The city’s redistricting commission has officially approved a map that will define new City Council districts for the next decade. It took weeks of meetings to winnow down 46 maps to two maps. The final decision came after a meeting went so late into the night that the discussion had to be resumed the following morning.
And in the end, not a whole lot changed—much to the dismay of some residents and neighborhood coalitions that say the city’s redistricting commission voted for the status quo instead of opening up new opportunities for more Black and Latino representatives in the future.
The Redistricting Commission met for a marathon session that lasted until nearly midnight Monday, and picked back up Tuesday morning before landing on a version of map 41 with amendments. It was approved by a 9-6 vote.
The 15-member commission’s discussion centered on which map (17 or 41) did a better job of creating a Dallas City Council that accurately represented the makeup of the city, while also respecting the wishes of communities that voiced the desire to not be split up.
Commissioner Roy Lopez said that while he heard the arguments of his fellow commissioners, he ultimately felt it wasn’t realistic to expect the map the commission chose to right every social wrong in Dallas.
“This is not the forum where we solve Dallas’ socio-economic problems,” he said. “It’s a tool, but it’s not the only tool.”
He reminded commissioners that they had heard from many residents who pleaded for a map that didn’t split longstanding neighborhoods and communities, and while the map they were voting on, 41B, was “not a perfect map,” it did take those wishes into consideration.
“Who are we to go against the people?” he said.
But other commissioners, like LULAC President and former Dallas City Councilman Domingo Garcia, feel the map does little to address historic racial divides in the city.
“You’ve packed Black and Brown folks, like it’s been done in Dallas since 83,” he said. “Map 41B perpetuates the inherent institutional racism that Dallas has had since the beginning of its founding. This map lacks social justice, it lacks fairness, it lacks equality.”
Kebran Alexander told his fellow commissioners that their meeting with residents who attended a town hall at Beckley-Saner Recreation Center made it clear to him that residents in South Dallas “had entirely different desires of this process than people from the northern end of Dallas, north of I-30.”
Doing the “best thing for the city of Dallas,” he said, “tends to benefit certain parts of Dallas consistently.”
For what it’s worth, it’s not a total Groundhog Day for the 41B map, but it is close. Ready to talk numbers?
In the decade since the previous census, Dallas’ population grew by 106,563 residents, and almost 40 percent of that growth was among the Hispanic population. Right now, the Dallas City Council horseshoe is made up of five Latino members, four Black members, and six White members.
As we suggested two weeks ago, if you live at the edges of your current council district, it would be a good idea to check the proposed map. That’s where most of the changes occurred; there’s a better-than-decent chance you will end up in a new council district. If you’re in the middle of your current district, it’s unlikely your representation will shift.
District 1 in North Oak Cliff shifts west to surround most of Cockrell Hill, and will include parts of the neighborhoods around Mountain View College and Kenwood. It retains Kessler Park, the Zang Corridor, and other northern neighborhoods that would have been moved into a different district under the runner-up map.
District 2 will continue to look weird, and now stretches from Dallas Love Field in the west to the Casa View area in the east. District 3 gains part of Arcadia Park and the north side of Kiest Park. District 6 will expand to include part of Elm Thicket-Northpark (which will be split between districts 6 and 2, divided by University Boulevard).
District 9 will now cover University Crossing North of East Mockingbird Lane. District 11 would gain some of the southern section of District 12 (which picks up some southern territory at Keller Springs Road and Prestonwood). District 13 will pick up a small chunk of voters near Forest Lane and Marsh Lane that are currently in District 6. Downtown/Uptown/East Dallas District 14 will cede some of its territory to District 9 and shed parts of West End, but will gain area near Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs Road.
We took a look at 41B’s breakdown based on the voting-age population. Nine districts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) have a majority-minority edge. However, two of those districts—2 and 10—could easily flip over the next decade. District 2 has 54.9 percent, and District 10 has 51.4 percent. If you do not combine the Hispanic voters (18.4 percent) and the Black voters (33 percent), District 10 is already majority White at 38.7 percent of voters.
District 2 in particular could easily flip to majority White—both the east and west ends of the C-section scar-shaped district are seeing some real gentrification as homebuyers that are priced out of areas like Lakewood, Bluffview, Devonshire, and Preston Hollow look for (relatively) more affordable options in East Dallas and the Elm Thicket-Northpark areas.
Of the seven solidly minority majority districts, three are Hispanic majority (1, 5, and 6) and four are Black majority (3, 4, 7, and 8).
That map, 41B, will head to the City Council on Monday. Council members will have 45 days to make any changes, or they can do nothing and 41B becomes the council district map for the next 10 years. The council will likely get a briefing on the map in early June.