The Austin Chronicle

Travis Redistricting on Deck

By Lee Nichols, July 15, 2011, News

Redistricting battles aren't just for the Legislature; the Travis County Commissioners Court took up the topic at its Tuesday meeting. After taking input at previous public hearings, consultants presented a commissioners map that would have its biggest effects in precincts 1, 2, and 3 (represented by Ron Davis, Sarah Eckhardt, and Karen Huber, respectively). Basically, Eckhardt would give up Pflugerville to Davis, while a good chunk of far West Austin (including Steiner Ranch) would switch from Huber to Eckhardt. Huber, although absent from the meeting, presented an alternate map that would move precincts 101 and 106 in far east Travis from Davis to Precinct 4's Margaret Gomez. Several East Austinites, apparently motivated by an email from Davis, showed up to speak against that map and support either the consultants' map or Davis' own submission. Some speakers asked that Precinct 1 be kept exactly as it is, arguing that redistricting should be not merely about population numbers, but also about East Austin's history. Eckhardt countered: "Redistricting cannot be about sitting commissioners. It must be about the next 10 years. ... While we certainly want to preserve our history, we don't want to do it at the expense of our current circumstances." The court also discussed constable and justice of the peace districts but took no action.

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