On Tuesday May 10, Mayor Annise Parker unveiled a revised proposal for the City of Houston’s redistricting plan. The initial plan, released in April, left many political activists concerned that the plan did not give Latinos enough opportunities to gain seats on the council. Under the newly revised plan, Mayor Parker said her administration has tried to draw lines to reflect the growing diversity of the nation’s fourth largest city.
The Houston City Charter requires that the City Council expand to eleven single-member districts at such point that the city’s population exceeds 2.1 million residents. As a result of the 2010 Census, the City Council approved a measure to add two new districts, Districts “J” and “K”. The city held three public hearings, a town hall meeting in each council district and, for the first time, made available to the public the data and software necessary to come up with workable alternatives.
Houston City Council is scheduled to consider the map on Wednesday, May 18. If approved, it would be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice for a check on whether it complies with the Voting Rights Act. The map ultimately will guide November’s council elections.
To see a detailed map of the proposed City Council districts and for more information on the plan, visit the City of Houston’s redistricting website at http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/2011/index.html