Dear Mayor and City Council:
I want my neighborhood to be in a Council district of my own design. Please understand that I adore my personal Council Member and thus, I will draw my perfect district so that we keep that representation.
I want my neighborhood and about 3 others surrounding me. My neighbors in most of these communities think like I do, vote like I do and we all want big recycling cans for our homes. Our houses are all about the same in value and I just know that we can have the perfect representation.
Oh dear, I just learned that our current Council Member lives in another neighborhood outside my planned district. Well, we just might have to elect someone from our civic club.
Really, we’re currently the tip of the district we live in and just don’t share the same issues and interests as those people that live way over there!
I’m very excited about the public hearings in March when I can bring my own maps.
What? I have to bring maps for the whole city? Well I don’t care about those people in Clear Lake! I only care about my neighborhood. How did Clear Lake and Kingwood wind up in the same district anyway? Maybe I should fix that so their poor Council Member doesn’t have to drive so far.
What do you mean my district won’t pass muster with the Justice Department? Really? I just don’t understand that.
Well, I’ll just have to get my map colors out and work at it some more.” Seriously folks, I’m proud of City Council and City Planning and the ever brilliant Jerry Wood for laying out a transparent redistricting process. It seems that public input will be valued and available.
Redistricting is often a “backroom” process. A few people huddled around magic computers moving precincts around while the figures quickly recalculate on the machine. The human element is missing.
The City of Houston is taking a brave approach to adding the new districts and the alterations that will cause to all existing representation. Kudos!
Although, the Houston Chronicle’s Brad Olson quoted the Mayor as saying “I anticipate a lot of community interest and maybe some heartburn,” she said, “but I don’t anticipate that this will be a particularly contentious process.”
Mayor, I’ve worked on redistricting issues since 1981. I can assure you that nothing you do will prevent it from being a “contentious process.” But I applaud your efforts for inclusion.
Good luck with all that!