The Dallas Morning News Wants to Break Up District 14. Wow, What a Surprise.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Oh, so now it starts. Here it comes. Camouflaged in a lot of pompous blather about a fair city council redistricting process, The Dallas Morning News is already waving the banner for chopping up the East Dallas city council district.

Should have seen that one coming. East Dallas is a sharp thorn in the ass for The News and its buddies and hey-boys on the Dallas Citizens Council.

District 14, represented by Angela Hunt, happens to be by far the city's most successful council district in terms of building strong neighborhoods. You'd think the money guys would love District 14. Real estate values have gone up more there over the long haul than in any other part of town.

Ah, but there's a problem. Beginning even before Hunt took the seat, East Dallas, where I live, has always succeeded by fighting City Hall. If it had been up to Dallas City Hall, there would be big fat stinking double-decked freeways jammed with suburban commuters where some of the citiy's coolest neighborhoods now stand.

But Mother Snooze doesn't like that. She doesn't like people who fight City Hall. So now my part of town, which was treated like a throw-away slum 15 years ago, apparently has become a bastion of privilege that must be torn apart in the ongoing redistricting process.

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District 14, home of some touchy bastards.
Redistricting is where they take the numbers from the new census and decide how to redraw the lines to make sure each district still has the same number of people in it. It has to be done every 10 years by law. The News thinks, as long as we're at it, now's the chance to teach that damned East Dallas a lesson.

In an editorial Sunday, The News said, "Perhaps the most peculiar of the council districts is 14. Shaped like a bastardized 'W,' the district wends its way through the heart of the city, enveloping more than its fair share of landmarks, high-value properties and high-profile neighborhoods -- including Love Field Airport, part of downtown, the areas bordering the Park Cities, Uptown, the M-Streets and Greenville Avenue. No single district should have an embarrassment of riches -- or a crippling number of challenges."

Scuuuuuuureeeeeew yeeeeew! A bastardized W? I'm looking at a map of the council districts right now. District 8 looks a bastardized E that somebody knocked on its ass. District 2 -- look, I hate to say it, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings over there, but your district looks kind of like a bastardized F. And District 6 ... man! It just looks like a bastard.

So we have to tear 14 apart because it looks like a W? Nah. Forget it. The best thing this city has going for it is strong neighborhoods, and the only reason it has strong neighborhoods is because we've got people smart enough and tough enough to fight City Hall and fight Mother Snooze, mostly in East Dallas.

Bring it on. If really bastardy people are what you people want, we've got plenty. Extras! That's probably why we're still here.

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22 comments
Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Anyone with strong opinions on City Council Redistricting should not only attend the many community meetings scheduled but should also go down and work on the City computers designing their own districts for the city. Go to http://www.dallascityhall.com/... for details. I have done that and the initial results are at http://dallasredistricting2011...

With current population numbers and currend district configurations there are 4 districts with Hispanic majorities, 3 with Anglo majorities, and one with a Black majority. The new map at http://dallasredistricting2011... has 5 Hispanic districts, 3 Black and 3 Anglo. It also minimizes gerrymandering. This map is also available for the public to continue to modify at the City Redistricting Offices.

Mark McDonald
Mark McDonald

I'm kind of glad the Dallas Morning News brought this up the way they did. I've been outraged for years about the configuration of the 5th Congressional District. It extends 150 miles almost to Rusk, then over 100 miles north to Winnsboro, then back to Dallas, where it snakes into Lakewood, where the current representative lives. I always think of it as a fat anteater with the termite on the end of it's tongue being the residence of the current congressman. If we're going to be talking about district's shapes, then this whole issue of gerrymandering is going to get real interesting.

Barryguitar
Barryguitar

You do realize that you are making a case for repealing the voter rights act, yes?

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

I have to admit that I'm not really all that worried. Considering the difference between the picture painted by the DMN and reality for past projects I doubt what they're proposing will even remotely do what they say.

GladIDon'tLiveInSouthDetroit
GladIDon'tLiveInSouthDetroit

Look at how they were drawn up - BY RACE. There had to be white districts, black districts, and hispanic districts. That is why the city districts and the congressional districts are so bizarre, If the people of Dallas could put race as secondary to having compact, well thought out districts, things would be different - but doubt that will happen.

Shamrock
Shamrock

You are way off on this one Schutze. I certainly hope the news took this idea from me because I have been advocating it as loudly as I can. There is absolutely no logic to having the core entertainment district, highrise dwellers, and street festival seekers subject the West Dallas vote machine in District 2 and the M-Streets neighborhood associations in District 14. We must redistrict our urban core to produce a competent voice for entertainment on Dallas City Council. That voice is our hope build entertaining events that draw people from around the region and drive residential growth. D2 lost 12.6% of its residents in the last census. Change is necessary and I am leading the charge. // http://voteshamrock.com/distri...

observist
observist

The border between 14 and 2 looks to be gerrymandered to keep 14 white and 2 hispanic.

(Just like the elementary school districts in the area. Why would Hollywood Heights feed into Lakewood elementary not nearby Mt. Auburn? Why would Glasgow be the border between Lipscomb and Lakewood, when it's 2 blocks from Lipscomb and 2 miles from Lakewood? To keep well-off white kids segregated from not-as-well-off hispanic kids.)

I wasn't in Dallas at the time, but that may have been the explicit goal of the districting when switching from at-large council seats to district-specific seats - to ensure hispanic seats on the council.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I'd like to see a zip code boundary map overlayed onto the council district map...

Clancey
Clancey

Best thing, which absolutely guarantees it won't be done, is use one of the computer programs that have been around for decades, give it the number of people, shuffle by 14, it'll spit out the map that gives 'compact and contiguous' districts with an equal number of people.

Jim, it would be of interest for you to borrow one of 'em, see what you get.

Me, I'm shocked, shocked that Ma Belo would use "Bastard."

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

To be fair, part of the reason 14 looks so weird is the big hole in the middle of it. The neighborhoods on the west side may have plenty in common with those on the east side, they just have the Park Cities sitting between them. While it appears to cover a dense area, in fact District 2 is the smallest in population, while 14 is the second largest. There will no doubt be reapportionment between those two.

(And, while I frequently disagree with Sharon, Joe May was a solid gold a-hole on the last redistricting.)

Law Guy
Law Guy

It's a good thing that districts are not drawn using Rorschach blot methods. That seems to be the method the Morning News is proposing. There ARE actual legal standards that apply, believe it or not.

MattL1
MattL1

I'm no expert in such matters, but by the looks of things, it's hard to redraw one district (mine) without blowing up the whole map and starting over. While this might not be such a bad idea in theory, I have very little confidence that the city could do this properly.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

I like tin-foil hat conspiracies as much as the next East Dallasite, but District 14 does look weird. So does District 2 and host of the South Dallas districts.

I don't think changing District 14 will hurt the East Side Locos, if it still includes East Dallas. If anything, the current makeup dilutes East Dallas' voice by having parts of East Dallas in District 2 -- which doesn't seem to care about the East Dallas community.

EDM
EDM

I always suspected the DMN was a "W" hater .... :-P

El Rey
El Rey

Divide and Conquer. Remember, that is the theme of the politicians at all levels of government.

The reason the South Dallas districts are long ribbons and the northern districts are compact is all about control by the northern districts. Southeast Dallas is divided and largely irrelevant because the council districts are weakened by the geographic diversity. Therefore, Southeast Dallas is neglected because the appearance of a lack of multidistrict support. I would like to see a district by district accounting of money spent on infrastructure (streets, utilities, landscaping, flood control, etc.) improvements.

Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Dists 14 and 2 should be divided at Central. Dist 14 keeps the superior E Dallas people. Dist 2 takes Oak Lawn, Bluffview, etc. Both districts would be more compact and neighborhoods in tact.

All 6 Southern Dists 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 8 should be reconfigured into blocked districts running north/south. Dists 4, 5, 8 ribbon from one side of the city to the other. Slicing Pleasant Grove into 4 districts. Councilman Atkins says he put 35,000 miles on his car last year driving his district.

Split the northern most Dists 12 (Natinsky) and 11 (Koop) lengthwise at Preston. Dist 12's growth means it's got to be split anyway. If Dist 6 can exist 10 years from Sylvan (Oak Cliff), W Dallas up to Royal (NW Dallas), even over to Billingsley's boondoggle between Irving & Coppell, Dists 11 and 12 could stretch down through 13 and stil be fairly compact - compared to Dist 6's ridiculous config. Dist 13 could take the NW Dallas part of 6.

Populations of Dists 2 and 14 are so dense that splitting them at Central has always made sense -- same diversity of race, riches, sexual orientation - just would keep Oak Lawn in one district and E Dallas in one district. Of course, E Dallas won't like that because they have controlled 2 districts for 20 years. In Oak Lawn and area east of Central, neighborhoods are cut up between 2 and 14 block by block. The 2001 commission didn't give a whit about neighborhoods just quotas and other stuff pushed by Joe May and Maxine Aaronson.

Alexander
Alexander

Well should Bluffview and Hollywood Heights be in the same district? And should we allow Pleasant Grove to have no live-in representatives? The whole map needs to be rethought.

JimS
JimS

Keith, this is not a slap-down and I hope you won't take it that way, but you are an entertainment business entrepreneur, right? It's how you make your moolah. That puts your resentment of Hunt/Medrano and the Lower Greenville reforms in a certain light. Not necessarily a bad light, but a certain light. You need to pony up some of that info about yourself before you wade in on this stuff and try to sound like a disinterested community activist. It's not just that people have a right to know -- they will know, sooner or later, and if they didn't find it out from you, you'll look like a schmuck. Word to the wise, that's all. Oh, and ... uh ... use your name.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Build entertainment districts?Are you out of your mind?

How would more beer drinking joints, drawing drunks to Dallas, contribute to driving up residential growth? That is the stupidest theory I've ever heard.

The neighborhoods, which are the major taxpayers, do not want entertainment districts. The bars want entertainment districts. I suspect you are associated in some capacity with bars. This is their language. Not the voters.

Its So Sad
Its So Sad

The districts ARE designed to maximize the election of Africans & Hispanics. That is federal law. Anything else is construed as discriminating against minorities.

But then if the gerry-mandered white district doesn't get the results you want, I gues it's back to the cigar room for a redo!

RS1963
RS1963

The last two people I would trust with ANYTHING are the late Joe May and Maxine.

Law Guy
Law Guy

That "stuff" that was pushed by Joe May and Maxine Aaronson happened to have the force of law behind it. Your views were the drowned out by the law and the rest of your neighbors, as I recall it.

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