VOL. 126 | NO. 133 | Monday, July 11, 2011
Council Redistrict Proposal Shakes Up Dists. 1 And 7
By Bill Dries
Memphis City Council members have a redistricting proposal that would change council districts 1 and 7 the most.
The redistricting proposal required by the once a decade census was submitted Friday evening, July 8, by council attorney Allan Wade.
Wade has submitted the plan for redrawing district boundary lines based on the 2010 census which shows an essentially static city population that shifted from the western part of the city to the eastern part of the city.
“Because the lower populated districts are not contiguous to districts 1 and 2, population had to be shifted from district to district westward,” Wade wrote in his letter to the council. “This is like a game of dominos.”
Maps to go with the plan are still to come as the council nears an expected vote on the plan at its July 19 session. The vote would be two days before the noon July 21 filing deadline for candidates in the Oct. 6 city elections. All 13 city council seats are on the ballot.
All 12 sitting council members are expected to seek re-election including district 1 incumbent Bill Morrison, who has already filed his qualifying petition.
District 1 would lose five precincts, all from Frayser. They are the precincts that vote at the following locations on election day:
Whitney Elementary School, North Frayser Community Center on St. Elmo, Frayser High School, Lucie Campbell Elementary School on Birchfield and Georgian Hills Jr. High School.
All five precincts would be shifted to council district 7 which in past redistrictings has picked up parts of Frayser and Raleigh.
District 7, the one seat on the council in which an incumbent is not seeking re-election, would lose three precincts covering Midtown and part of Downtown including the South Main and South Bluffs areas, but not Mud Island. Those precincts would move to council district 6.
And if the council approves the plan as is, it would take three of the dozen prospective candidates out of the race for the seat formerly held by Barbara Swearengen Ware.
Derek Richardson lives at Madison and Front St. and thus within district 6 under the proposal. So does Ricky Floyd who lives near Central Station. Kelly Price, with an address on Pauline near Madison, is also in district 6 under the plan.
To date, only David Vinciarelli has filed to run in the race. But the race is the largest in terms of prospective contenders.
In his cover letter to council members, Wade said the plan moved 17 voting precincts among the seven single member district and seven precincts between the two council super districts that divide the city in half.
The single member district populations range from 89,387 to 95,273. The highs and lows are within the five percent variance allowed under federal redistricting requirements and case law since the late 1960s on redrawing district boundaries to reflect the one person-one vote principle.
Seven single member districts have an African-American population of more than 75 percent in keeping with the requirements of 1995 federal voting rights requirements that guard against the dilution of black voting strength.
Super district 8 would retain its 85-10 percent black majority.
Super district 9 would go from a nearly even 45-45 percent racial split to 48 percent majority white.
Council district 1's African-American majority would drop from 61.5 percent to 54.7 percent under the proposal.
District 7's black majority would go from 69.3 percent to 76 percent.
And district 6 sees the only other similarly sized percentage change in racial composition from 96.1 percent black to 88.9 percent black.
Here are the rest of the proposed changes.
District 2, covering the eastern most part of the city including the part of Cordova annexed by the city, would see the precincts that vote at White Station Middle School, Kirby Middle School and Hickory Hill Community Center moved to district 1 in the case of White Station and district 3 in the case of Kirby and the community center.
The shift of the last two completes an evolution from past council redistricting in which the then newly annexed Hickory Hill area was split between two council districts.
District 3 would lose the precinct that votes at Wooddale High School to district 4.
District 4’s Harding Academy precinct on Cherry Road in East Memphis is moved to district 5.
District 5 is the least changed council district with no shift of its existing precincts and the addition of the Harding precinct adding 2,372 citizens
District 6 would drop part of a split precinct to district 4.