Citizens redistricting committee revises plan

Brian Cuaron

July 14, 2011 at 2:14 a.m.

The Citizens Advisory Committee for Redistricting approved two changes to a law firm's proposed redistricting plan Thursday evening.

The goal of redistricting is to even out the population in the four council districts as much as possible, using the 2010 census data.

The first change was put forward by Allison, Bass & Associates, the law firm hired by Victoria for redistricting. It moved an area from city council District 4 to District 1.

This was to make up for the population that District 1 lost when the law firm removed the jail population in District 1 from consideration, said John Kaminski, director of development services.

Henry Guajardo, who replaced committee member Jose Trevino, voiced concern about whether the area being moved would give District 1 enough voting residents. On the vote to approve the change, he, Fred Hobbs and Belinda Cardenas were in opposition.

The second revision swapped two areas between District 4 and 2.

It resulted in District 2 being more even with the other districts in terms of population. It also lowered the Hispanic population in District 2 by about 1 percent.

Cardenas put forward that proposal. On the vote for the change, Vic Caldwell and committee chairwoman Viola Saenz were in opposition, saying it didn't make much of a difference.

On the overall vote for the redistricting, the committee unanimously approved the revised plan.

The Victoria City Council must now hold a public hearing and vote whether to approve the committee's revised redistricting plan, said Robert Bass, the hired attorney handling the city's and Victoria County's redistricting efforts.

He added that the county may adopt the city changes into its redistricting plans.

Bass wanted to send the redistricting plans to the Department of Justice by Aug. 12 (the Department of Justice has 60 days to approve the plan) to have it ready for implementation by Nov. 12. That is when the county's election filing period begins.

George Matthews, county election administrator, said the commissioners court would probably revise its proposed redistricting plan after the council adopts its plan.



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