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[Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Public Forum #1]

[00:00:06]

OKAY, THANK YOU EVERYONE.

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE HOLDUP.

UM, SO WE'RE GOING TO GET STARTED THIS MORNING.

WELCOME TO THE ICRC PUBLIC FORUM.

UH, I AM CHRISTINA POINTLESS.

I'M THE CHAIR OF THIS COMMISSION AND I WILL HAVE OUR VICE-CHAIR LUIS GONZALEZ SITTING OVER HERE TO MY LEFT, UH, START US OFF THIS MORNING.

SO TAKE IT AWAY.

THANK YOU, MADAM CHAIR.

WELCOME EVERYONE.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US, UH, BEING WITH US TODAY, OFFERING UP A PRECIOUS SATURDAY TO DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF REDISTRICTING AND ITS IMPACT ON THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AFTER 17 PUBLIC FORUMS AND MONTHS OF WORK, WE NOW HAVE AN APPROVED FINAL MAP OF WHAT THE NEW CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT MAP WILL LOOK LIKE IN 2022, SOME HOUSEKEEPING, PLEASE SIGN UP AT THE FRONT DESK WITH OUR ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER, CHRISTINE GRANADOS.

IF YOU WISH TO TESTIFY AFTER TODAY'S PRESENTATION, UH, YOU CAN ALSO PICK UP COPIES OF THE PROPOSED DISTRICT MAPS.

UM, AND WE ALSO HAVE THEM POSTED ON THE SIDE OF THE GYMNASIUM TODAY.

THANK YOU TO THE SOUTH AUSTIN RECREATION CENTER FOR WELCOMING US INTO YOUR SPACE TODAY.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT.

UM, CITY OF AUSTIN IS ADHERING TO STAGE THREE RISKS.

COVID GUIDELINES.

WE DO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO WEAR THEIR FACE COVERINGS AT ALL TIMES, UNLESS YOU ARE SPEAKING DURING THE PUBLIC TESTIMONY PORTION, UM, PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH US.

WE WILL SANITIZE THE MICROPHONE AFTER EACH SPEAKER, LIKE TO BRIEFLY WALK YOU THROUGH OUR AGENDA FOR THIS AFTERNOON.

THE GOAL IS TO DEPART THE REC CENTER BY 1:00 PM.

WE WILL BRIEFLY GO OVER HOW TO STAY INFORMED WITH THE WORK OF THE ICRC.

AS WE PUSH FORWARD TOWARD OUR NOVEMBER 1ST DEADLINE, WE WILL DISCUSS WHY AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS IS IMPORTANT.

THE PROCESS ITSELF AND THE CHARTER, THE CITY CHARTER THAT GUIDES OUR WORK.

WE'LL SHOW YOU THE FINAL MAP AND THE DATA AND REASONING USED IN ITS CREATION.

WE WILL THEN MOVE TO THE PUBLIC FORUM, UH, PUBLIC TESTIMONY PORTION OF THE FORUM.

EACH SPEAKER WILL HAVE THREE MINUTES.

AND LASTLY, WE'LL SHARE A FEW EVENT REMINDERS BEFORE YOU DEPART THE REC CENTER THIS AFTERNOON ON THIS ALIVE, YOU'LL SEE SOME LINKS TO OUR WEB PRESENCE, OUR FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS, WAYS THAT YOU CAN STAY CONNECTED TO THE WORK OF THE ICRC.

WHILE THE 14 VOLUNTEER COMMISSIONERS OF THE ICRC MAY BE CHARGED WITH THE ACTUAL WORK OF REJOIN.

THE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT MAP.

THE FINAL PRODUCT IS OURS AS AN ENTIRE CITY AS A COMMUNITY.

AND WE CANNOT DO THIS WORK WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT AND FEEDBACK LIKE WHAT YOU'LL GIVE TODAY.

AND I ALSO JUST WANT TO THANK OUR LOCAL MEDIA PARTNERS, THE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER, THE OSCAN MONITOR AT THAT LITTLE WINDOW KUT, UM, FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND THEIR COVERAGE IN PROMOTING OUR EVENTS LIKE TODAY'S FORUM.

I WAS ACTUALLY IN THE DENTIST APPOINTMENT YESTERDAY AND I HEARD AN ICRC AD ON K U T.

AND IT JUST HUGE SMILE WHILE I HAD TOOLS IN MY MOUTH.

UM, LIKE TO INTRODUCE SOME OF THE COMMISSIONERS THAT ARE HERE TODAY, UM, TO MY LEFT REPRESENTING DISTRICT ONE, WE HAVE COMMISSIONER AERO HARDEN, AND WE ALSO HAVE COMMISSIONER SELENA YOU TO MY RIGHT REPRESENTING DISTRICT SIX.

WE HAVE COMMISSIONER JOSHUA BLANK EIGHT.

THANK YOU, COMMISSIONER DISTRICT EIGHT.

UH, IF YOU ALSO HAVE, UH, REPRESENTING DISTRICT SEVEN, UH, THE CHAIR CHRISTINA .

MY NAME IS LISA GONZALEZ.

I'M THE VICE CHAIR OF THE ICRC AND I REPRESENT DISTRICT 10, THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS.

HOW DID WE GET TO TODAY IN 2012, AUSTIN VOTED TO SET A STANDARD FOR AN OPEN AND TRANSPARENT MAPPING OF OUR DISTRICTS.

IN 2013, AUSTIN BECAME THE FIRST CITY IN THE COUNTRY TO HAVE ITS CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS DRAWN THROUGH THE VOLUNTEERISM OF VOLUNTEERISM OF A COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT GROUP OF RESIDENTS.

THESE MILESTONES CHANGED THE CITY'S ELECTION SYSTEM AND PROVIDED A POTENTIAL MODEL FOR CITIES NATIONWIDE, THE 2021 COMMISSIONERS WANT IN WANT TO STRENGTHEN THAT MODEL.

BUT WHY DOES HAVING AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS MATTER? BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT IT'S THE BACKBONE OF DEMOCRACY FOR EQUAL REPRESENTATION AT THE CORE OF REDISTRICTING IS EQUAL AND FAIR REPRESENTATION, INCLUDING FOR HISTORICALLY UNDERREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES PROTECTED UNDER FEDERAL LAW.

EACH OF OUR DISTRICTS SHOULD HAVE AS CLOSE TO THE NUMBER OF RESIDENTS AS POSSIBLE.

THIS IS THE ICRC IS NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.

THIS, ALL THIS PROCESS ALSO SUPPORTS OR HELPS WITH INDEPENDENT INPUT.

AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS ALLOWS ITS RESIDENTS, UH, TO HAVE A VOICE IN HOW THEIR COMMUNITY IS SHAPED WITHOUT THE INFLUENCE OF POLITICAL OFFICIALS.

IN 2015, THE SUPREME COURT DID AFFIRM THAT VOTERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO ESTABLISH SUCH INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSIONS AT A TIME WHEN POLITICIANS ELICIT DISTRESSED CITIZEN, REDISTRICTING CAN PROVIDE A TRANSPARENT AND TRANSFORMATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO POLITICS.

AS USUAL.

THIS MOVEMENT INVITES THE INVOLVEMENT OF ANY AND ALL OF ITS RESIDENTS.

OUR WORK CANNOT HAPPEN

[00:05:01]

WITHOUT PUBLIC FORUMS LIKE THE ONE TODAY AND WITHOUT ALL OF YOU IN ATTENDANCE.

SO THANK YOU AGAIN FOR JOINING US.

THIS PROCESS ALSO ALLOWS US TO FOCUS ON THE RAPID CHANGES THAT OUR CITY HAS EXPERIENCED OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS.

THIS INDEPENDENT PROCESS ALLOWS US TO FOCUS ON REGIONAL AND DISTRICT BOUNDARIES BASED ON POPULATION GROWTH AND MOVEMENT, RATHER THAN BEING CONCERNED WITH THE OUTCOME OF ELECTIONS.

WE MENTIONED WHY AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS IS CRITICAL.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT ACTUAL PROCESS FOR A MINUTE.

FOLLOWING THE RECEIPT OF 300 APPLICATIONS, THE IDENTIFICATION OF S OF THE 60 MOST QUALIFIED APPLICANTS, THE RANDOM SELECTION OF THE FIRST EIGHT COMMISSIONERS, AND THEN THE INTERNAL SELECTION OF SIX ADDITIONAL THE 14 COMMISSIONERS OF THE ICRC HAVE HELD 17 PUBLIC FORUMS FROM JULY THROUGH OCTOBER USING THE 2013 MAP AND OUR PRELIMINARY MAP TO GATHER FEEDBACK ON THE INTEGRITY OF LOCAL NEIGHBORHOODS.

THIS HAS SERVED AS OUR FOUNDATION.

WE TASKED OUR MAPPING SPECIALIST, MR. GEORGE KORBEL, TO CREATE A FIRST ROUGH DRAFT OF A NEW MAP THAT PRIORITY PRIORITIZE THE CREATION OF DISTRICTS WITH REASONABLY EQUAL POPULATION USING THE DELAYED 2020 CENSUS DATA.

WE RECEIVED THAT DATA BACK IN AUGUST, THE ICRC HAD BEEN VOTED AND APPROVED A PRELIMINARY MAP, UM, THAT WE TOOK OUT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT OVER 21 DAYS, VIEW OF FIVE FORUMS. IN ADDITION TO POPULATION ADJUSTMENTS, THIS VERSION INCORPORATED CONSIDERATIONS OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND FEEDBACK PERTAINING TO THE INTEGRITY OF NEIGHBORHOODS THAT WE HEARD AT 17 FORUMS ACROSS THE LAST FEW MONTHS AND VIA EMAIL COMMUNICATION.

THAT ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK THAT WE, UH, WE RECEIVED IN THE LAST FIVE FORUMS WAS REVIEWED AND CONSIDERED FOR POSSIBLE INCORPORATION INTO THE FINAL MAP THAT WE WILL PRESENT TODAY.

THAT FINAL MAP WAS APPROVED ON OCTOBER 6TH, WHERE THE ICRC DISCUSSED, DEBATED AND APPROVED THIS FIRST DRAFT.

WE ARE NOW BACK OUT IN THE PUBLIC FOR MORE FEEDBACK AT THREE FORUMS. THIS IS THE FIRST OF THE THIRD.

THE ICRC WILL ADOPT A FINAL MAP BY THE DEADLINE SET IN THE CITY CHARTER NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 1ST, 2021.

AND WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT WE WILL MEET THIS DEADLINE.

LASTLY, THE ICRC WILL RELEASE THE FINAL REPORT.

FOLLOWING THE ADOPTION OF THE FINAL MAP.

OUR SUBCOMMITTEE HAS ALREADY BEGUN WORK ON THIS IMPORTANT AND INFORMATIVE DOCUMENT, BUT HOW DO WE DRAW THESE MAPS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE PROCESS AS THE CITY CHARTER ADHERENT TO SECTION THREE E THE COMMISSIONERS MUST DRAW EACH DISTRICTS BOUNDARIES USING THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA THAT YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN.

THIS IS AN ORDER OF PRIORITY FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.

AS YOU'LL SEE, MOST OF OUR GUIDELINES ARE PRETTY CUT AND DRY PRIORITY.

NUMBER ONE, EACH DISTRICT SHALL HAVE REASONABLY EQUAL POPULATION WITH ITS OTHER DISTRICTS.

FOR EXAMPLE, DISTRICT SIX WAS THE MOST OVERPOPULATED, UM, DISTRICT AND COULD ONLY SHIFT EXCESS POPULATION TO THE NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS OF 10 AND SEVEN PRIORITY.

NUMBER TWO DISTRICT SHALL COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT.

THIS IMPACTED OUR DRAWING OF DISTRICTS.

1, 2, 3, AND FOUR ON THE EAST SIDE OF AUSTIN, WHICH ARE THE CITY'S PROTECTED OPPORTUNITY.

DISTRICTS PRIORITY.

NUMBER THREE DISTRICTS SHALL BE GEOGRAPHICALLY.

CONTIGUOUS DISTRICTS CAN SOMETIMES TAKE ODD SHAPES.

WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE IN STRAIGHT LINES OR IMPERFECT BOXES? UM, THAT'S BECAUSE CITY PLANNING, UH, BUSINESS AND NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT DOES NOT HAPPEN IN NEAT AND TIDY SHAPES.

AND BECAUSE PEOPLE LIVE IN DIFFERENT DENSITIES AND DISTRICTS MUST BE RELATIVELY EQUAL IN POPULATION.

THIS CAN CREATE STRANGE, STRANGE SHAPES.

IT DOES NOT MEAN THOUGH THAT THE DISTRICT IS GERRYMANDERED TO SAY THAT A DISTRICT WAS GERRYMANDERED WILL BE TO IMPLY THAT IT WAS DESIGNED THAT WAY FORM THAT WAY TO GIVE A POLITICAL ADVANTAGE TO A CERTAIN CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL PARTY, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE IN THIS APOLITICAL REDISTRICTING PROCESS PARTY, NUMBER FOUR, THE GEOGRAPHIC INTEGRITY OF LOCAL NEIGHBORHOODS OR LOCAL COMMUNITIES THAT INTEREST SHALL BE RESPECTED IN A MANNER THAT MINIMIZES THEIR DIVISION, THEIR DIVISION TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE WITHOUT VIOLATING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PROCEEDING AND SUBSECTIONS.

THIS IS WHY YOU ARE HERE TODAY.

THE FEEDBACK THAT WE RECEIVE FROM PUBLIC FORUMS GENERALLY FALLS INTO THIS CATEGORY PRIORITY.

NUMBER FIVE, DISTRICT BOUNDARIES SHALL BE DRAWN TO ENCOURAGE GEOGRAPHICAL COMPACTNESS DISTRICTS SHOULD BE DRAWN IN A WAY THAT MAKE THAT DOESN'T MAKE THEM SPRAWL OUT.

THEY SHOULD BE COMPACT, MEANING THAT RESIDENTS OF THE SAME DISTRICT SHOULD LIVE AS NEAR TO EACH OTHER AS PRACTICAL.

THIS NEXT SLIDE IS TWO MORE PRIORITIES.

PROBABLY NUMBER SIX, DISTRICT BOUNDARIES SHALL BE DRAWN USING THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING ELECTION PRECINCTS OR VTD VOTING TABULATION DISTRICTS.

UM, IN THE 2013 MAP, WE SAW SOME OF THESE VTD SPLIT, UM, TO, TO, UM, ENCOMPASS SOME NEIGHBORHOODS.

FOR EXAMPLE, ABOUT CONEYS WOODS.

WE CAN DEVIATE FROM THIS WHEN NECESSARY, SUCH AS THE CASE OF PRIDING.

NUMBER TWO, THE POPULATION OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISTRICT AND FINALLY PRIORITY.

NUMBER SEVEN, DISTRICT BOUNDARIES SHALL BE DRAWN USING GEOGRAPHICALLY IDENTIFIABLE BOUNDARIES.

AUSTIN'S NATURAL

[00:10:01]

BOUNDARIES, SUCH AS LAKE TRAVIS, SHOAL CREEK, AND MANY PARTS OF OUR GREENBELT MAKE GREAT CITY COUNCIL BOUNDARIES, GREEN SPACES, AS WELL AS HISTORICAL AREAS AND BUILDINGS WERE CONSIDERED IN THIS PROCESS UNDER THIS PRIORITY.

I'M GOING TO TURN THE MIC BACK OVER TO OUR CHAIR, CHRISTINA APPRENTICE.

SHE'S GOING TO GO SHOW YOU ALL THE FINAL MAP AND GO OVER SOME DATA AND REASONING USING ITS CREATION CHAIR.

THANK YOU.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE FINAL MAP AND THE DATA THAT WAS USED FIRST ON THIS SLIDE.

YOU CAN SEE THE POPULATION GROWTH BY DISTRICT FROM 2010 TO 2020, AND THEN THE ADJUSTED POPULATION PER NEW DISTRICT.

AND I REALIZED FROM YOUR VANTAGE POINT, IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE HARD TO SEE.

UM, SO I'LL BREAK DOWN JUST A FEW OF THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE IN 2010, THE POPULATION OF AUSTIN STOOD AT 790,000.

SO AT THE TIME THE IDEAL POPULATION PER CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT WAS 79,000.

THE LARGEST DISTRICT LAST TIME AROUND WAS DISTRICT SIX WHILE THE SMALLEST DISTRICT AT THE TIME WAS DISTRICT ONE WITHIN THE 2013 BOUNDARIES BY 2020 DISTRICT SIX WENT FROM BEING A 3.7, 2% ABOVE DEVIATION TO 12.7, 6% ABOVE DEVIATION.

MEANWHILE, DISTRICT FOUR'S POPULATION BARELY INCREASED OVER 10 YEARS BY JUST 1300 RESIDENTS TODAY.

THE IDEAL POPULATION PER EACH OF THE 10 DISTRICTS SITS AT 96,185 RESIDENTS BASED ON THE CURRENT CITY POPULATION OF 961,855.

A NUMBER PROVIDED TO US BY THE 2020 CENSUS DATA.

AND THAT'S ABOUT A 21% INCREASE IN POPULATION SINCE 2010 OR ABOUT 172,000 PEOPLE.

THESE DISTRICTS ARE ALL WITHIN THE LEGAL DEVIATION RANGE.

NOTICE THE LARGEST POPULATION IN THE PRELIMINARY MAP HAS DISTRICT EIGHT AT 99,175, WHICH IS THREE POINT 11% ABOVE DEVIATION WHILE THE SMALLEST POPULATION IN THE, UM, IN OUR I'M SORRY, OUR FINAL MAP IS DISTRICT THREE WITH 91,533 AND A MINUS 4.8, 4% DEVIATION.

IF YOU TAKE THESE TWO ENDS OF THE POPULATION DISTRIBUTION, YOU GET A TOTAL OF 7.95% DEVIATION, WHICH SITS UNDER THE 10% DEVIATION LIMIT, WHICH IS A VERY COMMON STANDARD.

A FEW OTHER CONSIDERATIONS THAT THE ICRC TOOK IN ADDITION TO POPULATION SHIFTS, COMMISSIONERS HAVE REQUESTED EXPERT TESTIMONY ON AUSTIN'S HISTORY, INCLUDING ITS RACIAL HISTORY POLICIES, UM, YOU KNOW, TRANSPORTATION, LAND ATTRIBUTES AND DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS.

AND WE'VE DONE THIS ON AN ONGOING BASIS.

THE ICRC HEARD FROM TRAVIS COUNTY ABOUT THE VTS AND PLANS TO WORK WITH THE COUNTY ON REDISTRICTING AS NECESSARY, UH, WHICH WILL BE LATER THIS YEAR.

WE HAVE ALSO HEARD FROM AUSTIN ISD AS PART OF THE PROCESS OF GAINING FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE.

THE COMMISSION WAS ALSO EDUCATED ON THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND OTHER APPLICABLE LAWS AND STATUTES.

THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT SECTION TWO IS WHERE DEMOGRAPHIC DATA BECOMES RELEVANT.

SECTION TWO PROHIBITS VOTING PRACTICES AND REDISTRICTING PLANS THAT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, OR MEMBERSHIP IN A LANGUAGE MINORITY GROUP, MINORITY OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS THAT ARE DRAWN TO HAVE A MAJORITY PEOPLE OF COLOR AS THE VOTING AGE POPULATION ARE PROTECTED SO THAT THEY MAY HAVE A CHANCE TO ELECT A CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE.

AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN REDISTRICTING CONSIDERATION IS PUBLIC INPUT.

THE ICRC PRODUCED A DOCUMENT THAT LISTED ALL PUBLIC INPUT IN ALL OF ITS FORMS BY DISTRICT SO THAT THE COMMISSIONERS COULD HAVE A CLEARER PICTURE OF WHAT WAS BEING ASKED OF US IN THE PROCESS.

THIS WAY COMMISSIONERS COULD UNDERSTAND AND ADVOCATE FOR THE ASKS COMING FROM THE COMMUNITY, UM, IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DISTRICTS.

SINCE WE HAVE ONE TO TWO COMMISSIONERS FROM EVERY CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT, ADDITIONALLY, THE COMMISSION CHOSE TO START WITH THE 2013 MAP THAT WAS FORMED ALONG WITH THE COUNCIL STRUCTURE CHANGE.

WE HAVE TO THE TEN ONE SYSTEM.

THESE DISTRICTS HAVE PROVIDED A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR THE 2021 ICRC HAVING PROVIDED THEIR RATIONALE IN THE 2013 ICRC FINAL REPORT WITH FIDELITY TO THE CITY CHARTER PRIORITIES.

THE ORIGINAL MAP WAS BASED ON THE SAME STANDARDS THAT WE'RE BASING OUR MAPS ON AND UPON REVIEWING THE 2013 REPORT, THE COMMISSION FOUND THAT THE LOCATIONS OF FACILITIES MAJOR LANDMARKS AND NEIGHBORHOODS HAVE BEEN STABLE, EVEN IF RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS HAVE CHANGED AS THE CITY HAS GROWN.

SO GIVEN THAT AND THE VTS, MANY OF THE BOUNDARY LINES ARE STABLE.

OKAY.

SO THIS IS THE CHANGE FROM THE 2013 TO THE 2021 MAP.

I WILL POINT OUT A FEW KEY POINTS ABOUT THE FINAL MAP AS IT COMPARES TO THE EXISTING

[00:15:01]

MAP FROM 2013.

AND, UM, HERE IN A MINUTE, WE'LL ALSO GIVE YOU ALL A FEW MINUTES TO, UH, TAKE A LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT THE MAPS WE HAVE POSTED UP.

UM, SO AS WE SAW EARLIER, THE DATA SUPPORTS A CHANGE TO THE SHAPE OF DISTRICTS THAT HAVE GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY, AS WELL AS THEIR ADJACENT DISTRICTS DISTRICTS, SIX, 10, AND SEVEN WERE OF SIGNIFICANT FOCUS IN OUR MAPPING DISCUSSIONS.

UM, AS NOTED EARLIER, THE POPULATION OF DISTRICT SIX WAS NEARLY 13% OVER IDEAL POPULATION.

THE ONLY AREAS TO SHIFT THAT EXCESS POPULATION TO WHERE IT'S NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS OF SEVEN AND 10, AND THIS CAUSED A DOMINO EFFECT, UM, KIND OF A POPULATION SHIFT TO DISTRICTS EIGHT AND NINE ALSO NOTABLY DISTRICT SIX POPULATION GREW BY A LARGE ASIAN POPULATION, WHICH NOW SITS AT NEARLY 28%.

ANOTHER INTERESTING NOTE ABOUT DISTRICT SIX, OVER 70,000 RESIDENTS RESIDE IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY, CONVERSELY, IN THE CASE OF A DISTRICT THAT HAS NOT GROWN SUCH AS DISTRICT FOUR, IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN A RELATIVELY EQUAL POPULATION ACROSS ALL THE DISTRICTS, THIS ONE NECESSITATED TAKING POPULATION FROM ITS SURROUNDING DISTRICTS SEVEN AND ONE, SOME DISTRICTS SUCH AS TWO AND FIVE REQUIRED MINIMAL CHANGE BECAUSE THE POPULATION GROWTH WITHIN ITS CURRENT BOUNDARIES MATCHED THE POPULATION SIZE OF DISTRICTS BASED ON THE CITY'S 2020 POPULATION.

AND SO THEY WERE NOT AFFECTED BY NEIGHBORING DISTRICT POPULATION CHANGES.

THESE MAPS WERE DRAWN, STARTING WITH CONSIDERATION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF PROTECTED MINORITY OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS ON THE EAST SIDE DISTRICTS, ONE THROUGH FOUR, RATHER THAN STARTING FROM ANOTHER ORIENTATION.

AND THIS WAS TO ENSURE THE LARGEST POSSIBLE CONCENTRATION OF BLACK AND HISPANIC POPULATIONS WITHIN THESE BOUNDARIES SO THAT THEY HAVE THE GREATEST CHANCE OF ELECTING A CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE.

THIS IS ALL SUPPORTED BY THE DATA.

THE COUNTY WILL NOT RELEASE THEIR NEW VTS UNTIL LATER THIS YEAR.

AND SO FOR THE TIME BEING THE ICRC USED, THE EXISTING SHAPE OF VTD IS TO GUIDE CHANGES.

THE COUNTY HAS INFORMED US THAT SOME OF THESE VTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE ALSO BASED ON NEEDING EQUAL POPULATION.

AND THE ICRC MAY MINORLY ADJUST LINES AFTER OUR NOVEMBER 1ST DEADLINE TO ACCOMMODATE THOSE CHANGES.

OVERALL MUCH OF THE MAP HAS STAYED THE SAME FIRST CHANGES THAT YOU SEE REFLECT POPULATION CHANGE AND THE NEED TO DRAW BOUNDARIES THAT CONTAIN EQUAL POPULATIONS WITHIN THEM.

AND THIS WAS BEST ACCOMPLISHED USING VTS.

SECOND DISTRICTS WITH HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR WERE PRIORITIZED AS REQUIRED BY THE FEDERAL VRA.

AND FINALLY THE HEART OF THE COMMISSION'S DISCUSSION LEADING UP TO THE APPROVAL OF THE FINAL MAP BEFORE YOU HAD TO DO WITH COMMUNITY INPUT, WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU MIGHT SEE A CHANGE THAT CREATES AN UNNECESSARY SPLIT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, OR MAINTAINS A SPLIT FROM THE LAST MAP THAT YOU DID NOT WANT TO SEE.

OKAY, SO WE WILL OPEN UP PUBLIC TESTIMONY.

THERE IS A MICROPHONE OVER HERE ON THIS SIDE, BUT BEFORE WE DO, WE JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU A FEW MINUTES TO LOOK AT THE MAPS, UM, THAT WE HAVE OVER HERE, UH, POSTED ON THE WALL, UM, SO THAT YOU CAN PREPARE YOUR TESTIMONY.

AND AGAIN, IF YOU NEED TO SIGN UP, PLEASE DO SO IN THE BACK CORNER WITH CHRISTINE GRANADOS.

AND, UM, AND HERE IN JUST A FEW MINUTES, I WILL BREAK DOWN SOME OF OUR GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC TESTIMONY, AND THEN WE WILL WRAP UP OUR FORUM FOR THIS MORNING.

HOW ABOUT, UM, FIVE MINUTES.

SO WE'LL COME BACK IN FIVE MINUTES.

ALL RIGHT.

Y'ALL WE ARE GOING TO COME BACK HERE, WRAP THIS UP THIS MORNING.

WE ARE GOING TO GET INTO OUR PUBLIC TESTIMONY.

UM, SO ANYONE WHO'S WISHING TO MAKE A COMMENT THIS MORNING AGAIN, MAKE SURE YOU SIGNED IN PRIOR TO THE MEETING.

EACH SPEAKER HAS THREE MINUTES, UNLESS ADDITIONAL TIME IS GRANTED BY THE CHAIR.

DO WE NOT HAVE ANY SPEAKERS? OKAY.

THEN I WON'T GO THROUGH THIS.

UM, I'M JUST GOING TO SKIP TO THE END.

THANK YOU, CHRISTINE.

UM, SO JUST TO WRAP UP HERE, WE HAVE TWO MORE FORUMS FOR THE FINAL MAP BEFORE THE COMMISSION CERTIFIES IT.

SO AS IS REQUIRED BY THE CITY CHARTER, WE WILL HOLD ONE PUBLIC FORUM AT THIS STAGE OF THE PROCESS NORTH OF LADY BIRD LAKE.

AND THEN THIS IS THE ONE SOUTH OF IT, SO THAT WE WERE GEOGRAPHICALLY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OF AUSTIN.

OH, SURE.

OKAY.

SORRY TO, TO KIND OF BE ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Y'ALL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ONE SPEAKER THIS MORNING, JUST PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND, UH, IN WHICH DISTRICT YOU RESIDE, IF YOU KNOW THAT,

[00:20:04]

OKAY.

HELLO, I'M FERRY DISTRICT ONE.

AND, UM, THIS IS TOTALLY INTERESTING HOW DISTRICTING WORKS HERE.

I'M NOT FROM THE AREA, SO IT'S A BIT CONFUSING AND A BIT DISCONCERTING.

UM, IT'S NOT VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD AND I MEAN, I'M NOT BASED ON WHAT I SEE AND BASED ON WHAT I LEARNED, I'M NOT REALLY PLEASED WITH IT.

SO HOW, HOW CAN THAT BE RECTIFIED? WOULD YOU MIND, UH, PERRY, RIGHT? YES.

WOULD YOU MIND TELLING US SPECIFICALLY WHICH PARTS YOU'RE NOT PLEASED WITH? WELL, THE MAPPING AND EVERYTHING DEAD ASPECT OF IT.

I UNDERSTAND.

BUT AS FAR AS THE PROCESS OF HOW THE MAPS COME TO BE LIKE ANNEXATION, NO STUFF LIKE THAT.

UM, I JUST DON'T, IT THAT'S JUST COMPLETELY UNTIL THE UNFATHOMABLE BOLTS AND THE I'VE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING, YOU KNOW, HOW YOU CAN LIVE ON THE SAME STREET AND LIVE IN TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT CITIES, EVEN THOUGH IT'S, YOU KNOW, GEOGRAPHICALLY THE SAME AREA, YOU KNOW, I MEAN, IT WAS WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THAT COMMISSIONER HEART.

AND GO AHEAD.

YES, SIR.

SO, UM, THE CITY'S ANNEXATION PROCESS IS SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE MAPPING PROCESS, WE'RE ONLY ABLE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE PROPERTY THAT IS ALREADY ANNEXED INTO THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

THERE WERE A LOT OF DIFFERENT THEORIES AND SCIENCES THAT WENT INTO ANNEXATION OVER THE YEARS.

MANY OF THE WHITE SPOTS THAT YOU SEE IN DISTRICT ONE THAT ARE STILL IN TRAVIS COUNTY AND HAVE NOT BEEN ANNEXED BY THE CITY, IT WAS BASED ON THE NATURE AND CONSTRUCT OF WHAT WAS ON THOSE PROPERTIES.

A LOT OF THAT WAS VACANT LAND CREEKS, TREES AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE.

UM, AND SO THE CITY DID NOT HAVE AN INTEREST IN ANNEX IN IT.

THERE ARE OTHER COMPONENTS OF THE CITY WHERE, UM, ANNEXATION, WE ARE DESIRABLE.

NOW, THE STATE OF TEXAS HAS LIMITED THE CITY OF AUSTIN'S ABILITY TO, TO CONTINUE TO ANNEX.

AND SO WHAT WE'RE WORKING WITH IS NOT NECESSARILY UNDER OUR CONTROL.

OKAY.

OKAY.

OKAY.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

I APPRECIATE THAT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH BEFORE I CONCLUDE HERE.

ONE LAST CALL.

DO WE HAVE ANY OTHER PEOPLE WILLING OR INTERESTED IN TESTIFYING THIS MORNING? OKAY.

SO I JUST WANT TO SHARE WHAT OUR UPCOMING FORUMS ARE.

UM, ACCORDING TO THE CITY CHARTER, WE HAD TO HOLD AT LEAST ONE FORUM NORTH OF THE RIVER, ONE SOUTH OF THE RIVER.

SO THIS IS OUR SOUTH OF THE RIVER FINAL FORUM.

UH, SO YES, UM, WE ARE NEXT SCHEDULED TO GO FOR A VIRTUAL FORUM ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 18TH, FROM SIX TO 8:00 PM.

AND FINALLY, WE HOPE TO SEE YOU OR YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND NEIGHBORS AT OUR LAST FORUM ON WEDNESDAY, 20TH FROM SIX TO 8:00 PM AT THE DELL JEWISH COMMUNITY CAMPUS.

AND IN CONCLUSION, JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING OUT TODAY.

I KNOW WE HAVE A GAME.

I KNOW IT'S A BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY.

IF YOU WANT TO REACH US THIS EMAIL ADDRESS LISTED HERE, ICRC DOT COMMISSIONERS AT AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV GOES TO ALL 14 MEMBERS OF THIS COMMISSION.

AND I PROMISE WE READ EVERY SINGLE EMAIL THAT WE GET.

SO FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT WITH SOME SPECIFIC COMMENTS ABOUT THE MAPS OR THE PROCESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE.

AND, UM, THANK YOU AGAIN, HAVE A WONDERFUL REST OF YOUR WEEKEND.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.