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Redistricting committee: Who can be on it?

By Brian Cuaron
May 23, 2011 at 12:23 a.m.


Victoria County has hired Allison, Bass & Associates to come up with information in regards to the county's population and ethnic makeup and other things related to the redistricting process.

The law firm is relaying this information to the commissioners.

Two public hearings on county redistricting are scheduled for May 31, one at 10 a.m. in the commissioners court and the other at 6 p.m. in the commissioners court.

The redistricting committee will be asked to attend one of those hearings, Judge Don Pozzi said. The committee will be given the information that the law firm has come up with.

Pozzi said that the court will then ask the committee to meet after the public hearings and report back to the Victoria County Commissioners Court with their questions and suggestions within a week or two .

"We're trying to meet the federal guidelines and do what we need to do for Victoria County as a whole," Pozzi said.

Victoria County commissioners don't have to select someone from each of their precincts for the county's redistricting committee, according to County Judge Don Pozzi.

Redistricting could change the boundaries of the four precincts.

Pozzi said that the commissioners court could have made up the committee entirely with residents from one precinct or even public employees.

In fact, it seems that there are no rules to ensure that a committee member remain a Victoria County resident throughout the process.

Ben Zeller was chosen by Commissioner Kenny Spann, Precinct 1, on May 16. However, he said that he is looking into moving within the precinct or possibly out of it.

Matt Ocker, who tried to get on the committee, complained during Monday's commissioner court meeting that Precinct 1, which he lives in, is not being represented because Zeller doesn't live there anymore.

Zeller said that he still lives at a residence on Burkhart Road, but said that he doesn't always sleep there because of his travelling for the State Republican Executive Committee, certain transitions and various other things.

Should Zeller move outside the county while the committee is ongoing, Pozzi said that he could probably still be on the committee but that it wouldn't make any sense.

Pozzi added that the county formed the committee after being advised to do it by its law firm, Allison, Bass & Associates.

Yet Zeller - who works at the Texas Dow Employees Credit Union - said that if and when he does move, the committee's work will likely be done before such a change of residence.

"I look very forward to representing the people of Precinct 1 and of our county," Zeller said.

Commissioner Gary Burns, Precinct 3, said that it was up to each commissioner to pick whoever they wanted on the committee.

"I wanted to appoint two, and I did, but nobody told me where they had to live and what they had to do. That's kind of our prerogative," Burns said. "Some people want to make a mountain out of a mole hill."



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