, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530.
Carriers other than the U.S. Postal Service, including hand delivery, should be addressed and may be delivered to the Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, Room 7254–NWB, 1800 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006.
All comments should be marked: “Comment under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.’’ Comments should include the name of the jurisdiction and the Attorney General’s file number (2011– 4417) in the subject line.
Remember, additional details are linked to http://www.dallascityhall.com/Redistricting/DOJ.html, the City of Dallas Redistricting Commission web site.

It is recommended you read the cover letter dated 10-24-11 that is linked just under the title "City of Dallas Department of Justice Preclearance Submission" on the above linked page for the Dallas Redistricting web site. 

On Monday evening, 10-24-11, a standing room only meeting was held at the Kiest Recreation Center by Councilman Scott Griggs over concerns about the approved map.  He gave the best presentation on what redistricting is that I have ever heard from an elected official.  He also illustrated on the maps some of the problems with the approved map. About the only thing that was not well explained was how the approved map is an injustice to the Dallas black population.

At the end of the meeting petitions were circulated with the wording below which I find to be exceptionally accurate.  They will be submitted to the Department of Justice.  This petition can be signed online at http://www.petitiononline.com/RedistOC/petition.html.

============== What the petition states: ==============

Dear Department of Justice:
On behalf of the undersigned, please enter into the Minority Report the following concerns that we have regarding the redistricting map that the Dallas City Council has approved for submission.
• The citizens of Dallas were asked to provide input in what we were assured would be an open and transparent process. Taking this invitation at face value, we attended public forums and expressed our thoughts regarding redistricting. The repeated preference of citizens was for compact districts that unite communities of interest. Now that the process has run its course, we are presented with a fait accompli in the form of a redistricting map that not only ignores citizen input but also that of the Redistricting Commission. The Mayor’s private bargaining out of the public eye and immune from public input has resulted in a map that fails to meet either the needs of the citizens of the City of Dallas or the requirements of the United States Department of Justice.
• With community assets being separated from their residents, the entire fabric of Oak Cliff’s communities are being decimated. An egregious example occurs in the heart of Oak Cliff where, in the Wynnewood area, neighborhoods are districted apart both from each other and from their shopping center. Virtually across the street from Wynnewood Village, Kiestwood neighborhoods are split away from Kiest Park and joined instead with the VA Hospital. This deplorable indifference to considering and respecting our communities of interest occurs throughout District 3, as far north as Pinnacle Park and as far south as Mountain Creek.
• The Voting Rights Act should be applied citywide, and not exclusively to southern Dallas where we are perpetually being saddled with all of Dallas’ not-in-my-backyard challenges. Recent examples are Oak Cliff fire trucks being allocated elsewhere and the DHA attempt to front load Permanent Supportive Housing applicants into Cliff Manor. Why isn’t North Dallas’ District 10 that contains Hamilton Park and a sizeable Black voting age population, redistricted into a winnable Black seat? Why isn’t Northwest Dallas that contains a substantial Hispanic voting age population, redistricted to contain a winnable Hispanic seat? Dallas’s diversity is citywide and redistricting should reflect that reality.
• The DOJ has filed suit challenging the redistricting map cobbled together by the State legislature. The Dallas City Council has approved a redistricting map that includes such substantial defects that there is no reason to think it will be immune from DOJ challenge. In addition to shattering public trust in the redistricting process, adopting that map in the face of the above-mentioned defects will potentially cost the City of Dallas massive legal fees to defend it at a time when the City is cash-strapped.
I gave my signature 10-25-11 as #47 to sign with the following statement added:

With 71% minority population, it is wrong for the approved Dallas map to have only 7 out of 14 districts as minority majority districts, especially when 3 of those 7 will loose that status within 5 years due to population movement. This is certainly unjust when maps exist with 8 STRONGER minority majority districts designed to all last 10+ yrs & grow!

Remember, the above petition can be signed, and your comments added, online at  http://www.petitiononline.com/RedistOC/petition.html.

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