Public forum opens Austin's 10-1 districting plan


by MORGAN CHESK / KVUE News and Photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 5 at 8:44 AM

AUSTIN -- Voters made their stance clear on Nov. 6, voting to split the city into 10 districts with one at-large mayor. That was the easy part.

No matter how you slice it, when it comes to splitting up a city, there's little room for cutting corners. Tuesday evening marked step one since voters passed Austin's 10-1 district plan.

A conference room packed no shortage of opinions on how to do it.

"They're changing the face of East Austin," said Ira Lewis as he spoke out against the current at large system. "They're robbing us of our heritage and our culture."

"There's never been a city council member from Southeast Austin," said James Ritter. 

The city said its goal is equal representation and accountability, but first, comes the cutting.

"The intent is to make sure that it's a fair selection that's representative of the city," said City of Austin Auditor Kenneth Mory. 

Mory said a 14-member citizen commission will draw the boundary lines for the city's new districts. Those members will be selected by another three person panel assembled in a random drawing. If all goes according to plan, districts should be set by April 2014 in time for the November election.

"We think we've got a good process in place," said Mory. "There'll be some tweaking, but overall I think we can make the deadline."

There is still plenty of time for anyone interested in the process to take part. In February the auditor's office will hold sessions on how to apply for the citizen commission.

We've included a link to the city's website on districting here

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