Redistricting committee members says they want more info

Brian Cuaron

June 30, 2011 at 1:30 a.m.

Some members of Victoria's citizens redistricting committee said they wanted more information before they made a recommendation for new voting lines in the city.

The goal of redistricting is to even out the population within the four Victoria City Council districts as much as possible, using the 2010 census data, said John Kaminski, director of development services.

The 15-member Citizen Advisory Committee for Redistricting had its first meeting in the Council Chamber on Thursday. A representative from Allison, Bass & Associates - the law firm hired by the city to do redistricting - presented its proposed redistricting plan over the phone.

However, soon into the meeting, committee member Vic Caldwell said they didn't have a map that showed the ethnic overlay. He later said he wasn't comfortable with tweaking the law firm's proposed plan until he got the ethnic overlay information.

After the meeting, Caldwell said he wanted more specific data rather than just that for the overall districts.

"The precincts are pretty big," said Caldwell, referring to the city council districts.

Another committee member, Trinidad Trey Ramos III, said that unless they have more data, "Really, we're flying blind."

After the meeting, Ramos also said he didn't feel there was enough information available. He wanted the data for the areas along the proposed boundaries for the council districts.

The law firm's representative said that the data was hard to use unless one has a certain computer software.

Kaminski told the committee that the law firm was to provide them with draft plans, and they were to say what else they would like to see. He said that there was massive amounts of data, and that one needs the software to handle the data.

Committee member Belinda Cardenas said that there wasn't much the committee could do outside its meetings since they didn't have the computer software.

When she presented a map with proposed district boundaries, the representative via phone said he could better look up the population for those proposed boundaries once he could see the maps.

Committee member Chad Byrd said that nobody expected the committee to get all the necessary information in its first meeting.

"The whole point of us having that first meeting was to figure out what we needed from that point forward," Byrd said.



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