Mayor Considers Citizen Plans for Redistricting

There is about a month left in the City of Houston's timeline for council redistricting, which includes adding two new seats. Dozens of citizens are weighing in on how they think the map should be drawn. As Laurie Johnson reports — the  mayor says citizen input will be instrumental in developing a final district map.

Ten townhall meetings and three public hearings provided an opportunity for citizens to voice their ideas and concerns over how Houston's council districts will be drawn.

The ideas are as diverse as the city and many of them won't pass legal muster.

But Houston Mayor Annise Parker says some of the ideas have merit.

"There's a lot of really great dialogue. People are approaching this respectfully, they're approaching it with an understanding that Houston is an amazingly diverse city and sometimes if you pull a string in one part of town it tugs something on the other side of town."

Citizens have submitted maps based almost exclusively on geographical boundaries. Others have suggested doing away with the city's At-Large council seats and switching to an entirelydistrict-based model.

Parker says one advantage of the map submitted by her administration is it meets Department of Justice requirements for redistricting.

"Either the staff map that I've already proposed will be the starting point when we actually move to vote. Or the administration may choose to back one of the other maps that's being considered. But then councilmembers will have the opportunity to substitute other maps."

The city must authorize newly drawn council districts by mid-May in order to get Justice Department clearance in time the election filing deadline.

 

You can find details of the city's redistricting plan here.

> view the redistricting map

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...