As Commission Begins Redrawing Dallas's Districts, Barton and Smith at War Over State's

Categories: Politics
joe barton.jpg
Congressman Joe Barton
The Redistricting Commission, charged with redrawing city council district boundaries, meets tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall, at which time commission members Domingo Garcia, Donna Halstead and Gary Griffith and chair Ruth Morgan will present to the public early-look maps and district updates. But as Steve Thompson writes this morning, the commission's task, spurred by the latest Census figures, is no easy task: Garcia wants to add two districts that would "favor Hispanic candidates," as Thompson writes, though Halstead notes that given how Hispanics -- and African-Americans -- are now spread far and wide throughout the city, "it becomes a real question as to how you draw those and maintain the principle of a district being compact and contiguous." Morgan, the expert on the U.S. Voting Rights Act and its impact on Dallas politics, cautions all: Keep it above-board, or don't bother.

Too bad she's not there to mediate the fight over the state's redistricting: Politico this morning details the battle between the 21st District's Lamar Smith and the 6th's Smokey Joe Barton. Smith, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and the man overseeing the Texas redo, "is pushing to evenly split four new districts between Republicans and Democrats," reports Politico's John Bresnahan, "acknowledging that Texas's surging Hispanic population will gain minority-majority seats in the Dallas and Houston areas."

But Barton -- with the support of Gov. Rick Perry -- wants to make "three, or possibly all four, of the new districts Republican-favored, potentially shutting out Hispanic hopefuls from the new seats." Neither man would talk to Politico and told others not to cooperate either, but Bresnahan says it's gotten so bad Barton's skipping meetings and shouting obscenities at Smith behind closed doors. Pete Sessions, who stands to benefit most from Barton's behind-the-scenes maneuvering, says don't worry, it's all good. At which point Barton apologized to BP again.
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Texas Our Texas
Texas Our Texas

Congressman Barton denies a Lamar Smith-Barton tiff. Except for the Politico reporting, the many news articles about a supposed tiff are secondhand accounts; all attribute the basic information to Politico without corroboration.

The real story is that Politico's unnamed source, for a strategic reason, planted the story (which is embellished, being charitable) about a tiff. Politico took the bait. The strategic reason? To further a good-cop, bad-cop negotiating strategy with Congressman Cuellar.

Texasourtexas
Texasourtexas

Congressman Barton denies a Lamar Smith-Barton tiff. Except for the Politico reporting, the many news articles reporting about a supposed tiff are secondhand accounts; all attribute the basic information to Politico without corroboration. The real story is that Politico's unnamed source, for a strategic reason, planted the story (which is embellished, at best) about a tiff. Politico took the bait. The strategic reason? To further a good-cop, bad-cop negotiating strategy with Congressman Cuellar.

dfwrez
dfwrez

adding more districts?? It's about to get cozy around the horseshoe. Somebody's gonna have to share a chair.

i think they ought to name the districts rather than number them. we could call the 2 new ones "gerry" and "mandering."

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

The repubs are running scared after this census. Heaven forbid hispanics get a power hold in congress..sounds like the same garbage that was spewed during the civil rights movement, my advice to old white guys and other general republitards: Deal With It

rubbercow
rubbercow

I am about as left-leaning and liberal as a person can get, but I do have a problem with this. It is idiocy for you to state that this is all about racist white people. Further, for you to compare what African Americans went through in order to gain any kind of political representation to what Hispanics are going through is insulting and disgraceful. Why not take a look at the issue? If there are a large number of legal Hispanic residents then they should absolutely and unreservedly be afforded proper representation. However, there are a large number of Hispanics who are not here legally and, therefore, should not be afforded representation. What adds to the problem is that the Hispanic voting bloc is treated as some kind of monolith that will punish any party that tries to enforce immigration law against Hispanics.

Tell me, do you think it would be racist for an ethnic group to broadcast that any attempt to hold members of its group accountable to the law would be met with punishment? I don't see how much racist a position there could be.

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

No Country for Old White Men

Montemalone
Montemalone

How 'bout we redraw Barton's district to Shreveport?

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Ruth Morgan is an excellent choice for Chair. She is smart, savvy, an expert in the subject, independent, and I can assure you not easily manipulated.

As to Smokey Joe, Lamar Smith is taking the long pragmatic view. No way Dept of Justice will sign off on what Smokey Joe wants.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Never say no way . Not taking a shot at what is said. However The Roberts court has been structured over the years to be ready to change pesky and bothersome rules like Voting rights and the like .

The Law of today might be just a Memory in the future

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Agreed, but Roberts had the chance to ditch pre-clearance in 2009 and didn't -- even wrote the 8/1 decision upholding it himself. So Smokey Joe still has to come up with something that Eric Holder will like. And I think that's not gonna happen.

rubbercow
rubbercow

I vote, but I increasingly see it as a waste of time. It is rigged in favor of race-baiters (Mr. Garcia) and other hustlers. Everyone talks about the "explosive growth" of the Hispanic population but nobody wants to talk about the obvious.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I hope this discussion is re-visited every time the voters are blamed for electing an incompetent/corrupt politician. It's a game that is decided well in advance. I'm not so cynical as to believe that the process of voting is meaningless. But I can't blame people who feel that way.

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