DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Community members packed the Dallas City Council chambers Saturday for a special meeting to discuss a redistricting plan that will carve up the city’s 14 council districts.
About 75 residents signed up to voice their opinion on roughly seven different versions of the map. City officials even had to open an overflow room because of how many residents showed up.
The hottest trigger point Saturday, though, has remained the drawing of the city’s majority black districts. Even four current black council members have been divided on the issue.
But they are all fighting for maps that will maintain four districts with a majority of black voters so that their representation won’t be diminished.
“My goal is to have four winnable seats. That’s what I’m trying to do,” District 8 Councilman Tennell Atkins said.
Because of the large crowd, the mayor limited each speaker to one minute at the podium, which angered some who felt they were being silenced.
“Mr. Mayor, I’m disappointed. I’m not going to tolerate it,” said public speaker Roy Williams.
Many who spoke discussed the importance of keeping neighborhoods with similar interests and identities intact. There were also accusations tossed around, alleging council members are being motivated by their desire to keep their districts.
Within a matter of weeks, though, the council will have to vote through one map, which will then be sent to the Department of Justice for final approval.