[Edit: Credit to Greg’s Opinion for these awesome yet simple maps.]
The new redistricting map has been a pretty popular topic on the Houston blogs the last few days (though the Houston Chronicle website has had rather minimal coverage). One of the funnier comments on the new map came from The Houston Press’ Hair Balls Comment of the Day:
Admittedly, District G is a pretty funny shape. It is basically the Rich Jerk district, covering most of wealthy west Houston, reaching inside the loop to rescue away River Oaks from the too cool for school J district.
Admittedly, this makes a lot of sense. People with similar interests should be grouped under the same representative. On the other hand, 713 Brooks Brothers River Oakers may be insulted to see themselves paired with 281 Memorial types with their jacked up Tahoes and glitter-clad Abercrombie girls. It is George H.W Bush v. George W. Bush all over again.
And upon further inspection, perhaps that little River Oaks cutout isn’t the most optimal shape. Sure, upon first look it basically adheres to the unspoken borders of where the white women at:
Between Westheimer and the Bayou, ending at Shepherd was basically my old stompin’ grounds. However, there is one important River Oaks institution that is split by this map: St. John’s School!
While the new map appropriately puts those public school ruffians from Lamar in District J, (Lamar? More like Lame-r! Amirite?) it also abandons St. John’s Lower and Middle schools (not to mention the Lamar Towers) to the J hoards. The J recruiters could walk on to St. John’s south campus at any time to convert children, ruining the American family structure that River Oaks holds so dear except for divorces and trophy spouses.
This new map splits a prized River Oaks institution, setting brother against brother and Quadrangle against Quadrangle.
Perhaps city council could propose a little switcheroo before approving the new map, putting SJS’s lower and middle school into District G and the Upper School into District J. After all, lower and middle schools are largely populated by legacy kids who were born in River Oaks, will work in River Oaks, and will die in River Oaks, never leaving the protective barrier of those tree lined streets, with its annexes at the University of Texas and various Aspen ski ranges. However, the Upper School has slightly more Rebels, and it would be appropriate to place these burgeoning Fischers in the artsy J district.
This swap wouldn’t be a big deal. After all, St. John’s don’t have any actual population, so the campuses could be exchanged without offsetting the districts’ population balance. And it would be a nice little way of recognizing the underlying theme of the new city council districts.
Then again, in 10 years the glory of these districts may be changed with a new census. So would 10 years of a slightly awkward map just to prove a point be worth it? Sic Transit Gloria.