Friends, Two days ago (November 29, 2021) I emailed you with an update about Fort Worth City Council redistricting and meetings by the Redistricting Task Force tomorrow (Dec. 2) and on December 8. See my previous email below. Those meetings have been CANCELLED. At this point, I don’t know mush more than that. When I do, I’ll pass that information to you. Many, many thanks.
Fort Worth City Council Redistricting UPDATE November 29, 2021 Friends, First of all, I hope everyone is had a good Thanksgiving weekend!
As many of you know, Fort Worth City Council redistricting continues and we are entering a very critical period. But before I get into that and to refresh your memory, please allow me to explain why we are involved in this effort and summarize what has happened up to this point. I have been working with the United Hispanic Council on Fort Worth city council redistricting because many of us believe that a more diverse city council that better reflects the composition of the city’s population will benefit everyone in Fort Worth. Without getting too much into the details, which I’ve already done many times, every segment of the population deserves a voice in our city government. This has been a long-term goal of ours at the United Hispanic Council, other groups and individuals. We led the effort to increase the size of the city council from 8 to 10 districts; amending the city’s charter was approved by the voters in 2016. After the 2020 Census, several of us have spent 100s of hours on redistricting. We pushed hard for an Independent Redistricting commission (IRC) to draw city council district maps. One of the arguments used to justify an IRC was that map drawing by previous city councils was mainly done behind closed doors, in a non-transparent manner—to protect the interests of incumbents.
Unfortunately, we lost the battle for an IRC or a hybrid IRC. Instead of creating an IRC, the city council appointed a “Redistricting Task Force” to make recommendations to them about what criteria they are to use to draw the city’s map. We, again, lobbied hard for an IRC at that group’s many public hearings to no avail. Involved in this lobbying effort aside from the United Hispanic Council, were members of Fort Worth Citizens for Independent Redistricting, members of United Fort Worth, other groups and individuals. Although the city council didn’t agree to create an IRC, it did agree to do their own map drawing in a “transparent” manner; in other words, at meetings open to the public. And, significantly, in my opinion, the city council has reappointed the same Redistricting Task Force to draw the city map and present it to them for possible approval. The Redistricting Task Force will evaluate 19 maps, including the map submitted by the city council itself (see the first link below, which is the city council’s last map drawing session before submitting their map to the Redistricting Task Force). The Redistricting Task Force, guided by the advice of a law firm with expertise in redistricting hired by the city, will evaluate the maps using specific criteria (including the map submitted by the city council) and allocate points to each one based on how well they meet each of the criterions in the criteria they have to follow.
Access the last meeting of the Redistricting Task Force on the second link below. It’s a long meeting almost four hours long, but worth watching because it will give you a feel about what the task force is doing. And the task will have another meeting this coming Thursday, Dec. 2). The final meeting of the task force is Dec, 8 and based on what happens on December 2, we speak at that one.The United Hispanic Council submitted two maps; Pablo Calderon submitted two maps and there are 15 others, which are all on-line for viewing by anyone. Again, the second link below is of last week’s Redistricting Task Force meeting City Council Meeting: https://youtu.be/Bx5bGVkNIScTask Force Meeting: https://youtu.be/UhP7Mz33zEAAll city council redistricting information can be found at the city’s website. It has up to date information: https://www.fortworthtexas.gov/government/redistricting Many, many thanks to everyone for your help with city council redistricting. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this. Fernando Florez 817-239-0578