Sunday, December 25, 2011

Texas Congressional Redistricting Plan is obviously discriminatory

The federal courts have again declared that Texas redistricting plans may be discriminatory.  A federal hearing will be in January to answer a question that seems rather easy to answer.  The 45% of Texans who are Anglo are already the majority in 64% (23) of the 36 congressional districts in Texas, even before there is an election!  Click here to see the approved PlanC185 map. Study the following data taken from the redistricting plan, PlanC185, approved by the Texas Legislature and signed by Governor Perry.

Click above image to enlarge.

The most valuable place to be in a new legislative district is in the group that represents just over 50% of the population.  You are on the winning side with the most efficient investment of votes from the people who agree with you. If you are in the group that is less than 50% of the population, like the 45% of Texans who are Anglo, you should be loosing the majority of the time, unless you control the redistricting process.  

If you are allocating "resources,"  in this case voting age population, you can make certain that the resources on "your side" are the most well used and those on the "other side" are neutralized or wasted.  Therefore avoid having the voting age population on "your side" go over 70%, and certainly never over 80%, as any votes beyond 51%, and certainly beyond 70%, are unnecessary.  Meanwhile, try to place the votes of the "other side" into the 30% and 40% range so that the maximum number of the oppositions votes are "neutralized," i.e. invested with no return. Look at the scatter chart above.  Compare where Texas Legislators allocated minority voting age populations and Anglo voting age populations.

Notice how the highest percentage Anglo population in any district is 77.1%, but there are 8 minority districts over that percentage, 7 of them over 80%!  That is the way to "pack" a district and get as many minority votes "out of the way" as possible in those districts where a minority majority is impossible to avoid.  Such packing also creates a district where the elected official will have a "free ride" and will not do the harder work needed to please voters back home when a district is balanced closer to 50%.

Notice in the scatter chart where the most blue Anglo diamonds collect.  It is in the very valuable area over 50%, and up to 70% population, where votes have the most power.  The minority majority districts are represented by the majority of red minority squares, 10 out of 13, are in the "packed" area above 70%, with 77% of minority majority districts in that area, and the large majority over 80%.   The remainder of the minority populations are placed in the "looser" percentages of the 30% and 40% ranges, just below 50%, so that as many minority votes as possible are "used up" in what would be loosing campaigns for candidates they may support.

What is the Texas Legislature trying to do?  What is really happening?

Such gerrymandering politicians have caused the legislative gridlock our nation is suffering from.  With such home districts, legislators on all sides of the aisle have little to fear relative to being re-elected.  They have had their voters selected for them. They can do anything they want in Washington, or nothing, and be re-elected. 

Some voters want to cure this problem with term limits.  The real issue is redistricting and compact districts.  Then the apathetic legislative behaviors due to automatic re-elections never start in the first place. Term-limits alone would only increase the potential for making legislative mis-behavior worse during the last term in office before a forced retirement.  Legislators should always be held accountable back home for their behavior in office.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

U.S. Justice Department has approved Dallas' controversial plan for redrawing City Council districts

I was surfing online as my family watched a movie I had already seen: "The Help."  As they watched I received notice that the U.S. Justice Department has approved Dallas' controversial plan for redrawing City Council districts.

It appears things have not changed as much as we would like to think they have from the times covered in "The Help."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birth Patterns 1990-2009 in Dallas County

From 1990 through 2009 the following were the birth patterns within Dallas County, Texas: 
Dallas County Texas Births 1990-2009
Right click on above chart to enlarge and/or print.
The above chart is made from data freely available on the Texas Department of Health web site at for the years 1990-2009.  Information on more recent annual birth numbers is welcomed so as to fill in the gaps for 2010 and 2011.

While the number of births to Hispanic families grew dramatically through 2007, in 2008 a sharp deline started in all birth rates, with Hispanics again leading the way.  See articles like "Hispanic birth rate plummeting in the U.S.," online at .  This November 28, 2011 article, and others like it, indicate that the lowering Hispanic birth rate has continued since 2009. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Irving ISD movement to 7 single member districts

The 2010 census made the need for ending the at-large Irving ISD board system obvious. While only 29.99% of the Irving ISD resident population is Anglo, and only 10.7% of IISD students are Anglo, there are no minority members on the 7-member school board.  Minority advocates have been pushing for a 7-0 single member district method for Irving School Board elections for years.  This history and current plans were spelled out with today's Dallas Morning News article on the maps released this week by IISD.  These maps presented two possible board configurations: a 5-2 configuration with two at-large positions remaining, and a 7-0 configuration where all members would be elected from single member districts.  Copies of these maps are available from

The 5-2 configuration would be a tragic, and potentially costly, delay in the movement toward a full and inclusive representation on the Irving ISD Board.  The following 12-15-11 draft of a 7-0 single member district map is the best alternative seen so far in the work for a more representative Irving ISD Board:
Right-click on above image to open it in other window to enlarge it, or save a copy.
While the 7-district map created by the Irving ISD Board was a positive step in the right direction, the above map shows that significantly stronger minority representation is possible. 
  1. A plurality black voting age population District 3 is created in the above map that is over 4 percentage points stronger than the District 3 in the IISD created 7-district map. There is no district in any of the two IISD created maps wherein the largest racial/ethnic group voting age population in a district is the black population, but it can be done!
  2. The above map improves the potential for Hispanic representation. It increases Hispanic voting age population in District 6 by over 1.5 percentage points to 72.64%.
  3. Possibly the best improvement is that, while improving minority representation significantly over the IISD proposed maps, the above map also much more closely meets the 24,412 population target for each of the 7 districts. The one-person one-vote foundation for our nation's democracy can be more closely achieved.  A 10% range of deviation from the 24,412 target is allowed. The Irving ISD prepared map has a range of deviation of 7.68%. (Range of deviation is the sum of the largest district percentage above the target population plus the percentage below the target from the district most below that target.)  The above map not only improves minority representation, but also cuts the range of deviation in half, to 3.43%. 

This map is an example of what is possible as we build toward a final draft of a district map to present to the IISD Board in January. Hopefully the value of getting as close as possible to equal representation for all will be guiding the decisions made.  If you have any questions, or recommendations for improvement on this map, please email