Dallas City Council OKs new district map

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on October 5, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 5 at 11:28 PM

DALLAS — The Dallas City Council approved a new redistricting map Wednesday night, but the 9-6 vote came only after heated debate.

Hispanic Council members wanted five seats after census data revealed that Latinos make up 42 percent of the Dallas population and 37 percent of the voting age population.

They got four seats under the approved map.

Council member Delia Jasso was disappointed, but told News 8, it was not a defeat. She expects Hispanic leaders to file a lawsuit.

"Our African-American colleagues were set on four African-American districts, even though their representation doesn't warrant that, in my opinion," Jasso said. "I think putting at risk District 1 — which is a traditional Hispanic seat — is something to be very concerned about."

The new map leaves African-American districts as-is with four seats, despite a dip in population.

Black Council members argued to retain those seats.

"There are four African-Americans at the horseshoe," said Council member Vonciel Jones Hill. "I believe there should be at least four African-Americans to remain. However, I reiterate what I said from the horseshoe — who wins the seats depends on who knocks the most doors and who puts the most leather to the pavement."

The road to a vote led to a war of words, and at one point, some Council members voiced their frustrations.

"This process, mayor, is a slap in the African-Americans' face," said Council member Dwaine Caraway.

The meeting came to a halt earlier in the day after some racial tension and accusations that Mayor Mike Rawlings had not been inclusive and transparent in afternoon negotiations.

Rawlings denied he kept anything from view, and said he followed procedure.

The map approved by the City Council will be sent to the Department of Justice for review.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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