The last hearings on Council redistricting

Lots of action, and lots of alternatives, at the two Council meetings on Wednesday.

Hispanic civic leaders on Wednesday presented an alternative redistricting map for the Houston City Council that creates a third district on the city’s southwest side where they said a Latino would have “a fighting chance” to win.

Fifteen other alternatives to the map Mayor Annise Parker’s administration unveiled two weeks ago had been submitted to city planning staff as of Wednesday afternoon, including one that would scrap the city’s five at-large seats in favor of 16 single-member districts, department spokeswoman Suzy Hartgrove said.


More than 40 Latino civic groups backed the map, which includes a District K based around Gulfton and Sharps­town.

That proposed district would have a voting-age Hispanic population of 59.4 percent, better than the 51 percent figures that represent Latinos’ best chance for a third seat in the administration’s map.

“This whole process is about putting a community of interest together so that they can have the opportunity to elect – there’s no guarantee – the candidate of their choice,” said political consultant Robert Jara, who presented the map. “It would give a Latino in that district a fighting chance to win.”

You can see the Jara map here, or if you prefer a Google Map view, here. For and analysis of this map, I refer you to Greg, who liveblogged both the morning and evening sessions in great detail, and provided links to a couple of other alternatives, including one of his own. At this point I think it’s likely that some map other than the city’s original one gets adopted, though we probably haven’t seen that exact map yet. Jara’s map did draw some opposition:

Rogene Calvert, president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, said her community supports Latinos’ push for a third district, but said Jara’s proposal splits “Asiatown,” in the Bellaire Boulevard corridor.

“We can work out a plausible and workable solution,” she said. But the proposal “as of this morning is not acceptable to the Asian-American community.”

Jara said his group was discussing a change that could address Calvert’s concerns.

A modified version of the Jara map that resolves this issue could well have enough support to get adopted. Whether it really does give a Latino candidate a “fighting chance” – check those CVAP numbers in Greg’s post – remains to be seen. I believe May 11 is the target date for a map to be formally proposed and discussed by Council, and the 18th is the final vote. Houston Politics has more.

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2 Responses to The last hearings on Council redistricting

  1. Pingback: Mayor presents revised Council map – Off the Kuff

  2. Pingback: Sylvia Garcia and Senator Mario Gallegos Unveil Alternative Harris County Commissioners Court Map

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