Thursday, January 27, 2022

Davis: New year, new Denton City Council districts

If you live in southwestern Denton, you woke up the morning of December 15th with a different City Council Member than you had the night before.

Despite hearing from nearly 250 affected citizens who opposed the change, the City Council adopted a new district map on December 14th. The biggest changes are between Districts 3 and 4. More information and the new district map can be found at https://tinyurl.com/mufpk6wv.

It has been my joy and honor to represent southwestern Denton, and I am profoundly disappointed in the political actions that changed that—at least for now. But I will continue to be a voice for you and all of District 3 on the council, even as some of my colleagues disregard you. I’m not going anywhere.

Why did the districts change? Partisan political shenanigans. Every 10 years, city councils in Texas have the opportunity—but not the obligation—to redraw district boundaries using new census data. We are only legally required to redistrict if overall population deviation (the difference between the most populous district and the least) is over 10 percent, OR if districts unfairly dilute votes by race, age, etc.

For example, when Denton redistricted in 2010 population deviation was 60 percent. This was indisputably in need of correction. By contrast, even given our explosive population growth over the last 10 years, deviation was less than 8 percent under the existing map. We had no legal need to redistrict in Denton.

Nonetheless, a majority of council members tried to gild the lily. To do so, they moved roughly 26,000 people to new City Council districts to be represented by someone they did not elect last May. The key to their plan was moving Robson Ranch, the Hills of Argyle neighborhood, and everything in between from District 3 into District 4. In other words, packing reliably conservative precincts into arguably the most conservative council district.

These drastic moves were obviously aimed at creating a very conservative District 4 and very liberal Districts 1, 2 and 3. The liberal majority denied this, saying that their only goal was to lower deviation and improve the map. So, I proposed a map that lowered the deviation even lower (to roughly 4 percent) and did everything they asked for, with one exception: I left Robson Ranch and southwestern Denton in District 3.

More than 350 citizens voiced their opinion. Nearly 250 urged the council not to redistrict or to adopt my compromise map. About another 100 people said they preferred the majority’s map. However, NONE of those people live in the precincts that moved to District 4. Unfortunately the same council members who claim deference to public input did exactly the opposite of what the affected public asked them to do.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me on these issues and any others before the Denton City Council. You can reach me by email at jesse.da[email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you, and I’ll see you around town!

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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