Below, is a message about gerrymandering reprinted verbatim from Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle. It discusses a redistricting proposal that will be considered in a special meeting of Commissioner’s Court tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM. In addition to the issues I discussed yesterday, it addresses:
- Creation of a supermajority as it relates to…
- The ability to push through tax increases
- Responsiveness to citizen requests
- Potential loss of services and programs in Precinct 4
- What you can do to help prevent partisan gerrymandering
But first, here are three maps:
- Current boundaries
- Areas that lean Republican or Democratic
- Proposed new precinct boundaries
Together they show how gerrymandering will increase partisan advantage.
Mentally overlay political preferences in Map 2 and the the colored precinct of proposed precincts in Map 3. You can see how Ellis’ proposed redistricting plan would create three predominantly Democratic-leaning precincts by gerrymandering. It would also create one huge Republican-leaning precinct. Currently, we have an even split. With that, here’s a…
Message from Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle
With redistricting season in full swing, the full weight of ugly partisan gerrymandering has now descended upon Harris County. County Commissioner Rodney Ellis has proposed a redistricting map that is frankly absurd.
This map [#3 above] attempts to wedge as many residents of unincorporated Harris County as possible into our precinct – Precinct 4. The rest of those residents, including many of you, would be spread out among the three other precincts, weakening your voting strength and your representation.
This proposed map is a bizarre jigsaw puzzle that looks like a crooked table. It leaves Precinct 4 stretching from Baytown over the top of Houston into Katy without even touching the county’s core. At present, Precinct 4 borders only one county. Under this proposal, it would border FIVE. Commissioner Tom Ramsey’s precinct area would be shrunk to nearly half its current size.
What does all this mean for you?
- It may mean higher property taxes. If the court majority is successful in passing this plan, they may achieve a new 4-1 supermajority that would allow them the votes needed to pass the tax increases twice denied them when I joined with commissioners Ramsey and Steve Radack to deny them the necessary quorum.
- For some of you, it will mean being redistricted into a new precinct, thus losing the representation and responsiveness you’ve come to expect from Precinct 4.
- Fewer services and programs. With one precinct responsible for the vast majority of unincorporated Harris County’s roads and parks, but provided with only one-fourth the funding, the precinct may have to make some difficult choices about which services to provide. Unincorporated residents clearly face being underserved.
- It could also mean the court’s new supermajority would be able to deny Precinct 4 the future funding needed to pay for the transportation and other needs such a vast precinct would require.
Citizens across our entire country have been extremely vocal about their opposition to overtly partisan gerrymandering, but this map ignores those voices. In fact, in a hasty attempt to force this plan through as quickly and quietly as possible, the court majority has scheduled a hasty public hearing for Thursday, and they may force a vote on the issue at Commissioners Court as early as next week.
I am urging you to review this proposal and make your voices heard on this crucial issue. If you wish to express your opinion, you may contact my office at 832-927-4444 or at email@example.com. You may also reach out to:
- County Judge Lina Hidalgo (who also represents you): 713-274-7000 orJudge.Hidalgo@cjo.hctx.net
- Commissioner Ellis: 713-991-6881 or Comm_Ellis@cp1.hctx.net.
- Commissioner Garcia: 713-274-2222 or Adrian.Garcia@pct2.hctx.net.
- Commissioner Tom Ramsey: 713-755-6306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting will be on the ninth floor of the Harris County Administration Building at 1001 Preston in downtown Houston. If you wish to speak to the court on this issue or to watch the proceedings live online, please go to: https://www.hcp4.net/appearances/.
R. Jack Cagle
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/20/21
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