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Proposed new City Council map is out

Feast your eyes:

Meet your new Council districts

Numbers and a sideways view of the map can be seen here. You can also see these docs plus a map of current Council districts at Houston Politics. A few rough observations:

– The first thing you need to do is go read Greg’s liveblog of the Council meeting in which this map was presented. You can also see a Google Maps version of the plan, which will allow you to see streets and whatnot. There will be public hearings at Council the next two Wednesdays for feedback and alternate proposals.

– The big surprise is in the two new districts. District K, to the west of the new D, has a voting age population that’s plurality African-American, and will be a heavy favorite to elect an African-American Council member. District J, mostly in the western Inner Loop, is majority Anglo. Those who were looking for a new Hispanic district will not find one.

– As far as that goes, the city will point out that the population and voting age population of both Districts A and F are majority Hispanic. However, the citizen voting age population (CVAP) of each is likely to be considerably lower, and as such it’s easy to imagine that neither Brenda Stardig nor Al Hoang has much to worry about. In fact, if you look at this 2010 Total Population by District and Precinct (XLS file) and do some subtotals, you will see that Districts A and F as they stand today are majority Hispanic. Unless the CVAP numbers are considerably more favorable than they are now, this does not represent a change. I suspect there will be a lot of people that are not very happy about this. I can see the justification for this from a keep-neighborhoods-together perspective, but how can you draw a new Anglo district in a city with a declining Anglo population? It doesn’t make sense.

– For what it’s worth, Ellen Cohen is in this District J, not District C. If this map or something like it stands, she’ll need to update her campaign literature. One presumes there would be more candidate activity in C as well.

– I had thought at my first glance that the One Heights folks may have gotten their wish to be all in one district, in this case District H. I based that on a belief that Durham/Shepherd appeared to be the western boundary of H. Greg informs me in the comments at his place that this is not so; the dividing line is Studemont/North Main. The Google Maps view confirmed it. That will not make these folks happy, either.

– Kingwood and Clear Lake remain joined at the hip. I wonder how many members we’d have to expand Council to include before we could draw a map that sensibly and justifiably severed them.

That’s all I’ve got for now. It’s important to see how various stakeholders react to this map, and how the Parker administration reacts to their reactions. I guarantee you that they can produce other maps if they feel the need to do so. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have a runnerup or two in their back pocket, just in case. If you have an opinion about this map one way or another it’s on you to tell your Council members (district and At Large) and Mayor Parker. There’s still time to give feedback, but not much more of it.

UPDATE: Karen Derr, who lost in a runoff to Stephen Costello in At Large #1 in 2009, says on Facebook that she’s in for J. I imagine we’ll hear a lot more similar announcements soon, though they may yet prove to be premature. Game officially on.

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9 Comments

  1. If I understand what you’re saying, then I have to ask, relative to your question about how you can create a new Anglo district if Anglo pop is declining, how you can create a new african-American district if African-American pop is declining?

  2. JJ says:

    What ever happened to City Council approving the outside lawyers for redistricting? The Mayor took the matter back after objections. Who did she hire and how?

  3. Andrea says:

    Did the Heights get split in two because the mayor was so annoyed by how much grief she got about Walmart? I can’t decide if it is good or bad to split the Heights …

  4. Jay says:

    I’m not sure what is says that in a City where most of the population change was due to the growth of the Hispanic and Asian populations and significant decline in the Anglo population, the Mayor produces a map that adds two new seats–one that is over 50% Anglo and clearly designed to elect a progressive Democrat and the other that is theoretically multi-ethnic but will almost certainly elect an African American.

  5. JJ says:

    It says that the #1 goal of the Mayor is to get Ellen Cohen elected. All the rest falls out from that.

  6. […] Charles Kuffner at Off The Kuff and Stace Medellin at Dos Centavos have also written on the redistricting plan. […]

  7. […] the Chron story about the proposed new Council map. Reactions were about what you’d expect for the most part. “There’s two Latino […]

  8. […] suspect we’ll see some alternative proposals to the city’s initial map. Be there if you want to have a say in how it proceeds from […]

  9. […] breaks out the mapmaking tools and redraws the city’s proposed Council map in a way that creates a more realistic third Hispanic opportunity district. It’s not a […]