Latino Leaders Threaten to Sue Over Dallas Redistricting Map - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Latino Leaders Threaten to Sue Over Dallas Redistricting Map



    Latino leaders say they are not happy with the redistricting map approved by the Dallas City Council after an all-day meeting.

    The City Council has been mulling redistricting maps for months after the 2010 Census showed explosive growth in Latino residents in Dallas.

    In the compromise map approved by a 9-6 vote, African-Americans will keep four black-opportunity districts and Latinos will gain an additional Hispanic-majority seat.  (See the map adopted by city hall here)

    Latino leaders had pushed for two more Hispanic-majority districts for a total of five.

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    "We have three Hispanic seats currently," Councilwoman Delia Jasso said. "Our goal was to add two to those three. We added one -- I think that's not a defeat."

    But Jasso predicted that Latino critics of the compromise would file a lawsuit against the map.

    The meeting began at 9 a.m., and big differences remained between the two sides throughout the day. Competing proposals had called for either four majority districts each for blacks and Latinos or a split of five Latino-majority districts and three African-American districts.

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    [DFW] Showdown Over Dallas Political Power
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    "I will not be regressing when we've already lost a seat," Councilwoman Carolyn Davis said.

    "But I want you to know that I am just as passionate to make sure that we have five districts that represent the 42 percent Hispanics in this city," Jasso said.

    Reuniting Pleasant Grove, which was divided among four black districts last time but is now heavily Hispanic, was a key goal. But the Census also showed big Latino increases in many neighborhoods that were once black.

    Jasso; Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano; Councilwomen Angela Hunt, Monica Alonzo and Sandy Greyson; and Councilman Scott Griggs voted against the map approved Wednesday night.

    The 2010 Census showed that while the city's overall population remained about the same as in 2000, the Hispanic population dramatically increased. Hispanics now comprise 42 percent of the Dallas' population. The African-American population dropped to 25 percent, and the white non-Hispanic population was at 29 percent.

    "This is the plan that I voted for because I believe it has the greatest chance for the Hispanic vote, the African-American vote and keeping as many neighborhoods together as we can," Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

    Two districts currently held by white council members would be mostly black or Latino under the new map.

    "It's not about the person, it's about how many doors your knock on, and how aggressive you are and how passionate you are to be a public servant," Councilman Tennell Atkins said.

    The redistricting map must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.