Chron story on the proposed new City Council map

Remember, you heard it here first.

Houston’s proposed City Council maps for 2023 elections make only minor changes to district boundaries near Rice University, Freedmen’s Town and parts of downtown.

Overall, less than 3% of Houston’s 2.3 million residents will change districts under the proposal, which is designed to balance district populations based on 2020 Census data, while complying with city requirements and the Voting Rights Act, according to City Demographer Jerry Wood.

By law, none of the 11 districts should vary by more than 10 percent from the average district population of approximately 209,000 residents. This means that Houston’s three most populous districts – Districts C, D and G – will lose some of their lands. Meanwhile, Districts H, I and J will need to expand.

“Unlike redistricting for legislative districts, there’s a lot more identification with a neighborhood that the civic leaders have and also the relationship that they establish with their council members,” Wood said. “So the desire is to create as little disruption as possible.”


In recent months, the public has repeatedly requested the city to keep super neighborhoods together, Wood said, something that demographers did not have in mind when initially dividing up the population.

The proposal managed to move Braeburn, a super neighborhood on the southwest side, into a single district and bring together most of Eastex – Jensen, one in north Houston. But Wood said he was not able to unite Greater Heights in north central or South Belt on the southeast side.

“Sometimes there are requests that simply are impossible,” Wood said.

The city has hired a law firm in anticipation of legal challenges. For one, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), one of the largest Hispanic civil rights organizations in the country, has promised to sue the city over what its advocates characterize as a gross underrepresentation of Latinos on the City Council.

The lawsuit hopes to replace the city’s five at-large seats, which represent voters citywide, with single-member seats, which cover a certain geographical area. Sergio Lira, a Houston-based leader with LULAC, said his team is on track to file the lawsuit later this month.

“We anticipated that there would not be any major changes to the maps this time and that the city was not going to disrupt things too much,” Lira said. “It’s going to take a lawsuit in order to change the system.”

See here for my post on the new map, along with the schedule for public hearings, and here for my post about the promise of a lawsuit to ditch the At Large Council seats. Several cities have moved partly or fully away from At Large Council systems to all-district or hybrid systems in recent years, some with more of a fuss about it than others – Austin, Pasadena, Irving, Farmers Branch. It’s hard to say how litigation on this matter might go in this current climate, but on the other hand if the city lost in a federal district court it’s not clear to me that they’d pursue an appeal. This is an excellent place to get caught making dumb predictions, so I’ll stop myself before I go too far. I’ll wait and see what happens when LULAC files their complaint. In the meantime, attend one of those hearings if this interests you.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Election 2023, Local politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Chron story on the proposed new City Council map

  1. D.R. says:

    This is a lazy attempt and basically asking for a lawsuit. There are only two districts here Hispanic could feasibly win – I and H. The representation is not on par with the community that is plurality Hispanic. With more single member districts you could in theory create one on the Northwest side of Spring Branch that is predominantly Hispanic as well as an additional district on the east/Southeast end. At-large seats favor white candidates aside from the seat that is black by gentleman’s agreement held by L Plummer.

    See you in court!

  2. Política comparada says:


    RE: “At-large seats favor white candidates aside from the seat that is black by gentleman’s agreement held by L Plummer.”

    Empirical Question:

    How do at-large seat favor “whites” when the “whites” (non-Hispanic non-Black whites) only constitute 25% of the COH population?

    Wouldn’t logically at-large elections favor candidates of the plurality (largest census class) assuming census-class-based voting (which is a dubious proposition also, at least normatively)?

    Or is the “white” portion of the voting population more than double the 25% reported in the linked data source?

    And if that were true (or so in part, i.e. a certain skew), wouldn’t the solution be to work on promoting the participation rate among the laggard class?

  3. Mainstream says:

    D.R, a couple of problems with your analysis: A huge part of the local Hispanic population is not US citizens, which makes drawing additional districts which provide an opportunity for Hispanic citizens to elect a candidate of their choice difficult. Second, Hispanic citizens are not clumped together geographically in the same way that Third Ward or Fifth Ward are overwhelmingly black, so constructing majority Hispanic districts is too hard. Any attempt to create more such districts is likely to end up electing more Edward Pollards or Karla Cisneros or Anna Eastmans.

Comments are closed.