A month after the first redistricting design led to protests from Houston's Hispanic community, Mayor Annise Parker unveiled a modified plan Tuesday morning at City Hall.
Flanked by two dozen members of City Council and members of the community, Parker dubbed the new version a "consensus map" and touted its appeal across all populations. It was conceived and modified after more than 1,000 Houstonians attended the town hall meetings on the subject and over a dozen potential maps were submitted.
The biggest changes concern southwest Houston, where Parker acknowledged there had been an "explosion" in Hispanic population.
In the new map, district "J," a new district extending through Montrose, the medical center and the Heights, has been redubbed District C, and instead of extending south on Main to traditionally African-American areas, it now follows Braeswood west and includes a large swath of Meyerland.
District F, which contains much of the city's Asian population, has been moved mostly outside of Beltway 8 with exceptions around Bellaire and Harwin, adding significant land west of Highway 6. This makes room for a new, high-density District J along Highway 59 between Loop 610 and Beltway 8, a Hispanic-leaning district that combines Sharpstown and Gulfton.
Parker said the modified map reflects Houston's diversity, with a present Hispanic majority in four districts and a large Hispanic population in two others, a majority African-American district and another district with a near-majority, a district with a large Asian-American population and three predominantly white districts.
Parker was joined at the announcement by Laura Murillo, the president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Rogene Calvert, the director of the Texas Asian American Redistricting Initiative; and Anthony Hall, chair of the Mayor's Redistricting Oversight Committee.
Parker said the new redistricting map will be introduced Wednesday at City Council and could be voted on the same day, or by May 18 at the latest.
Do you like the new map? Are you going to call District C the "hipstrict" (hipster + district) like we are?