Redistricting Commission Chair Ruth Morgan Says, Look, She Has It All Under Control

Categories: City Hall
DeKuyperCactusJuice.jpg
You may want to bring a bottle of this tonight.
It must be Christmas in July or Unfair Park's birthday or something, because there are two Redistricting Commission meetings this week. The second one is tonight, and the main event will probably be Sandra Crenshaw's presentation of her two proposed maps. We suspect she may follow that up by expanding upon the promises she made Tuesday night to lodge formal complaints with both the Department of Justice and the city's Ethics Commission over Dwaine Caraway's being allowed to submit a map through his appointed commissioner.

In advance of that particular bit of legislative excitement, this morning we called Redistricting Commission chair Ruth Morgan -- author of Governance by Decree: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas -- to see how she thinks the process is going so far. Things got a little shouty between members of the public and the commissioners on Tuesday night. So is this what she envisioned when the commission asked ordinary citizens to get involved in the redistricting process?

"This is not unexpected. It happens in these things," Morgan tells Unfair Park. "There's a lot at stake and a lot of passionate feelings about what is right." She adds, with a dry little laugh, "One might wish that the commissioners would be a little less passionate in their questioning, because at times I think it could be misinterpreted as an attack. When I talked to the commissioners later, though, that was not their intention."

Morgan reminds us that the commission has been meeting for almost six months without compensation. "They are very conscientious," she said. "When something goes on from February the 8th to the hot summer days of August, it's quite demanding on their time and energies and work. I think they should be credited with what they've been doing. They've been exceedingly responsive to the public and exceedingly responsive to trying to fulfill the guidelines as they were adopted at the beginning."

So far, there have been 22 maps presented in total, about 14 of them from the public. Was  Morgan expecting more proposals? "Drawing a citywide map is very complicated and time-consuming," she said. "Trying to keep in the guidelines that have been developed, it's a complicated process."

One member of the public at Tuesday's meeting described redistricting as being "like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree," which is about the best summation of the process we've heard so far. Tonight's meeting is at 6 in Room 6ES at City Hall. It'll also be streamed over the city's website, for those not holding Project Runway premiere watch parties. Come for the shouting, stay because it's going to affect all of our lives for the next decade.
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8 comments
W W
W W

@854ff0f3a14711a12c795eb9df487117:disqus  watching.. Thank you for the link !!

Am wondering if there is a list of things that are absolutely NOT ON THE TABLE for changes..The various things the commissioners' have said makes me believe there is such.

This would make a good "FIRST LAYER" on the map..

0802 7-30-11 

W W
W W

Is there a link to this?

"the guidelines as they were adopted at the beginning."

bbetzen
bbetzen

Dr. Morgan is absolutely correct.  The Dallas Redistricting meetings are going very well. The conflicts we are seeing are what happens when you make this process transparent, when you make it public.  As the public begins to slowly understand the true power of redistricting, and how that power has been manipulated by politicians to select their own voters and create "impossible to loose" seats of power, the anger will spread. 

Gerrymandering made possible in the "normal" redistricting process behind closed doors has created the impass we now have in Washington.  Too many politicians in Washington know there is no danger they will ever be voted out no matter how much they do not do in D.C. or how bad their decisions. They have either been able to gerrymander their own districts, selecting their voters, or, if they are not from "the party" in power, they have allowed the "other party" to use their district as the dumping ground as the other party "packs" their district as part of the gerrymandering strategy.  Thus the large majority of current politicans are "safe," no matter the party. They are NOT motivated to keep the voters back at home happy. 

Do you really want redistricting to go back behind closed doors?  It must be done in the open so that the public sees what is happening and understands better and better the manipulation that is possible in redistricting.  Dr. Morgan is happy to see that happening and the truth being more visible.  It is working as long as people are honestly stating what they believe is the truth. All the Dallas Redistricting Commission meetings are recorded and the videotapes are posted at http://www.dallascityhall.com/... usually within a few days of the meeting.

Yes, it is messy. That is democracy! Let's celebrate it! Then lets try to find some logical pattern about the data that is being collected on each of the 21 different full Dallas City Council redistricting plans that have been submitted so far. See the comparison chart made for all 21 of these full plans tracking 8 objective measurements for each plan. See http://dallasredistricting2011...

What do you think of the comparisons? What numbers are missing? What numbers have no meaning? Remember the 8 partial plans submitted so far are not included in this listing as they usually either had fatal errors or only covered a small section of Dallas.

Tomas
Tomas

Ms. Crenshaw's map pulls the Kessler neighborhoods out of North Oak Cliff and aligns them with downtown and Greenville.  Isn't there some baseline requirement of common sense and logic?  Who are these kooks?

Nunya
Nunya

I actually like it. She basically put all of the entertainment districts into one. Any plan that doesn't put the Cedar's in with the rest of south dallas is a good map to me.

cp
cp

Yes, there is a baseline requirement of common sense and logic- per the US DOJ, districts must be compact and must have the same population within a 10% or less deviation.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

In Sandra's case, a former Dallas City Council member.

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