San Antonio – San Antonio’s council district map has to change. The question that remains is by how much?
An advisory committee composed of council appointees has created a first draft of a new map based on the 2020 U.S. Census numbers. The map, which would shift the boundaries of every city council district except District 3 on the South Side, will be presented to the San Antonio City Council on Wednesday.
Council districts have to contain roughly the same number of people, and the city charter requires the map be redrawn after each decennial census.
The 2020 U.S. Census shows the council district map that was approved in 2012 has become lopsided in the past decade. Far more of the city’s 1.4 million residents now live in districts like Districts 8 and 9, than in District 1 downtown or District 5 on the West Side.
Per the 2020 U.S. Census numbers, the ideal size for a district would be 143,494 people, and the overall deviation from that ideal size has to be less than 10 percent between the smallest and largest districts.
The current map has an overall deviation of 34.6 percent, while the proposed map would bring it down to 9.5 percent.
Under this draft plan, District 8 on the Northwest Side would lose the most people, dropping nearly 20,300 residents, while District 5 would pick up a little over 20,000.
City Attorney Andy Segovia believes the committee has done a “great job” creating a map, and the city is trying to be as “least disruptive” as possible and honor natural boundaries and neighborhoods.
He acknowledges, though, not everyone will like the proposed map.
“People that are going to change from one district to another, they’re very passionate about keeping the status quo. But in this exercise, that’s the one option that doesn’t work is maintaining the status quo,” Segovia said.
Though city council is responsible for adopting a new map, it has left it to the 23 members of the new Redistricting Advisory Committee to actually draw it. The committee first met in November 2021, though it began working in earnest in January.
“We thought that, given the fact that we have all the council members now running for election at the same time, it would be good to have an advisory committee so that a lot of the political pressures would be mitigated,” Segovia said.
Depending on city council and residents’ feedback, there could be more drafts to come. Committee co-chair Bonnie Prosser-Elder said she “dare not speculate” on whether this draft could ultimately be the final one.
“The map that’s going to council is still in a public comment period. So I don’t think it’s fair -- or right -- to take a position that it’s final. It’s still in a position of receiving comment,” she said.
Segovia said the city’s timeline has the council voting on a final map in June to allow time for potential candidates to know in which district they would end up running. Candidates have to live in a district for at least six months, he said.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- Carver Library, 3350 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78220
- Central Library, 600 Soledad St, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Igo Library, 13330 Kyle Seale Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78249
- La Palmas Library, 515 Castroville Rd, San Antonio, TX 78237
- Mission Library, 3134 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, TX 78214
- Westfall Library, 6111 Rosedale, San Antonio, TX 78201
The city is also accepting questions and comments through 311 and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The redistricting advisory committee is scheduled to meet at least four more times:
- Saturday, April 23, at 10:00 a.m. - Northeast Service Center “The Tool Yard,” 10303 Tool Yard, 78284
- Monday, May 2, at 6:00 p.m. - Northeast Senior Center, 4135 Thousand Oaks, 78217
- Tuesday, May 10, at 6:00 p.m. - Ron Darner Park Headquarters – Barrera Room, 5800 Enrique Barrera Pkwy, 78227
- Tuesday, May 31, at 2:00 p.m. - Municipal Plaza, B Room
A community meeting is also scheduled shortly after Wednesday’s council meeting:
- Wednesday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. – District 1 Redistricting Town Hall at Victory Center, 1819 N Main Ave.