New City Council district boundaries were approved Friday, with the Tulsa Election District Commission voting along party lines for a proposal presented by mayoral appointee Daryl Woodard.
Republican Party representative Molly McKay voted in favor of Woodard's proposal, while George Otey, representing the Democratic Party, cast the dissenting vote.
"The thing about this plan, it has the population deviation (between the largest and smallest districts) down to 1.84 percent, which is the lowest deviation of any plan we looked at and is by far the most compact," Woodard said after the commission's meeting.
The approved map moves 42 precincts and 74,618 people out of their existing districts while leaving District 2 intact.
Otey's plan, which died for a lack of a second, had a population deviation of 2.66 percent and would have moved 24 precincts and 41,676 people.
He said his plan "just keeps the traditional boundaries as much as you possibly could."
The new council district boundaries take effect June 10, when they are to be submitted to the city clerk.
Friday's meeting came just three days after the Election Commission held a public hearing to present its final draft proposal. That plan would have moved 47 precincts and 83,626 people out of their existing districts.
On Friday, commissioners discussed three modified maps, each slightly different than the final draft proposal presented Tuesday.
The modified maps, which affected only districts 2, 8 and 9, were suggested by the commissioners based on the comments they received Tuesday.
The proposals by McKay and Woodard were nearly identical. After Woodard expressed support for either, McKay explained why she thought her plan was better.
"It was thought that if we made these council districts in the south vertical, ... as growth continues (in the east and south), we won't have such disproportionate change in population over that 10-year period between censuses," she said.
Reaction from councilors was mixed.
District 3 Councilor Roscoe Turner continued to complain that the new district map dilutes his base in the black community. But he stopped short of saying he would file a legal challenge.
"Naturally, I'm not just going to stand here and let them doing anything they want to me," he said. "But I haven't talked to my attorney yet."
District 9 City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who attended Friday's commission meeting, said he wasn't overjoyed with the new map. Bynum lost neighborhoods between 21st and 31st streets.
"But I understand it, and I think they made a very logical explanation why" the changes were made, he said.
The district boundaries are being redrawn to reflect recently released 2010 U.S. Census figures. The commission redrew the council districts according to criteria set out in local, state and federal law. Those include making each district contiguous and compact, as nearly equal in population as possible and in conformance with precinct boundaries and Voting Rights Act requirements.
According to the 2010 Census, the city of Tulsa's population is 391,906. Each of the council's nine districts ideally would have 43,545 residents.
Under the map approved Friday, District 3 has the most people, with 43,869, and District 8 the fewest, with 43,066.
June 10: New district boundaries filed with the city clerk. Boundaries become effective this date. Thirty-day legal challenge period begins.
July 10: Expiration of 30-day legal challenge period
July 11-13: Filing period for City Council elections
Sept. 13: City Council primary election
Nov. 8: Municipal election
Note: The precinct boundaries for this year's municipal elections will remain the same as the last municipal election, even though the City Council district may have changed.
Precinct boundaries will change in December, after the state House, Senate and U.S. congressional districts and the Tulsa County Commission districts have been redrawn. The City Council may then make minor adjustments to the new council district boundaries to conform with the new precinct boundaries.
Sources: City of Tulsa, Tulsa County Election Board, Indian Nations Council of Governments
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
firstname.lastname@example.org SUBHEAD: The Election Commission's vote on the map split along party lines.
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