Renea Hicks, Election Districts and Redistricting

Posted by on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 in Blog

Reported by Phil Thoden

Michael Abelson, Vice President of the Membership Service Avenue, called the meeting to order. Sergeant-at-Arms Nadir Abdeladim led the pledges and Ann Graham gave our invocation of the day. District Governor Bruce Golden led us in saying The Four Way Test. Pauline Gubbels served as greeter and Rich Fikani introduced our many guests and visitors. Michael exchanged Arnold Garcia’s Red Badge for a Blue Badge. Congratulations Arnold! Tillery Castillo reminded everyone about the Pints for Polio event at Shiner’s Saloon on Wednesday evening, and Richard Payton did the same with regard to this year’s Annual Ask campaign. Michael made the following announcements:  The Club is still working on achieving the lofty goal of 100% of our members being Paul Harris Fellows  The monthly Executive Committee meeting will be held immediately after today’s Club meeting  Hannah Walker is still recovering from her recent accident and is at Central Texas Rehabilitation Hospital Nadir Abdeladim led the Thank Goodness Basket and Don Grillo shared that October 11 was International Day of the Girl Child and an E Book with 52 “Girl on Purpose” essays is available (including one from his daughter). Bruce Golden was grateful for all the well wishes from Club members after the recent death of his father. Michael Abelson offered an apology for mistakenly passing over the Thank Goodness Basket agenda item on today’s meeting. Last, but not least, Bill Baker talked up the delicious Fall menu at Andiamo restaurant owned by our own Daniela Marcone. Judge Lee Yeakel introduced Renea Hicks who spoke about redistricting, focusing primarily on statewide redistricting for Texas congressional seats. This is the decennial line-drawing dividing the state into geographic districts for each of the 36 Texas members of the U.S. House of Representatives. He outlined the basic rules of population and racial demographics that have to undergird this intensely political process, overlaying them with the various legal doctrines—racial vote dilution, racial gerrymandering, partisan gerrymandering—that courts use to evaluate the facts laid out in the litigation that invariably ensues after (and sometimes even before) the legislature has enacted redistricting bills. He gave specific instances of how things played out in Austin and San Antonio, since Austin and San Antonio share several districts and because, as he said, concrete examples are the best way to illustrate how the redistricting game is played. Finally, he recapped where he thought laws are headed in this area and what big legal issues and fights he expects in the near future. Next week there will be our Semi-Annual Cluster Meetings so make sure you DON’T come to St. David’s.

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