Reporting Stephanie Lucero
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - City leaders in Dallas are set to redraw area political boundaries. The Dallas City Council will be briefed on a proposed redistricting map on Wednesday, which was approved by a city commission that has been looking into the issue for more than six months.
The Voting Rights Act calls for redistricting every 10 years, to adjust for possible changes in the city’s demographics.
The redistricting commission has listened to Dallas citizens debate the topic at a number of public forums. Now, it is time for the City Council to evaluate the plan that was selected by the 15-member commission.
The proposed map would create four districts in Dallas with a clear Hispanic majority and a fifth district where a Hispanic candidate could win a City Council race. “We’ve seen the Latino population increase to 38 percent of the city,” explained attorney Domingo Garcia. “We’ve seen dramatic demographic changes, and those are being reflected for the new redistricting. For example, creating a new Pleasant Grove district that is majority Latino for the first time in 20-something years.”
The Pleasant Grove neighborhood in Dallas is currently made up of parts of four different districts. Some residents are fighting to join the neighborhood together under one district while other residents want to preserve their current council districts.
The City Council can approve the proposed map, amend it or start the process over again from the top. The council has until October 15 to pick a plan, which will be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.
Meanwhile, residents in Fort Worth have until September 30 to submit comments on their city’s redistricting. The Fort Worth City Council must first decide if the number of districts should change. Then, residents will be asked about where specific boundaries should be located.