Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Almost) Final two Dallas City Council Redistricting Maps

Click on chart to enlarge.
The majority of the Dallas City Council has now agreed on a "Composite Map."  It has the names of 8 of the 14 council members attached to it.  It can be seen as the final entry on the list of plans for the September 24, 2011 Public Forum at . 

With the Composite Map, minority representation will struggle to maintain 7 minority seats instead of looking toward the potential for a possible 9th and 10th minority seat on the Dallas City Council, as the Rawling's wPlan03c Map allows.  There is potentially a 3 to 4 minority seat difference between these two Maps.  Here is how that happens:
  1. District 2 maintains its shape in the Composite Map except for the additional 15,000 in population that was needed to make up for population lost over the past decade. During the past decade District 2 lost more Hispanic population than any other district in Dallas. Hispanic population percentages went from 71% to 61%. With the Composite Map, District 2 will begin the next decade with only a 54% Hispanic population. What indicates the decrease in Hispanic population will stop? The potential for District 2 to maintain a Hispanic leader is in danger with the Composite Map. In Mayor Rawling's wPlan03c Map, District 2 moves to the east, keeps the families in East Dallas, and includes the growing Hispanic population in far East Dallas. It also starts the decade with a 58% Hispanic population. While this is the weakest Hispanic district in the Rawling's wPlan03c Map, it is over 3 percentage points stronger than each of two weak Hispanic districts in the Composite Map.
  2. With the Composite Map, District 3 has a Hispanic percentage of 52%. In Mayor Rawling's wPlan03c Map District 3 has 66%.
  3. The Composite Map does not have a minority opportunity district wherein Hispanic population is in the majority. In Mayor Rawling's wPlan03c Map there are two stronger minority opportunity districts than in the Composite Map, and one of them, District 9, is 43% Hispanic!
  4. Since 2001 the Black population in District 7 has fallen from 53% to 46%. In the Composite Map District 7 begins the next decade as only 50% Black. In Mayor Rawling's wPlan03c Map District 7 begins the decade as 66% Black.
  5. The average Black voting age percentage for the 3 majority Black districts is only 59.92% in the Composite Map, but 63.07% in Mayor Rawling's wPlan03c Map.
  6. The average Hispanic voting age percentage for the 5 majority Hispanic districts is 61.44% in the Composite Map and 62.53% in Mayor Rawling's wPlan03c Map.
  7. Rawling's more compact map will eliminate 60 miles of gerrymandering boundary lines, uniting neighborhoods and contibuting to increased citizen involvement.
The 11"x17" comparison map, linked above, was copied and presented at the 9/28/11 Dallas City Council meeting.  Each council member was given a color 17x11 copy of the above chart.  They responded quietly. Several were seen studying it after the presentation.

Please contact your council person to ask questions. Urge them to support Rawling's wPlan03c Map.  They have this map in their possession, and some have studied it. Here is the link to their contact information:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dallas City Council Redistricting Maps to be presented 9-24-11, a comparison

Ten additional redistricting maps, along with the original one submitted by the Redistricting Commission, are now online at There you will find a staff prepared analysis, and a large 48" x 36" copy, for each of the 11 maps that will be discussed at the 3:00 PM public meeting on 9/24/11 in Dallas City Council.
Using the data from the analysis provided for each of these 11 plans, the following chart was created.  It provides critical data to use in selecting the best plan for the future of Dallas. It is clear which plan is the most compact and provides the strongest minority representation.

Click to enlarge above chart of Dallas City Council Redistricting Plans to be discussed 9/24/11
The above chart was attached to the following letter to the Dallas Mayor and City Council.  It was delivered 9/23/11.  The letter explains the conclusions reached due to the chart.

Click on letter to enlarge and/or print.
Mayor Mike Rawlings today posted rules that will be followed during the 3:00 PM hearing Saturday:

- Each presenter will be given a specific allotted time depending on the final maps presented and this will be determined close to the start of the meeting. If a presenter has two maps, I may ask to bundle them together and time adjustments will be given.
-City Council has approximately 5-10 minutes total to ask questions for clarifications
about amendments only. Please no debate at this time.
- The General Public will then be given specific allotted time to discuss the
strengths/weakness of the map and each speaker will be asked to limit their comments to two maps only. Speakers have until 2PM on Saturday to sign up to speak.
- At the close of the meeting, each Councilmember will be given 5 minutes apiece to express their opinions about the amendments to the maps.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dallas City Council Redistricting Meeting Saturday, 9/24/11 at 3:00 PM

The date and time for the Dallas City Council meeting for input from the public has been set: Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 3:00 PM.  The meeting will be in the City Council Chambers on the 6th floor at City Hall starting at 3:00 PM.

All the final revisions of Dallas City Council redistricting maps will be submitted by Monday evening, 9/19/11.  They should be online on the city web site by Thursday morning at the latest.   As soon as they are available, a comparison of the most significant maps will be posted here, on this blog.

Please plan to attend next Saturday's meeting in Dallas City Council chambers.  This is a critical time for our city to re-unite our neighborhoods and eliminate as many of the city council district boundary lines as possible.  They are gerrymandering and dividing our neighborhoods for political reasons.

The future of Dallas will be better if you are involved! 

If you wish to speak to the Dallas City Council 9/24/11 about your concerns in this redistricting process, and the changes or map you would recommend, they will probably have a process set up in the City Secretaries office by Thursday.  Then call the City Secretary at (214) 670-3738 to register to speak Saturday. I presume you will need to register by 5 PM on Friday, 9/23/11.

It is also strongly recommended you share your concerns with the Mayor and all the City Council members.  This can be done with one email at .  If we do not act now, the gerrymandered city council districts will continue for another decade.  Minority representation will continue to be less than it should be for another decade.

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.

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!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dallas ISD Redistricting Map chosen is now published online

Regarding a related redistricting process, DISD has now published online the redistricting map that was approved by the DISD Board on 8/25/11.

(Needless to say the very fact that the chosen map was not posted online for the public until a week after it was passed by the DISD board is excellent documentation of the contrast between strong transparency in the Dallas City Council process and the lack of such transparency in the Dallas ISD process.  The Dallas City Council process had maps posted online for days before a vote.  The DISD process did not post the final map chosen until a week after it was actually voted on as the selected map.  Study the map for an answer as to why.)

The selected DISD map can be seen on the DISD web site if you go to the DISD home page at and click on "Redistricting 2011" in the left hand column. That should take you to

On that page you need to click on the last link at the bottom with the words "Illustrative Redistricting Plans-Draft Map Plans and Charts" That will take you to a page with several links to the plans that were passed.

The link I found most useful is the pdf file at This is a 15 mg file and may take a while to load. Smaller files are also linked below this file if you need to download smaller files. It is strongly recommended that anyone read this carefully who is interested in DISD governance, voters having the most power possible, and voters not being handicapped by the gerrymandered districts in the selected map.

We have a lot of very tedious work in front of us if one person one vote is to become normal in Dallas. Gerrymandering lessens the power of the vote by allowing politicians to select their voters first. That is not democracy! Our communities should not continue to be broken up by redistricting. We voters should be the ones making the decisions.

Redistricting should only be a mathematical process that is guided by principals such as those reflected in the Dallas City Council Redistricting Guidelines,