Another redistricting post, I know. Settle down. But this one's especially interesting: Dwaine Caraway, Tennell Atkins and Carolyn Davis have made it very clear that whatever the redistricting map ends up looking like, they want four "winnable" African-American districts. At last week's forum, that was also important to the majority of the audience, and something Mayor Rawlings said he supported as well.
But the three city council members behind the African American Committee for Fair Representation have now signed on to this new "combination" map you see here, which was originally proposed by council members Delia Jasso, Scott Griggs, Monica Alonzo, Linda Koop and Ann Margolin. It's only got three majority African-American districts: 4, 7 and 8. What gives, guys?
Messages have been left for Davis and Atkins, but we spoke briefly this afternoon with Caraway, who told us that this map does provide a "winnable opportunity," though it still needs work, as far as he's concerned.
"Let me be real clear," he said. "I'm not supporting three African-American seats. I'm supporting four winnable seats. It's not fair for folks to think that Atkins and I are supporting only three African-American seats. We have been on the lead pushing for four winnable African-American seats."
He suggested that districts that don't have a majority African-American voting age population might still make an acceptable fourth seat. "The perception people have of certain maps are not quite accurate nor factual," he said. "Unless and until you get out into the real fine print of it. It may look one way, but still may be winnable from another perspective.
"I want to make sure we understand: This map still has the need for additional tweaking. I want to say that and be real clear. It still has the need for additional tweaking. At this point."
The deadline to submit a final map to the Department of Justice is only two weeks away. Looks like the city council is planning on tweaking until they can tweak no further.