Thursday, October 06, 2005

Foes of 10-4-1 in DC Council members lobby against plan

Foes of 10-4-1 in DC Council members lobby against plan
Lori Stahl Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS (DAL)
Published: APRIL 24, 1991

A delegation of City Council members went to Washington on Tuesday to lobby against the 10-4-1 municipal government system, while talks continued in Dallas on changes to broaden support for it. Four council members who oppose the plan, and one who has voted for it reluctantly, were to meet with U.S. Justice Department officials. The council members, Jim Buerger, Al Lipscomb, Lori Palmer, Diane Ragsdale and Harriet Miers, could not be reached for comment Tuesday eveningAll but Ms. Miers have voted against the plan. Ms. Miers said that she voted for it only to ensure that the plan, which Dallas voters have approved, would receive a legal test. She has said she favors the competing 14-1 plan.

Under 10-4-1, 10 council members would be elected from districts, four from regional quadrants and the mayor citywide. Under 14-1, all but the mayor would represent districts.

In the past week, several contingents on both sides of the redistricting issue have met with Justice Department officials, who will decide the fate of 10-4-1 by May 6. Federal law requires that the department approve changes in local election plans.

Plaintiffs in the 3-year-old voting rights lawsuit against Dallas said they continue to oppose 10-4-1.

At a City Hall news conference, Marvin Crenshaw and Roy Williams said they were "not in the loop' on talks to reach a compromise on 10-4-1. They said they talked to Mayor Annette Strauss and council member Glenn Box about a settlement on Monday but still support a single-member-district system.

Last week, some parties in the redistricting fight began private talks aimed at reaching a settlement before the May 6 deadline. The talks focused mainly on changing the size of three districts to increase the likelihood that Hispanics would be elected from them.

The council is scheduled to review a revised 10-4-1 map depicting the new Hispanic districts at a special meeting on Monday.

Mike McKool Jr., the city's lead attorney in the case, said the new map would show two single-member districts that are 65 percent Hispanic and a quadrant seat that is 56 percent Hispanic.

To get those ratios, the districts could vary up to 16.4 percent in population from other districts, he said. Mr. McKool said there - is legal precedent for a variation that large, but opposing attorneys have said that it would be subject to legal challenge.

If the council does not agree to substitute the new map for the one currently under review, the argument for 10-4-1 is weakened, Mr. McKool said. "The chances of (Justice Department) preclearance without making the changes are much smaller,' he said. "I'm going to tell the council that if it wants a reasonable chance of success with Justice, they need to make some changes.' Although Justice Department officials theoretically would have another 60 days to review 10-4-1 if the city submits a new map, Mr. McKool said officials have indicated they probably would need only an additional two or three weeks.

PHOTO(S): (The Dallas Morning News: Milton Hinnant) Marvin Crenshaw (left) and Roy Williams, plaintiffs in the Dallas voting rights lawsuit, speak at a news conference Tuesday at City Hall. The two said they had talked to Mayor Annette Strauss and council member Glenn Box about a settlement but still back a single member district plan. Some city officials seek a compromise on 10 4 1.

PHOTO LOCATION: Williams, Roy (cf 45254).

1991 Copyright The Dallas Morning News Company


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1:44 PM  

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