On the agenda yesterday at Commissioners Court – the long-awaited redistricting plan for County Commissioner precincts.
The proposal would bring significant changes to several precinct boundaries, seeking to make the populations in the four commissioners’ precincts roughly equal, as required by law, and based on the 2010 Census. The draft will be the subject of several public hearings in the coming weeks.
The map moves roughly 100,000 residents from two fast-growing precincts in the county’s west, north and northeast — represented by Commissioners Steve Radack and Jerry Eversole – to two slower-growing precincts in the south and east – represented by Commissioners Jack Morman and El Franco Lee.
Richard Murray, a University of Houston political science professor and redistricting consultant, said the proposed changes would be the most sweeping the county had seen since the 1980 Census, after which Precinct 1 was redrawn as a black opportunity district. Lee has held the seat ever since.
Attorneys from Andrews Kurth also helped draft the map.
Radack’s Precinct 3 would remain the largest, with 1.04 million residents, down from 1.15 million; Lee’s Precinct 1 also would be home to 1.04 million people, up from about 940,000.
Eversole’s Precinct 4 would shrink to 1.02 million from 1.12 million. Morman’s Precinct 2 would remain the smallest, rising from about 883,000 to 991,395 under the proposed map.
The largest territory swap under the proposal would happen in northeast Harris County, where Morman would pick up the Atascocita area and land around Lake Houston from Eversole.
Greg puts the numbers into some perspective. You can see the map here – I’ve also uploaded a copy here in case that one gets moved. You can see the chart in the lower left as a Google spreadsheet here. Note that the second group of numbers are the Voting Age Population (VAP) numbers, which superficially make Morman’s Precinct 2 look like a Hispanic opportunity district, but keep in kind that the numbers that matter are the Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) numbers, which will surely make Anglos the plurality, if not the outright majority, in Precinct 2. Given the addition of the Atascocita area, assume Precinct 2 has been made redder as well. I’m sure Greg will have those details soon enough.
In any event, there will be four public hearings, one in each precinct, at which you can register your feedback:
Monday, July 25, 6: 30 p.m. – East Harris County Activity Center (7340 Spencer Highway, Pasadena)
Thursday, July 28, 7 p.m. – Harris County Cavalcade Office (3815 Cavalcade St., Houston)
Friday July 29, 6 p.m. – Mangum-Howell Center (2500 Frick Road, Houston)
Monday, Aug. 1, 4:30 p.m. – Trini Mendenhall Sosa Community Center (1414 Wirt Road, Houston)
I presume some variant on this map will be adopted shortly thereafter. What do you think about this proposal?