But if Lake Highlands residents let the redistricting committee know that’s not OK, the “radical” proposal could be dropped before it gets too far, say those in the know.

Every ten years or so, following the U.S. Census, municipalities all around undergo redistricting. Census results reveal fluctuation in population over the last ten years, and the main point of redistricting is to ensure that there are about the same amount of residents in each of the city’s voting districts. Dallas’ criteria also demands minority representation.

Several weeks ago we held a roundtable discussion here at the Advocate about Lake Highlands past, present and future. One of our guests was former District 10 councilman Alan Walne, who explained to us that District 10 is roughly drawn around the Lake Highlands High School attendance zone.

It makes sense, he says, because the high school (and Richardson ISD schools, for that matter) is a common interest within District 10 that bonds the community. He also points out that District 10, as it is, is a minority-majority district. About 60% minority population, he believes.

Anyone can propose a district map, and about 30 have been submitted, but Walne is concerned about one map in particular, submitted by commissioners Domingo Garcia, Billy Ratcliff and Brooks Love, which proposes drastically splitting up the Lake Highlands area.

According to a CBS story, Garcia “wants to realign sections of Lake Highlands. He said his plan imagines the bigger picture, one that would (also) redefine Pleasant Grove and bring the fractured West Dallas together.”

Because it is the work of three commissioners, the map in question (dubbed the Unity Map) could hold some weight, Walne says. Breaking up Lake Highlands would be a “travesty,” he says, a claim he explains thoroughly in a note to the redistricting committee, which I have included in full after the jump.

Basically, what the LH community needs to do, he says is let the committee know that this is unacceptable.

“The commission seeks public input,” he says. “If they don’t hear from us, they will assume its OK and it might be seriously considered.” He notes that several public meetings will be held during the process (one tonight); during this stage, it is probably enough to send an e-letter, as he did, to redallas11@dallascityhall.com, or send a letter by fax at 214.670.5798.

Walne was on the council during the last redistricting and he says that traditionally, changes are minor tweaks, not major changes, as proposed in the Unity Map.

“The silly thing about this is the radical nature of it. There has never been anything like it.” View Walne’s letter to the commission members after the jump.

Dear Commission Members’

In reviewing the submissions of redistricting maps I have become increasingly alarmed that District 10 is being carved up with no considerations for community of interest or “home town feel”.  Lake Highlands-virtually all of District 10- is a unique entity within a very large city.  We have been able to develop and maintain a hometown feel by bringing the District together in a very complicated but not so complicated way.   Lake Highlands High School services almost all residents of District 10.  The District is among the most diverse in the city and we make it work because we work together for all in the neighborhood.  Audelia Creek and Thurgood Marshall Elementary Schools were created through partnership with the City of Dallas and the Richardson School District achieved by the District 10 council members because of the common interest of the voters of the District.  

The Lake Highlands Jr. Women’s League has worked with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department to install a pavilion and spray ground with hundreds of thousands of dollars donated privately through the efforts of the council members and voters of the district.  The Lake Highlands Exchange Club and Lake Highlands Women’s League have awarded over a hundred thousand dollars in scholarships a year for many years now to deserving students from Lake Highlands high School of all backgrounds but predominately at risk children-because there is a strong feel of community and union. We make diversity work.

To carve up Lake Highlands would be a travesty and something that would do irreparable harm.  Please keep the Lake Highlands attendance zone in one City Council District.

Respectfully

Alan Walne, former District 10 Councilmember