About the ICRC

The Austin Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is charged with drawing ten new single-member City Council district boundaries in compliance with federal and state requirements through an open and transparent process that enables full public consideration and comment. A series of public meetings, including special Public Input Meetings, will be held throughout the months of August through November.

The Commission will work to ensure that the districts are geographically contiguous and compact, minimize the impact on local neighborhoods or communities of interest, use existing election precinct boundaries, and have geographically identifiable boundaries.

Comprised of fourteen diverse citizen volunteers from throughout Austin, selected through a transparent and independent application process, Austin Redistricting’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is committed to informing and hearing from the public throughout this historic process.

Update: On November 18, 2013, the Commission voted unanimously to approve a final map. You may view that map in detail on the Interactive Final Map or print out a copy of the Official Final Map. On November 25, 2013, the Commission certified the maps and the Final Certified Plan was presented to the City on November 26, 2013. You may download a copy of the Final Certified Plan as well.

34 thoughts on “About the ICRC

  1. Fellow Austin-ites,
    Although the redistricting was likely intended to represent and share more of the accountability/responsibility of Austin, the mis-matching of neighborhoods specifically Zilker, Downtown and South Austin is divisive. It appears this has been intentional as a tactic to separate and conquer where the mass of the population lives, works and plays.

    I too, am a supporter of business and capitalism as.we all face the continued and inevitable urban sprawl. It is however being overdeveloped and crushing those who are already here at the cost of beckoning 117-170 more people moving to Austin EVERYDAY without the required infrastructure in place. We are already experiencing a water shortage (the obvious example of no water at Lake Travis-thanks in part to the LCRA); cannot lay down enough concrete fast enough for the traffic congestion (expanding the Metro Rail N/S/E/W is the ONLY answer for Austin), while continuing to over tax the Middle Class Property Owner out of their homes to support Builders, Developers and Affordable Housing.

    Increases in taxes, fees and requests for more Bonds brings on the speeches that resort to: at the expense of “the children’s education”. Education/Schools already receive the largest chunk of taxes collected and the benefit of Lottery funding. Oddly, the more money we pour into the education/school fund is resulting in lower attendance and poorer scores; throwing money at a problem rarely solves it. Lastly the tax give-aways to Developers and Businesses, again on the backs of the shrinking middle class, is nothing short of Robbery. At tax payer expense, we build on prime locations only to rent the property to fill the coffers. These tax incentives are not hand ups, they are hand outs and yet the chatter is always about the increased tax revenue collected and jobs created. Businesses will come without such graft, and we provide a good source of reliable workers (represented by the “upper-middle and lower” Middle Class).

    We all understand why people want to come here; the same reason(s) we are here. There is no argument that Austin has and will continue to shift and grow. Austin is NOT: a Smart Growth City in its development and stewardship. Austin needs to be Pro-Active and plan ahead. Leading from behind is costly on all levels; irresponsible and careless.

    Should the selling off of Austin SNAFU continue , the worker-bee Middle Class will feel forced to leave, more schools will close as the number of attendees move with their families and the propped-up businesses will lose their workforce. In case y’all have forgotten, people are everything.

    Grateful to be in Austin,

    Linda Yost

    78704

    Our City Council Members

    Mayor Lee Leffingwell 512-974-2250 512-974-2337
    Mayor Pro Tem: Sheryl Cole (Council Member Place 6) 512-974-2266 512-974-1890
    Council Member Place 1: Chris Riley 512-974-2260 512-974-3212
    Council Member Place 2: Mike Martinez 512-974-2264 512-974-1887
    Council Member Place 3: Kathie Tovo 512-974-2255 512-974-1888
    Council Member Place 4: Laura Morrison 512-974-2258 512-974-1886
    Council Member Place 5: Bill Spelman 512-974-2256 512-974-7655

  2. Please add numbers to the districts on your interactive preliminary map. The colors are not sufficiently different to decipher which district is which.

  3. Dear members of ICRC,

    I understand that the proposed district for Central Austin will end at South Mary St. at the south end of it’s range. This makes no sense as the historic boundary of this are is Oltorf. I live just north of Oltorf on Euclid Avenue and we pay a mighty premium in property taxes for the privilege of doing so. In the strongest sense possible, I ask you to include our area in the Central Austin District for representation at the City Council.

    Respectfully,
    Collin Phillips
    2210 Euclid Avenue
    Austin, TX 78704

  4. Just saw the draft map that puts Mueller Neighborhood in a district with downtown, UT, etc. I also listened to input from several black Eastside residents saying they didn’t want all those white folks in their district. I suggest you look at the way Mueller residents have voted – who they voted for, what they supported, etc and I think you will find that they vote more in sync with most Eastside folks than with other areas.

  5. Having district 7 running along MoPac from Lady Bird Lake does not create a district with one neighborhood community of interest. It looks similar to the gerrymandered U.S. House district I am in (CD 10). Combining the northern portions of districts 7 and 4 into one district, and the southern portion of those two districts into another district would create two more unified districts.

  6. This map still gives central Austin (old Austin) a majority vote. Seven of the ten districts have portion located in central Austin. Needs work.

    1. I agree with Jan’s point. It is unfortunate that one of the directives for the work did not include balancing power more uniformly — away from central (old) Austin. Hopefully much less than 7 out of 10 can be achieved in the end.

  7. The Voting Rights Act protects communities of interest in redistricting.

    Central South Austin, essentially defined by the 78704 zip code and the
    slice of the Travis Heights neighborhood east of IH-35, is perhaps more
    than any other region of the city a community of interest. These
    neighborhoods share a common identity that crosses economic boundaries.
    They meet together, lobby together, and particularly on issues relating
    to City of Austin policy, have much common ground not shared with other
    parts of town, in particular downtown, the campus area, and the Mueller
    development.

    This is especially true where 78704′s interests clash with those of
    areas north of the river. For years many of Central South Austin’s
    issues have been pitted against downtown interests, and our lack of
    representation at City Hall has resulted in a wave of Council
    decisions favoring well-monied downtown and development interests to
    the significant detriment of our neighborhoods. Conjoining 78704 with
    areas north of the river will perpetuate the dominance of downtown
    power over 78704 and continue to render our neighborhoods defenseless
    at City Hall. A far more cohesive district would include all of 78704
    and Travis Heights and the northern portion of 78745.

    The thwarting of communities of interest via gerrymandering is the
    essential problem with the polarization of government in the U.S. The
    Voting Rights Act provides a path for litigation in defense of
    communities of interest which is not as well travelled as the Act’s
    relation to racial equity but is just as valid. I doubt you would
    wish to defend your districting decisions in court, but a decision to
    break up 78704 would be an open invitation for that outcome.

    1. 78704 vs. Downtown is not truly a concern, since both sets of people are monied. Downtown will trump the ’04 because the ’04 is less monied, but both sets are interested in the same final outcome – a harder to access central Austin. Note how parking in ’04 neighborhoods is restricted, but east of I35 cars sprawl all over everyone’s neighborhoods.

      No parking close to city parks downtown due to supposed environmental concerns, no parking downtown itself due to supposed congenstion concerns, and what you get is two different approaches to the same vision – poor people get out.

      Redistricting will do nothing to change any of that. Indeed, the poor had the opportunity for more input under the old system, but money dictates who they hear about, so the point is moot.

    2. I totally agree. I too live in 78704 and our interests can be very different from far south Austin to which it looks like we’ve been attached. Each area has unique needs, interests, issues, and to break up 78704, a cohesive area as I see it, breaks that up. I just don’t get why this was done and approved. Logic would show otherwise.

  8. Please do not lump South Austin neighborhoods in with the downtown populations.
    We will lose our very important identity. Rethink this redistricting plan and consider
    who it will affect!

  9. Why is all of the Steiner Ranch area shown in proposed District 10? When was all of Steiner Ranch annexed into the City of Austin — even if for limited purposes? The Annexation maps show that only a portion of the Steiner Ranch Area is within the full or limited purpose boundaries of the City of Austin, yet ALL is shown in proposed District 10?? Please clarify.

  10. As a representative on our West Austin Neighborhood Association board, I participated in the several years of meetings and work on the Central West Austin Neighborhood Plan which was adopted by City Council. It is disappointing that the proposed District 7 does NOT include certain areas that are covered in the CWANP. Please try to adjust the boundaries so that the areas south of West 35th and west of Scenic Drive that are part of the CWANP are in District 7, rather than another district. There are also areas east of MoPac that are in the CWANP but are excluded from District 7 — and hopefully may be a part of District 7 in the final district map.

    I also note that the proposed District 7 is about 17 MILES LONG – which seems a LONG distance for one proposed district.

    Sincerely, Mary Arnold

  11. The gerrymandered district 7 is so badly designed. I agree with the poster above who recommends joining the north part with Region 4. It’s a bad idea to try to unit people who live along Lamar to out south. There is no precedence for joining these neighborhoods together.

  12. It is very hard to draw districts which are roughly equal in population, contiguous, compact, represent communities of common interest, and comply with Federal Civic Rights law in minority representation. So I can understand that compromises must be made.

    However the proposed map has severe problems, in particular in breaking up 78704 in order to add population to other districts (or perhaps to keep minorities together).

    It is unfortunate that this site has not published the demographic data used to build these particular district boundaries, otherwise we might be able to understand your problems better.

    However there are two points I wish to make:

    1) The population of Austin has increased from 790,390 in 2010 Census to 842,750 in April 2013. By January 2015 when the first council based on the new maps will meet, it is likely to be around 870,000. New maps should reflect that change: building maps based on 2010 populations will under-represent the growing suburbs, downtown residents, and newly annexed areas, and over-represent many inner city areas where redevelopment is replacing large households with more affluent but generally smaller households.

    2) The 2010 Census showed a huge exodus of African American and Hispanics from East Austin between 2000 and 2010. For “Central East Austin” (bounded by I35, Lady Bird Lake, US 183 and US 290 East) African Americans fell by 27%, Hispanics by 9%, and whites increased by 40%, causing whites to overtake African Americans as the second largest racial group. We know that this trend has continued as gentrification proceeds rapidly. Similarly 78704 has seen a large exodus of Hispanic families (reflected in falling school rolls). Attempting to construct “minority” districts on the basis of where minorities used to live, without taking into account where they have moved to, will result in districts that will not have the expected numbers of minority voters and so may disenfranchise minority voters.

  13. Good final point, Paul. In general, “opportunity districts” have the unfortunate but mathematically necessary impact of reducing opportunities elsewhere. So what seems like a good thing (e.g. guaranteeing one African-American “opportunity”) actually turns into a limit. This would be an especially serious problem were the opportunity districts themselves ineffective.

  14. After reading the 10 things I need to know about the redistricting, a lot of attention is being paid to the “diversity” of who lives where. My question is WHY. This is about representing the people of Austin not special interests. If you want to move “past” discrimination, disparity, fair representation. We are just people – all the same, registered voters, with unique individualized ideas of how we want to live in Austin. Human kind gets lost in translation using statics and
    “bean counting”.

  15. The web site says “a copy of the Austin redistricting data by precinct that the ICRC is using in its maps” has been made available for download. This data is a spreadsheet with 247 rows, one for each voting precinct. The first column (A) is the precinct name (labelled BLOCKS_PNT). Columns E, G, and H are also this same value — the precinct name. The first letter is the county: Travis (T), Williamson (W), Hays (H) and Bastrop (B). and then the precinct number within that county. T-218 is precinct 218 in Travis County; not to be confused with W-218, precinct 218 in Williamson County.

    Column B (SUM_BLOCKS) is the population in the precinct. If you sum them all up, you get 797,826, which is presumably the official 2010 Census population for Austin.

    The rest of the columns (from A all the way to Z, then AA to IU, 255 columns!) are possibly racial and ethnic counts. Some of these are empty (1230), most are zero (41,644 entries). They range from 0 to 15,637. If you add them all up, they total 9,048,765, about 11.34 times more than the population, so they are probably not just splitting the population ethnically.

    1. The totals provided are correct. Please note that because of how the Census was conducted, the same individual can appear in more than one column. e.g. Races White and Black as well as 2 Races. That accounts for the 9M+ number. The following document from the Census Bureau provides a more detailed explanation. http://www.census.gov/rdo/pdf/pl94-171.pdf Please refer to Appendix B. Definitions of Subject Characteristics.

  16. Dear ICRC ;
    Again people are trying to separate Palomino Park from Shady Hollow and Circle C. We are part of Bowie High School community. This is a matter of Rocking Horse Road, Gray Buck Road, Hackamore Road and Amber Oak Road. We are at the corner of Brodie and Slaughter. Do not cut us out of district 8. Do not include us in District 5. District 5 is not our community and never has been. I have lived here for 37 years. Voting should be done by community.
    My children went to school in Circle C, Shady Hollow and then Bowie High School (right next to were we live). All the relationships are with people in those communities.

  17. Wow, the Commission ran out of steam tonight. That map’s a real doozie! If you all liked their Preliminary Map, you’re gonna ‘love’ their Map of Nov. 6th! LOL!!! Next Hearings for Public Input Nov. 13 at the Elk’s Lodge in South Austin and Nov. 14 at the Millennium in East Austin. Let ‘em Have It!

  18. While I appreciate the time the Commission has invested in forming a new district map for Austin, it is clear from looking at the proposed map that neither the requirement that the districts be “compact” nor that respect for the cultural and geographic “communities of interest” has been observed.

    The central areas have been diced up like Tom Delay tomatoes! Speaking as a resident of South Central Austin, I would almost think that whoever drew the map isn’t even from Austin, since the boundaries in no way respect the community of common interests that anyone involved with urban neighborhood issues knows the area to be. The SC area is now divided into not 2, but 3 districts, placing the entire southeast quadrant with areas that share the concerns of far, far east residents. This is unacceptable, especially when there has been a map proposed that respects communities of interest throughout the city, creating much more compact districts, while also creating the minority districts that are needed.

    To the Committee Members: Please take another look and revamp the central districts, especially the South Central area — it’s simply a mess as is (as in TX leg gerimandering), and there are better options that have been proposed –ie, the Compact District Coalition’s proposal that keeps the entire South Central community in a single district and better respects much more of Austin as a fabric of smaller communities of interest, all the while creating the necessary minority districts.

    Sincerely,
    Kathryn Kawazoe

  19. Dear members of ICRC,
    Living in far South Austin (78748), I feel our district should not proceed north of Ben White. I support returning to the maps drawn on Sept 28th. It keeps the districts more in line with their communities in with we live, work and play.

    Sincerely
    Carolyn Gilbert
    78748

  20. How utterly disappointing. While I understand some boundary line issues were very difficult to parse out, others however, were VERY simple and straight forward to resolve.

    I feel the committee failed to distinguish between simple and complicated requests. I personally had only one simple request: don’t place the district boundary line down a a quiet RESIDENTIAL street. All that was asked was to move the boundary south two blocks (from 53rd St) to 51st or north six or 8 blocks to Koenig Lane in order to establish a boundary line that is a more naturally-occuring geographic boundary line.

    How hard is that?

  21. Now that the map is complete, I would ask the commission to complete one more task as a record of the experience and a clear articulation of the rules and values that they considered to render the final map.

    Can you please gather and order the input data used (census info., precinct boundaries, roadway maps, geographic features, utility commonalities, school boundaries and etc.) to influence district grouping. Then please articulate the rules and guidelines and their order of prioritization that lead to the final boundaries.

    For example:
    ————–
    #1: districts must have equivalent total populations +- 10%
    #2: boundaries will not divide school districts or such a division will not represent less than 10% of the school district population
    …..
    #xxxx Precinct ABC is placed in district #X because of the railroad track and roadway access conditions and electric utility service provider naturally physically group it with X, despite contra-indications of preceding rules regarding school districts and ….
    —————–

    The goal would be to collect the input data and definition of the goals for the districts so that any 3rd party beginning with this common information would reproduce similar district maps.

    I ask this as I was struck that even in the final public meeting there was no obvious ability by those justifying a given map configuration from those questioning the placement of their precinct in a given district to state what value or characteristic of the precinct was trumping a citizen’s issue (i.e. honoring taxing authorities’ boundaries or Neighborhood Association boundaries is more important than honoring MUD or fire service boundaries).
    My hope is that any subsequent district definition effort discussions will clearly focus on the priority of community interests rather than on the detailed history of a neighborhood or an individual’s unique concern.

    Thank you for your efforts,
    Matt Weldon

  22. I live west of South First Street, and South of William Cannon. What do I have in common with the airport area? Will I be asked to support a city council member that knows about airplanes and runways. For me; just draw the line straight down South First Street.

  23. Question: How does this affect businesses? Especially in district #6. I’ve noticed a huge change since end of 2012 – almost as though the retail owners had future insight. j/s

  24. So like um, where’s your meeting gonna be on Jan. 8th?

    Hope you all plan on sharing your ‘final report.’ Might help to let the public comment on a draft of the final report before it is ‘final,’ as there are many things about this process that neither the Commissioners nor your Legal Counsel know about.

    AO

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