There's an online petition being virtually circulated concerning the new council districts map sent to the Department of Justice earlier this week; so far it's been signed by 105 who also want Justice to slap down the city's official submission. Among the reasons:
With community assets being separated from their residents, the entire fabric of Oak Cliff's communities are being decimated. An egregious example occurs in the heart of Oak Cliff where, in the Wynnewood area, neighborhoods are districted apart both from each other and from their shopping center. Virtually across the street from Wynnewood Village, Kiestwood neighborhoods are split away from Kiest Park and joined instead with the VA Hospital. This deplorable indifference to considering and respecting our communities of interest occurs throughout District 3, as far north as Pinnacle Park and as far south as Mountain Creek.
The Voting Rights Act should be applied citywide, and not exclusively to southern Dallas where we are perpetually being saddled with all of Dallas' not-in-my-backyard challenges. Recent examples are Oak Cliff fire trucks being allocated elsewhere and the DHA attempt to front load Permanent Supportive Housing applicants into Cliff Manor. Why isn't North Dallas' District 10 that contains Hamilton Park and a sizeable Black voting age population, redistricted into a winnable Black seat? Why isn't Northwest Dallas that contains a substantial Hispanic voting age population, redistricted to contain a winnable Hispanic seat? Dallas's diversity is citywide and redistricting should reflect that reality.
None of that should take those who've been following along by surprise. Nor should this bit of breaking news: Late yesterday, Delia Jasso, Scott Griggs, Pauline Medrano, Monica Alonzo, Sandy Greyson and Angela Hunt sent a memo to the mayor requesting "agenda item Redistricting Alternative be placed on the next voting agenda," though they could live with it coming before council by as late as December 14.
Those, of course, are the six council members who voted against the map sent to the Department of Justice earlier this week for pre-clearance. I've left messages for Barbara McAninch, the assistant city attorney tasked with redistricting.
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Update at 1:41 p.m.: McAninch says that under normal council rules, it can't revisit an item that's been voted on for a year -- that is, unless the council votes "to suspend the rules," she says, in which case it can "reconsider any item." That includes the redistricting map: "If that occurs," she says, "and they vote on another plan, then we will have to amend our filing plan with the Department of Justice."