Citizens' committee to begin work on redistricting

Brian Cuaron

June 28, 2011 at 1:28 a.m.

The citizen redistricting committee for the city of Victoria will hold its first meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the council chamber, 107 Juan Linn St.

The committee will select a chairperson and review a redistricting proposal by Allison, Bass & Associates, the law firm hired by the city to do the redistricting.

The law firm's proposal would move some areas from council District 3 to District 1, and areas from District 4 to District 2.

How often the committee meets depends on how many changes they make to the law firm's proposed plan, said John Kaminski, director of development services. The committee could also look at different plans, he added.

Councilman Joe Truman said he wanted each ethnicity represented as equally as possible in each district.

Councilman Gabriel Soliz also wanted demographic-neutral districts. He said that the small parity between the Anglo and Hispanic communities made that possible.

Soliz said that demographic-neutral districts will encourage greater voter participation.

"A lot of this is cut and dry," said Councilman Tom Halepaska about the redistricting process. "It's a statistical exercise."

Mayor Will Armstrong said he sees the council ratifying the committee's recommendation. He said this was because of the committee's size and its members, who have the city's best interest in mind.

"I'm going to be in favor of whatever the committee comes up with," Armstrong said.

Councilwoman Denise Rangel said the meeting was significant due to so many community members taking part in it.

Councilman David Hagan said he wanted the community to be aware of the redistricting process.

He added that the more people know about the process, the more legitimacy a redistricting plan will have in the community.



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