On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council will be briefed on a proposed map that the city’s redistricting commission approved. And there is going to be a you-know-what show, I am sure.
The plan essentially adds a Hispanic district, giving Hispanics a total of four, plus the potential of winning one more district in which a Hispanic candidate could win a seat.
Naturally, our Hispanic community leaders think the compromise is great and accurately reflects what the new Dallas will look like for the next decade. And it may accurately reflect what the city looks like now. From the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: “Hispanics are by far the fastest growing segment of the population. During the 1990s, Texas’ Hispanic population grew at a pace of 54 percent, adding more than 2.3 million people. As a result, Hispanics now make up 35 percent of the state’s population, compared with roughly 14 percent at the national level. Among states, Texas has the country’s second- highest Hispanic population, behind only California.” Acccording to the Fed, the foreign-born population share in Dallas has increased 150%. Hispanic leaders, including Elba Garcia, whose darling home is pictured here, voted against the last redistricting plan, complaining it did not do enough to reflect those population spikes. That plan created only three districts where Hispanics were a clear majority. That’s the map we live with today: six districts where whites are predominant and four in which blacks are predominant. And that’s where the trouble will start: the new map’s turns parts of Pleasant Grove into a Hispanic district. And it melds council members and political arch enemies Dwaine Caraway and Vonciel Jones Hill into the same Oak Cliff district.
The city has to redraw district lines every 10 years to reflect demographic changes in the city. The U.S. Department of Justice has final approval. And thank GOD for that.
This is the same city council that brought us a property tax increase last year, and remains, in my opinion, divisive and a bunch of adversaries who tend to focus on what they can do for themselves, not the city. All they want to do is grab as much as they can from the city budget and let the “rich” — that is, anyone north of Highland Park, pay for it.
As I said on DallasDirt last year when I opposed the tax increase: keep that up, and soon you will lose your rich. They will leave, pack up and move as much as possible to Park Cities with lower taxes and quality schools, lower crime, or north to Plano, Richardson and McKinney.
Apologize in advance if I offend anyone, but in fact, I hate our 14-1 system and find it basically dysfunctional. It converted the city council from 15 people working together for the good of the city and being forward-focused towards solutions and growth to what we have now: gridlock. Or Washington, D.C. As a reader put it to me recently in an email, “the Dallas City Council became the world’s worst micromanagers, meddling in microscopic details in the Departments’ operations and seeking to get relatives and constituents jobs and contracts for the same.”
“Instead of only reporting to the city manager, each Department head now had 16 bosses, an impossible situation,” he wrote.
“The Departments turned a deaf ear to residents, responding only to inquiries from city council persons, whose job went from looking ten to twenty years in the future for the collective good of the city into replicating the job of an administrative assistant. ”
We manage this city by crisis mode, hence our high property taxes. So the initial question: how will this redistricting plan affect Dallas real estate values? If this new plan brings on a spirit of cooperation on the council and abolishes turf wars, erases the notion that every deficit must be paid for by North Dallas with increased taxes, I think it will help. If not, well, we sure don’t need anything else to HURT with property values. Washington, D.C is doing it’s own number on that one.
Welcome your thoughts, and tell me if you disagree!