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Letters to the Editor – Gerrymandering has no fans among our letter writers


Make it make sense

Redistricting correctly is simple.

A new 2021 Congressional district map for the U.S. House in Texas should produce 38 Congressional U.S. House Districts that reflect the 2020 Census demographics for Texas.

Thus, about 39.7% of districts (15 or 16) should have a white, non-Hispanic majority. The remaining 60.3% of districts (22 or 23) should have minority majorities, just like the statewide Texas 2020 demographics.

That would create a one-person-one-vote reality for Texas, without any packing or cracking methods as used in gerrymandering, for the first time in decades, if not in history!

Bill R. Betzen, Dallas

Latino communities shut out once again

Being in the Mexican community you see in the streets, local schools and shops in East Dallas, it’s hard to believe this community’s congressional votes are void. In recent times, gerrymandering is becoming an increasing issue that undermines a huge amount of the Latino vote with their vote getting shut out in East Dallas.

We see this problem with how the current district map is set up with East Dallas being connected with a large portion of right-leaning voters who vote Republican in elections, shutting out the primarily left-leaning Latino vote by putting us in a district that runs as far as Rusk which sits 133 miles away. This gives an advantage to Republicans in Congress.

We’ve seen how recent conservative bills have been passed by the Texas Legislature — such as banning abortions and allowing open carry guns — which were not supported by my community as a whole.

The recent re-planning of congressional districts shows no new Hispanic majority districts, despite Hispanics being the fastest growing voter population in the state. Without being addressed, we could see a future in which Latino communities may never have a voice in Texas.

Mauricio Garcia, Dallas

A game to undermine democracy

There are nine people. Five believe ‘X’ is the right thing to do and four believe ‘Y’ is. In a democracy, ‘X’ is what is done.

But the nine people live in three districts. The three districts are consciously divided so that one district has three ‘X’ believers and the other two have two ‘Y’ and one ‘X’ believer each. Now, one district will vote ‘X’ and the other two will vote ‘Y’.

Despite what the democratic majority wants, ‘Y’ will be what is done. This is gerrymandering and why it, and the people who support it, are undermining democracy.

Ron Mathis, Plano

Get tough on campaign finance

Re: “Let’s not turn these people away — U.S. should process Haitian migrants rather than turn away this ‘ultimate’ resource,” by Bruce Yandle, Sept. 26 Opinion, and “GOP maps out its future — Redrawing of lines in 3 districts shading blue would help efforts to reelect Republican incumbents,” Sept. 26 news story.

The juxtaposition of two major problems for the U.S. Congress on pages 4 and 5 of the Opinion section Sept. 26 was prescient! Immigration and the 2020 census are matters that have been devastatingly avoided by the body constitutionally assigned responsibility to manage both. Representatives in the House and Senators have shown no embarrassment over their dereliction of duty to re-do the immigration laws of the United States. Why? Why can’t the current legislators get serious about this?

While members of Congress will not redraw district boundaries for the next congressional election, we can be certain that they will try to influence those in their home states doing that task. The census requires a response to population shifts.

Both of these matters need handling, now. We voters need to demand a real change in campaign finance from any candidate for federal or state legislatures. Managers of large PAC’s and smart lobbyists have become wealthy at a great cost to us average citizens. Far too much time is spent by these elected representatives raising money.

It is time for intelligent, educated adults who understand that “pro publico bono” must apply to those who would represent us.

Marvin Noble, Dallas/Preston Hollow

Enough blatant vote-fixing

Re: “GOP maps out its future — Redrawing of lines in 3 districts shading blue would help efforts to reelect Republican incumbents,” Sept. 26 news story, and “The dance of Texas redistricting — Gaining 2 congressional seats is easy, but drawing new districts involved tricky steps,” by Joe Barton, Sept. 26 Opinion.

Both this article and Barton’s op-ed on redistricting were disturbing at best. The Republican goal on redistricting is to move minority voters, shed minority populations and tweak the balance between white and Asian/Black voters to safeguard seats and protect incumbents. This is disappointing on its face yet it appears to be the way politics is done in Texas. While their object is to manipulate votes to skew the election process, all those quoted in the article talked about the process as casually as plans for their next vacation.

At one time in America, voters used to pick their representatives in the government. Today, politicians are able to blatantly pick their voters. If your race is close, just redraw the lines to reduce the minority voters, increase the number of whites, and guarantee a victory. How long will Texans put up with this?

Hans Voorn, Frisco

A dangerous play for power

Re: “GOP maps out its future — Redrawing of lines in 3 districts shading blue would help efforts to reelect Republican incumbents,” Sept. 26 news story.

This article on the redistricting efforts by the GOP point out the efforts to make districts safe for the GOP by reducing the number of minority voters in many local districts. This reflects a party, beginning with the southern strategy of President Richard Nixon in 1972, that focuses on white supremacy. The final step was the Trump ascendancy and his defense of white nationalists.

Using voter suppression laws and redistricting, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, the GOP in Texas is moving in the direction of the apartheid governments of South Africa where a white minority ruled by keeping minorities in check.

In my opinion, the GOP is a party but with no positive goals other than to attain and retain power. It is a party that opposes abortion and LBGTQ rights. It is the party of denial by rejecting medical science in dealing with the pandemic and refusing to admit the existence of climate change.

With its total devotion to former President Donald Trump, it has become a party embracing authoritarian rule by undermining the integrity of our elections with the assertion that any election they lose is fraudulent.

Their redistricting efforts will keep them in power to the detriment of us all.

Cecil Larry Pool, Midlothian

GOP can’t stop change coming

To no one’s surprise, the Texas GOP Legislature has proposed redistricting congressional districts seemingly with the intent of minimizing minority communities across Texas, especially the Latino community. So much for the big tent strategy the Republicans had considered just a few years ago.

It seems that the GOP is desperate to stay in power by whatever means necessary and that includes denying congressional representation to the minority communities which will likely dominate Texas very soon. And this will happen despite all gerrymandering efforts.

The GOP should remember that what goes around comes around. The GOP cannot top the change that’s coming to Texas and elsewhere across the country.

Tony Torres, Garland

Funny choice of words, senator

Sen. Joan Huffman, who leads much of the redistricting effort in Texas, says if she included race as a factor in deciding new district boundaries, it would be called “racial gerrymandering.” Funny. How is it that her regular inclusion of previous voting outcomes is not “voter gerrymandering?”

George Dailey, Dallas/West Village

Contorted shapes don’t add up

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in 1964 that he would not attempt to define hardcore pornography “But I know it when I see it…” As was pornographic material for Stewart, gerrymandering becomes evident to the eye. Greatly contorted shapes generally indicate gerrymandering, but how can one measure the degree of contortion? Geometry!

A square with one-mile sides has a perimeter of four miles and area of a square mile. The ratio of the perimeter squared to the area is dimensionless: 16 to 1. The square root of that ratio can be called a CI (“Contortion Index”). For a square, the CI is 4.0. For eight of these one-mile squares forming a square with eight times the area, the CI remains 4.0. If the eight squares were rearranged into a cross, the area is unchanged, but the perimeter increases to seventeen miles, and the complicated shape has a CI of 36.1. A CI is not dependent on area, only on shape.

Wouldn’t it be a great student project to calculate CIs for all Texas voting districts prior to the conclusion of redistricting to allow a quantitative analysis of gerrymandering for Texas and have a fairer voting process?

Lash Hansborough, Denton

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