Es­ti­mate: 8 months to set up map board

Dis­tricts

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - B PANEL CRI­TE­RIA Con­tact Sarah Cop­pola at 912-2939. Con­tact Ni­cole Vil­lal­pando at 912-5900.

10-district plan on the Novem­ber bal­lot. It mod­eled the com­mis­sion on a Cal­i­for­nia panel that in 2011 drew that state’s leg­isla­tive and con­gres­sional seats.

Mory said his of­fice is work­ing on an “elab­o­rate ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign,” which will cost $77,000 and in­clude bus and ra­dio ads, to re­cruit res­i­dents and au­di­tors to ap­ply.

Mory es­ti­mated it will take eight months, from late Jan­uary to late Au­gust, to set up the map­draw­ing com­mis­sion, and an­other eight months for the group to draw dis­tricts. Cam­paigns for the Novem­ber 2014 coun­cil elec­tion could then be­gin in May 2014. Mory said he will seek pub­lic in­put along the way, start­ing with a pub­lic fo­rum held Tues­day night.

Steve Bick­er­staff, a re­dis­trict­ing at­tor­ney work­ing with Aus­tinites for Ge­o­graphic Rep­re­sen­ta­tion, said he’d like to see the time­line Mory sug­gested short­ened by a few months. The city must send the com­mis­sion’s fi­nal map to the U.S. Jus­tice De­part­ment for ap­proval, as re­quired by the Vot­ing Rights Act, and should leave more time for that, he said.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment must en­sure that the coun­cil dis­tricts won’t harm the vot­ing strength of mi­nori­ties. The city’s in­tegrity of­fi­cer, John Steiner, said city at­tor­neys don’t ex­pect the Jus­tice De­part­ment to ob­ject to the 10-district plan.

But that step might not be nec­es­sary. The U.S. Supreme Court is ex­pected to rule by June on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the pro­vi­sion of the Vot­ing Right Act that re­quires some state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments, many in the South, to get fed­eral ap­proval be­fore mak­ing changes to elec­tion laws or vot­ing rules.

Ap­pli­cants to the map-draw­ing com­mis­sion must be reg­is­tered To see more in­for­ma­tion about serv­ing on a 14-mem­ber com­mis­sion that will draw City Coun­cil dis­tricts, visit: www. austin­texas.gov/10one. Cri­te­ria for serv­ing on the com­mis­sion in­clude that an ap­pli­cant:

Must be a reg­is­tered Austin voter for at least the past five years.

Must have voted in at least three of the past five city gen­eral elec­tions.

Can’t have been ap­pointed to, been elected to, or been a can­di­date for city or state of­fice for the past five years.

Can’t have been a reg­is­tered state or lo­cal lob­by­ist for the past five years.

Can’t have been a paid city em­ployee or a per­son who has had a con­tract with the city of Austin for the past three years. Austin vot­ers for the past five years, have voted in at least three of the past five city gen­eral elec­tions and have no paid ties to city pol­i­tics. That means ap­pli­ca­tions from lob­by­ists, city em­ploy­ees and po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tants will be tossed out.

Mory and his staff will screen ap­pli­cants for those ba­sic cri­te­ria, then the three-per­son au­di­tor panel will cut the list to 60 by con­sid­er­ing other cri­te­ria, such as “rel­e­vant an­a­lyt­i­cal skills” and “abil­ity to be im­par­tial.”

Po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant Mark Lit­tle­field has es­ti­mated that the vot­ing re­quire­ments alone will dis­qual­ify all but 28,000 of 461,000 reg­is­tered vot­ers from serv­ing.

Be­cause the gov­ern­ing change re­sulted from a pe­ti­tion ef­fort, the City Coun­cil must carry it out as writ­ten. That could lead to some hic­cups. For ex­am­ple, one ques­tion raised dur­ing Tues­day’s dis­cus­sion was whether the 25,000 res­i­dents who live in newly an­nexed ar­eas, and pre­vi­ously couldn’t vote in Austin elec­tions, could ap­ply to serve on the com­mis­sion. City staffers said prob­a­bly not. tatives and the lab that makes the glasses, Bishop has se­cured an exam and glasses for all three Sea­son for Car­ing re­cip­i­ents.

Bishop said she had al­ways read Sea­son for Car­ing sto­ries and al­ways no­ticed that dental help gets do­nated. This time they were ask­ing for eye care, some­thing she knew she could do. “It’s an eye exam, it’s not brain surgery. It’s some­one in my town that we can help,” Bishop said.

To find out more about Pa­trick Wil­son or to do­nate gift cards, ho­tel or restau­rant meals, con­tact Hospice Austin, 342-4726, www.hos­piceaustin.org.

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