Minorities Weigh in on New Council District Map
by: Pat Hernandez, May 10, 2011 10:05:00 pm
The new plan includes four districts in which the total population and voting age population is majority Hispanic; two are majority African American and another is nearing African American; one district represents a large and significant Asian population; and three districts have Anglo majorities.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the new and improved map represents the city's ethnic diversity.
"We promised throughout that we would be as open and as accessible to the public as we could be, and that we would be open to ideas and input from the community."
She says she was amazed at the level of public participation in the effort.
"As you look at the new plan going forward, the significant changes from the original staff map to the revised staff map are in southwest Houston. So there was a lot of good work done, but the process encouraged some changes, and those changes have been good changes."
Rogene Calvert is director of the Texas Asian American Redistricting Initiative. She lauded the mayor's outreach to all communities to produce the best map possible.
"Although the revised plan increases the Asian American percentages slightly, the overall character of District-F is changed. But that's what redistricting is about, things do change. We are confident; however, that the opportunities for Asian American leadership in the future can continue under this revised plan."
More than a thousand people attended the city's 10 town hall meetings, one in every council district, to give public input. After the proposal was submitted to council, more than a hundred community members spoke at the three public hearings.
Dr Laura Murillo is president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
"We used this an as opportunity to bring together other segments of the Houston community, such as the Asian community, the African community, so that we could have open conversations and dialogue to arrive at a consensus map. And we believe that while the map is not perfect, and it never is or will be. We were glad to be part of the process."
The new redistricting map goes before council consideration tomorrow.