SAN ANTONIO – District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez is pushing to keep the northern half of Brackenridge Park in his East Side council district as the city prepares to reset the boundaries of its 10 city council districts.
The city is required to reexamine its council district map after every decennial U.S. Census to ensure each district has approximately the same number of residents. The city council will ultimately have to approve the new map, but it has given the hands-on work of redrawing the boundaries to an advisory committee composed of 23 council appointees.
On Wednesday, the Redistricting Advisory Committee’s co-chairs presented the committee’s first draft of a new map to the city council. Though most council members had either supportive or neutral comments about the draft plan’s boundaries, McKee-Rodriguez pushed back against the only proposed change to his district.
Brackenridge Park is currently split between District 1 and District 2 along East Mulberry Avenue. The proposed map would place it entirely within District 1 by removing the only two precincts in the district that are fully to the west of Broadway Avenue.
McKee-Rodriguez asked the committee to reconsider the swap. Speaking to reporters after the briefing, he indicated he was worried about the ability to advocate for nearby District 2 neighborhoods like Government Hill or Mahncke Park.
“I don’t want to have an influence over my electability or over my voter base of who that is. What does matter, though, is my seat’s ability -- to whether it’s me or whether it’s a future District 2 councilman -- whether or not my district residents will have a voice in the way that that park shapes out,” McKee-Rodriguez said.
“(District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo) and I have had to coordinate more than a normal set of council members would regarding any one issue. And it would make sense at face value for Brackenridge Park to be in one district,” McKee-Rodriguez said. “But because of the nature of Brackenridge Park and its historical significance and its impact on neighborhoods, this might be one exemption to that.”
Numbers from the 2020 U.S. Census indicated District 1 was one of the smallest districts, population-wise, under the current map. Although the proposed changes would add more than 12,300 residents to the Downtown district, it would still be the smallest of the 10 -- nearly 8,000 people shy of the ideal district size and more than 13,600 short of the largest district, District 8.
The Redistricting Advisory Committee will meet at least four more times before the city council is expected to vote on a final map in June, and the city is still accepting public input into the draft map through Apr. 29.
Co-Chair Bonnie Prosser Elder told KSAT the committee would take “all feedback and deal with all feedback moving forward.”
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