City Hall

New District Map Off to Dallas City Council for Possible Changes and Approval

The Redistricting Commission chose its final map this Tuesday.
The Redistricting Commission chose its final map this Tuesday. Dallas City Hall
This week, the Dallas Redistricting Commission recommended a single map redrawing the City’s Council districts. The map is now being sent to the City Council to be reviewed and possibly amended. The council districts are redrawn every decade, and it took months of meetings to finally settle on this map.

You’d be hard pressed to find a time when Dallas’ redistricting process couldn’t be described as contentious. Things are no different this time around. Before this week, the process had homed in on two maps: 17-B and 41-B.

Dallas residents across several communities said early versions of these maps divided and politically weakened them.

West Dallas advocate and resident Debbie Solis told the Observer last month that she and others have worked hard over the years to organize the Eagle Ford Ledbetter community. Versions of both maps at the time would have split them up. But after a few more meetings with the Redistricting Commission, Solis said they’ve been able to stay together.

The map the Redistricting Commission settled on this week was 41-B, which was submitted by residents Melanie Vanlandingham and Darren Dattalo. After amendments were made, the map submitted for council approval this week largely resembles the city’s current district map.

Christine Hopkins, an attorney based in Oak Cliff, told Spectrum Local News that the new map is not representative of the city. “It is a status quo map,” she said. “Dallas is unfortunately a city that loves the status quo. In my opinion, it’s a city by the wealthy for the wealthy.”

Hopkins said she and others hoped the redistricting process could help bring more political power to Oak Cliff, a historically Mexican-American community, and other communities of color in Dallas. To her, that’s not what the process yielded this time.

The creators of map 17-B, redistricting commissioners Randall Bryant, Bob Stimson and Roy Lopez, said theirs was intended to give more power to voters of color.

“The map is really based on the premise that we wanted to create four strong African American districts and four strong Hispanic districts,” Stimson, the commission’s District 1 representative, said at a meeting last month.

People like Solis said that would have happened at the expense of their communities and their voting power.

The map that was chosen this week for recommendation to the council keeps North Oak Cliff together with other sections of the neighborhood in District 1. Map 17 would have spit the neighborhood, sending some of it to be connected to downtown and Uptown.

After its recommended to the mayor and City Council, the city has 45 days to adopt it, and they can make changes to it in that time.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn