Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Texas Plan C185, Congressional Redistricting Plan, declared illegal 8-28-12

Below is an anatomy of the Texas Congressional Redistricting PlanC185 that was declared intentionally discriminatory by the courts on 8-28-12.  
Anatomy of Texas Congressional Map Plan C185 decleared discriminatory
(Right-click and hit "open link" to enlarge and/or print.)

PlanC185 was originally thrown out by local Texas courts soon after it was created and was replaced by those courts with Planc235, which is not much better. The Texas Attorney General appealed that ruling and the 8-28-12 decision was the result. See details and links to a copy of the 154 page ruling in this linked Dallas Morning News article on this decision.

As you study the above chart note that the demographic group percentages are relatively evenly distributed between the high percentage of 86% and the low percentage of 13%, except for a gap of over 12 percentage points!  That gap tells the story of gerrymandering.

It is a gap that for the Anglo percentages is between 31.7% and 44.4%.  No group would want to be in this "Maximum Loss" range. Sadly that is a range of percentages that are occupied by 15 Minority districts, but not a single Anglo district.  That same gap translates to a gap between 55.6% and 68.3% for the Minority districts with not a single Minority district with percentages in this "Maximum Win" gap.  However there are 15 Anglo districts with those percentages.  Do you think this happened by chance? By accident?

Is this really 2012?

Hopefully in the next redistricting in Texas in 2020 citizens will be able to go online and build their own Texas redistricting plans.  As the public becomes more aware of the power in redistricting they will no longer allow maps such as PlanC185 to even be considered.  Yesterday's decision was a strong step forward.  Texas also needs a replacement for PlanC235 which is the current Congressional redistricting plan we are working under.  It is almost as bad as PlanC185.  See a similar anatomy of Plan C235 at .

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reasons for Hispanic lawsuit against Dallas City Council

It was very good news to read of the lawsuit being filed by voters against the Dallas City Council redistricting plan approved by the Council on October 5, 2011.  The map created by that redistricting plan continues a long Dallas tradition of denying equal representation to minority communities in Dallas.  With this approved map it is very hard, if not impossible, to explain how the Hispanic Community was not the primary target.  The approved map analysis by city staff clearly shows it only has 4 districts in which the voting age population (VAP) is over 50% Hispanic.  

On 9-24-11 the Dallas City Council Redistricting Commission was considering a total of 11 different maps and eight of those maps each had five districts with Hispanic voting age populations above 50%.  See the details for each of these 11 maps on a chart at .  Please note that in one of those maps, wPlan03c submitted by Rawlings, the weakest of the five Hispanic majority districts was 57.6% voting age Hispanic!  On 10-5-11 the meeting began with 5 maps still in consideration, including the wPlan03c map, and only two of those 5 maps did not have 5 majority Hispanic VAP districts: .

That same map also had the strongest three Black districts, stronger than any other map considered, with an average Black percentage of 63.07%.  In the Approved City Council Map this percentage was only 56.9%, and there were only 3 Black majority districts, contrary to what at least one TV reporter said this evening.  Also, the Wplan03c map was the only map with two "minority opportunity districts" increasing the potential for a Dallas City Council with 10 minority members!  No other map so strongly increased the potential for 71% (10) of the 14 council members to be minorities, just as the 71% of Dallas are minorities!

The wPlan03c map submitted by Rawlings was also the map with the most compact districts with an average destrict perimeter of only 32.64 miles.  The approved map was significantly gerrymandered leading to an average perimeter of 35.60 miles.  This means there are 41.44 more miles of boundary lines in the gerrymandered, but approved, City Council map.  More details about the wPlanc03 map are linked from the same page linked above:   The WPlanc03 Rawlings map is the 8th map listed on that page.

The problems with the finally approved map were summarized in a letter to the editor posted on 10-9-11:, and in a second letter just published on 8-5-12 at .

In any redistricting plan every resident must be counted, citizen, adult, child, non-citizen.  Everyone is counted!  That is the law.  People complain that the ability to vote should somehow be used in drawing the lines. While there are many estimates as to how many eligible voters are in each district, they are only estimates.  It is only at the voting booth that the real determination can be made. Until then the total population is the only population factor that should be used in drawing district lines.  The numbers for each district must be within a 10 percentage point range, generally no more than 5 percentage points above or below the target population of 14th the Dallas City Population.

There was a time in history when some claim gerrymandering was used in Dallas to maximize minority representation.  Those days are past, if they ever existed.  Gerrymandering was certainly used to confuse and discourage voter participation, as that is the most consistent effect.  With the approved City Council Redistricting Map it is obvious gerrymandering continues to be used in attempts to fragment the Dallas minority community, now 71% of Dallas population.  It must be stopped. The future of Dallas rests with everyone voting and being counted in compact city council districts.