Odd Pairings of Neighborhoods Makes Sense

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 18, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The ICRC gets an A+ for drawing very strong minority districts. Given the Rubik’s Cube nature of drawing districts, it forced districts in white Austin to include some odd pairings of neighborhoods [“Point Austin: It's a Map, Not a Revolution,” News, Nov. 15]. But white Austinites should reflect on Austin’s sad history of racial politics before complaining about that. Rather, where the ICRC slipped was their decision to draw initial districts along the outside edges of the city first. Though not required by the 10-1 charter amendment, this “outside in” approach resulted in the preliminary map’s totally ludicrous districts 7 and 9, and the proposed final map’s somewhat less ludicrous districts 5 and 8. The latter put neighborhoods near Lady Bird Lake in the same district as neighborhoods in Hays County. Huh? What do Lady Bird Lake and Hays County have in common? Common sense, and the neighborhood integrity requirement of the 10-1 charter amendment, dictate that neighborhoods near Lady Bird Lake should be in District 5 running east/west along the south bank of the river. The neighborhoods near Hays County should be in District 8, running east/west from Onion Creek to Oak Hill. That isn’t NIMBYism. Downtown is creeping south across the river. South Central Austin neighborhoods are being retrofitted with high-density development. We’re feeling the traffic and other ill effects of that. Michael King’s understanding of 10-1 is a mile wide and an inch deep. By wanting a council member who can focus on those issues, rather than on Hays County issues, we ask only for what any other neighborhood should have. If what’s happening in our neighborhoods were happening in Windsor Park, he might be so above it all that he doesn’t care, but I guarantee 99% of his Windsor Park neighbors would want something done about it as much as we do.
Tom Nuckols
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