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Monday, February 20, 2012

City Redistricting is More Than Lines on a Map

Provided by Contributing writer Lora Lucero.

Albuquerque City CouncilThe Albuquerque City Council is poised to take final action on Wednesday, February 22, on its preferred plan for carving up the nine city council districts.

The Council does this every 10 years following the US Census to make sure that we adhere to the "one person, one vote" goal.   Clearly, most of the city's growth in the past decade has occurred on the West Side, thanks to our leaders' pro-sprawl policies. And so it's time for the people of the West Side to have a third council district.

There are many ways to skin this cat, but it appears the five Republican councilors have decided "Plan L" is the map du jour.  "Plan L" essentially eliminates District 3 by squishing Districts 2 & 3 together, creating a "small nation" says Councilor Debbie O'Malley who represents District 2.

The problem with Plan L District 2 is the impact it would have on representation for downtown Albuquerque.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have approximately 30% of the city's "poor" and "very poor" streets; along  with approximately 40% of the city's 5-year road rehab projects.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have 23 of the city's 27 redevelopment areas.  Nearly 25% of the GO Bond projects would fall into a single district.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have the vast majority of low income census tracts and all of the federally-designated "pockets of poverty."

That means one councilor would be advocating for the needs of 30-40% of the crumbling infrastructure; for 85% of the redevelopment projects; and for the majority of low-income residents of Albuquerque.

The goal ideally is to create 9 districts with equal population numbers --- approximately 60,675 people. But "Plan L" would shift more people into District 2 and, with 63,508 people, the new District 2 would have the greatest deviation from the ideal.  4.7%

Something to think about ..... not just for those of us who live downtown, but for the entire city.

In a nutshell, what the 5 Republican Councilors want is to protect their solid Republican-voting districts while diluting the representation of the minorities and poor people who live in District 3.  This results in a geographic bias in favor of the predominately white, middle-upper class neighborhoods in the NE Heights.

Shameful!

The entire city depends on a strong historic core with a vibrant downtown.

There are other ways to draw the lines on the map so that we don't slight the voters who live downtown, and don't weaken the representation and advocacy that a thriving city requires in its downtown core.

Contact your City Councilor and the Mayor ---- and let them know that "Plan L" stinks.  They can do much better.  COrtega@cabq.gov 

February 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM in City of Albuquerque, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Redistricting | Permalink

Comments

Please all come to the meeting on Feb. 22, 5 PM in City Council chambers, basement of City Hall at 5th and Marquette. Plan L and the politics of it is shameful.

Posted by: bg | Feb 21, 2012 11:36:01 AM

I'm hearing from alot of people who are incensed and/or baffled by the city council's support for Plan L.

I hope that is being translated into messages to the Mayor and City Council.

Posted by: Lora Lucero | Feb 21, 2012 6:30:35 PM

The results of redistricting no doubt have political implications, but that does not mean that a specific map was drawn with political purposes in mind. Map "L" is almost the exact map as Map "A". Map "A" was drawn by Research & Polling - a third party non-partisan consulting group. The map was drawn to give a full west side council district to the west side according to population increases, and meets all the requirements and guidelines. Map A and L are the same except for one precinct that crosses the river. West siders have made it clear that wasn't acceptable. I would challenge anyone to give evidence that the council drew this map and moved it forward with partisan political "draconian" motives. It's just not true.

Posted by: Dan Lewis | Feb 29, 2012 1:19:33 AM