Feast your eyes:
– 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.