Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do we count the undocumented?

Not since the days of slavery has anyone in the US been counted as less than one person. The 1787 Philadelphia Convention allowed slaves to be counted as 3/5 of a person, the Three-Fifths compromise. But, after slavery ended, never again would the reason for a person’s presence in the US, a person who labors in our fields or in our cities, be used to keep that person from being fully counted, even in the redistricting process!

Many U.S. laws and court decisions have reinforced the legal foundation of every person living in the U.S. being counted, one for one.  Court decisions from this legal foundation are often referenced in the documents that are linked to the Dallas City Council Redistricting site as resources.

Using this one for one counting method, the population changes in Dallas since 2000 have been dramatic:
  • White population has gone down 65,526 to 345,205. Whites are now 28.82% of Dallas population meaning that 4.03 out of 14 districts should be majority white.
  • Black population has gone down 5,183 to 299,634. Blacks are now 25.02% of Dallas population meaning that 3.50 out of 14 districts should be majority black.
  • Hispanic population has increased by 84,665 to 507,309. Hispanics are now 42.35% of Dallas population meaning that 5.93 out of 14 districts should be majority Hispanic.
Thus "446" should be the motto for redistricting equality in Dallas. The district population majorities should be 4 white, 4 black, and 6 Hispanic.

However, due to combinations of youth, the inability to vote, or the failure to vote, "545" (5 white, 4 black, 5 Hispanic) will probably be the election results with a "446" redistricting plan in place.  The concerns of the public about non-citizens are addressed in the voting booth, where they should be, not in the redistricting meeting.  We must continue to allow the voting booth to be the ultimate power.  It is one of the most critical goals for becomming both a citizen, and an adult.

Compact Dallas City Council Districts can, and should, be formed to follow the 446 pattern.  Such a map would have more compact districts, improve chances for a 545 representation, and provide the best minority representation in the history of Dallas.

Then, as years pass and current children register to vote, 446 will be achieved.

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