With apologies to Stephen Colbert, on today’s podcast we dig deeper into the city council redistricting process with Bill Betzen, who has been following the process on his blog for months. New population data from the 2010 Census requires a redrawing of the city’s 14 council districts, and some Lake Highlands residents have been concerned that district 10, drawn roughly around the Lake Highlands High School attendance zone, might be split in two.

It looks as though the three maps still on the table (and their amended versions, all of which can be viewed in detail) will leave District 10 in tact. This is good news in Betzen’s view because he is an advocate of “compact” council districts rather than linear, spread out and, he says, “gerrymandered” council districts such as the ones in his neighborhood of Oak Cliff. Betzen, a social studies teacher who submitted his own map to the process (that is now in the final three), tells us what he believes is at stake for both Lake Highlands and Dallas as a whole, explains why bacon strips make bad council districts, and poses the question of whether Lake Highlands is a good or bad community of interest.

We touch on the city budget process and what our neighborhood might stand to lose. (The podcast was recorded before last night’s budget town hall meeting at the Lake Highlands Freshman Center, but other budget meetings are scheduled.) If you can’t make the meetings, take a look at city manager Mary Suhm’s 20-minute overview of the 2011-12 budget posted on our blog. And speaking of Suhm, the story of her work over the past weekend to nab a speeder on Lake Highlands neighborhood streets is a must-read.

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