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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
May 25, 2011     Hays Free Press
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May 25, 2011

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Page 4A 4 n Hays Free Press May 25, 2011 + e In BY JENNIFER BIUNDO As Texas lawmakers carve up the state into newly drawn districts for the House, Senate and U.S. Congress, Hays County leaders are preparing for their own redistricting battles. Following explosive growth in the Buda- Kyle area since the 2000 Census, Hays County's Commissioner Precinct 2 has swelled to more than 52,000 residents, well over the target of about 38,000. Though one+ of four political jurisdictions, Precinct 2 now represents fully one-third of the county's population. "Precinct 2 is going to have to lose anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 people," said Republi- can Mark Jones, who was elected to represent the Precinct 2 seat in November. But just where those constituents will go re- mains up for debate. A bipartisan redistricting committee is preparing to make recommen- dations to Hays County commissioners next month for a precinct map; the GOP-led com- missioners court will make a final decision. That worries some local Democratic lead- ers. In the last half decade, the Hays County Commissioners Court swun~ from a 4-1 Re- publican majority to a 4-1 Democrat major- ity in 2006, and back just as abruptly to a 4-1 GOP bloc in 2010. "The reality about redistricting and how that process works is whoever is in charge makes the decisions," said Buda Councilmember JONES TENORIO "The reality about redistricting and how thatprocess works, is whoever is in charge makes the decisions. They will make it:to their best advantage. The reality is t]3ings are cle d based on wlAc precincts will be Republican and which will be Democrat." CREEKSIOE VILLAS SENIOR VILLAGE ~;I :~- i =;/, wwwmerr~ttcommurlitiescom -Buda councilmember Sandra Tenofio Sandra Tenorio, a Democrat who is serving on the redistricting committee. "They will make it to their best advantage. The reality is things are decided based on which precincts will be Republican and which will be Democrat." Many of the Precinct 2 residents in Buda or Kyle will likely be added to Precincts 3 or 4, which represent Wlmbefley and Dripping Dripping Springs together, and bringing Drip- Springs, respectively. Currently Precinct 3 is ping all the way down to 1-35 around Kyzle." short by about 5,300 constituents and Precinct Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales ]Ingals- 4 is down by nearly 7,300. be, who is serving on the redistricting comanittee, Alternately, some local Democrats have pro- said the process would follow state and J federal posed a map that would combine Wimberley lawsintendedtopmtectminorityvodngri_lgfitx and Dripping Springs into a single precinct, 'As best we can, we want to maintaim corn- giving extra representation to the Buda area., munities," Ingalsbe said. "We don't wmnt to "If you look strictly at population it doesnt split those up." make a lot of sense for Wimbefley and Drip- the 12,000 residents of Pct. 127 are Hisp~aic. "It could be that Kyle ends up in three pre- cincts, so I hope the people of Kyle pay atten- tion," Tenorio said. "There's got to be; some mid-ground between lumpingWimberhey and p gSp+toeach+eacomm,++but I Jones said.I just think it's too big of a change at this time," C : 1 Meanwhile, current proposals would ~- stead pull residents from Kyle and Budas [ Thestory, Pct.2one:St~lo~rt~ westem edges -where the population tends [ newdigs," in~eMaylY8~!tO' nwas [ unclear about pro which Precinctst be whiter3 andand4.wealthier - and add them to ] the design-build firm was chosen. The The city of Kyle already is fractured between [ Pct. 2 Steering Committee selected b precinctsland2,withtheheavilyminorityvot- I :fo~c0mpanielf~omafi~ofl3thatt ing precinct 127 lying in Pct. 1. By far the larg- est voting box in the county, more than half:of .~, '::i"~i~!::i: .... Free Checking for All Personalized SMrvice Standing Stron After 90 Years Can YOUR Bank T R U STT EXA |BAN K Ages* This? + Not available on New Generation NOW Account It's/ho We Are. + Senate Redistricting Continued from pg. 1A precincts 110-114 and 116 would make the change. "That concerns me that it's dividing us up that wag" said Pct. 1 commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, whose con- stituency would be split into two senate seats. "I'm not sure ff we would be well represented. I just feel that we need somebody that is more local, that understands the issues that we're dealing with in this are~" Hays County's east side has historically been home to a heavily Hispanic population, which tends to vote Democratic. The proposed map pulls a large proportion of Hays County's Latino population out of Went- worth's district and tosses them into ~'s border district, which was already 71 percent Hispanic. "Senator Zatfirini has her hands full with major border is- sues that have no direct impact on us," said Buda councilmem- ber Sandra Tenorio. "]ust be- cause we're all minority doesn't mean we have everything in common. A Hays County His- panic doesn't have everything panic." The Senate approved the map in a 29-2 split earlier this month, with the Democratic minority saying they were more worried about the map that could be "It's packing and cracking at created by the Legislative Re- its worst," Zatfifini said, refer- districting Board if lawmakers ring to redistricting strategies couldn't come to terms. Demo- of "packing" minorities into a crats promise that they'll contest single district to reduce their the redistricting in court, claim- influence, and "cracldng" the ing it will dilute the representa- remainder among many other tion of minorities, districts. FARMER Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO HOME LIFE BOAT HEALTH 251 N. 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