Fear, not fairness, is the motivating factor of the 14-1 proponents. Dallas is a minority city that is becoming increasingly integrated. The forces for 14-1 want to address their racial fears by segregating the minorities into six small districts. Despite what we’ve heard, the 14-1 settlement excludes minorities from the political process. One-half of the entire Hispanic population will no longer have the realistic opportunity to run for a City Council seat. They live outside the district designated for Hispanics. Twenty percent of the black population no longer resides in South Dallas; they also become excluded from a minority campaign. Over one-half of the white voters are in the same predicament. They will no longer have the opportunity to vote for a minority.
Opponents of the settlement desire the integration of Dallas to continue. We want to expand the pool of minorities who can run for office. The entire city should have a valid opportunity to recruit, campaign and vote for the most talented minority candidates.
Extreme political ideology, not color, is the overriding motivation of the plaintiffs and their attorneys in this lawsuit and possible settlement. The plaintiffs, Roy Williams and Marvin Crenshaw, have expressed that black businessmen or black Republican professionals are unacceptable to them as minority representatives. The plaintiffs in this proposed settlement are candid about their desire for black representatives to come from just one economic class of their community.
The opponents of the 14-1 settlement recognize the need for the low-income minorities to have a district, but also recognize the need to tap the resources of the black professionals who live throughout Dallas.
Neighborhoods are the heart and soul of any city. Twelve years ago, Dallas did not have a single homeowners association. We now see hundreds of vibrant homeowner associations across the city. This grassroots participation has embraced both old-timers and newcomers. Everyone has a chance to make a contribution. We see the dramatic and beneficial coexistence of new developments, such as Bryan Place, adjacent to an established neighborhood, Swiss Avenue, a rehabilitated neighborhood, Deep Ellum; and the emerging Asian neighborhood at Peak and Bryan. If the 14-1 settlement passes, it will carve up the neighborhoods and undermine their unity of purpose.
We should not turn our backs on redistricting. We should not accept a back-room political deal that puts our problems out of sight. Dallas does not need to fear race riots if 14-1 is defeated. We need to take a bigger, bolder view. Let people of color be involved in the power, citywide. The community should look forward to working together to develop a redistricting plan that is helpful to the city. We need to remember the success of Dallas over the last 150 years can be attributed to creating something good, not just patching up something bad.
Some voters might be tempted to pass 14-1 so that they can limit the minorities’ involvement to five or six small districts. We need a City Council system that includes the best and brightest citizens of all colors from across the city. In doing so, the entire community can be involved and best address the problems that have come to the forefront of this campaign: unequal expenditure of tax revenues, the homeless, crime, drug addiction and teenage pregnancies.
Dallas can be sensitive and strong. We should look forward to integration. We should expand the pool of minorities who can and will run for the City Council. We also need to tap the resources of black and Hispanic physicians, lawyers and accountants who are well trained to tackle the complex issues facing Dallas. We should look forward to a responsible and representative redistricting plan.
The 14-1 settlement agreement segregates the city. This settlement is a giant step backward for Dallas. Let us do what is best for our city: Vote no on the 14-1 referendum.