The proposed ward map for the City of Oklahoma City was released on Tuesday.
In the map below (click for a larger version), the current wards are in color, while the proposed boundaries are outlined in the brownish-black dotted lines.
A lot of the population growth has come in the far northwest part of the city, so you can see Ward 8 (Patrick Ryan in bright green) has been chopped up quite considerably. A chunk of Ward 8 constituents will move into Ward 1 (Gary Marrs; light blue) under the proposed plan. On the eastern side of Ward 8, some residents will move into Ward 7 (Skip Kelly; yellow). Ed Shadid in Ward 2 (pink) will gain some residents in the southwestern part of his ward from Ward 1. He will lose some residents at the northeast end of the ward to Kelly.
Meanwhile, Meg Salyer in Ward 6 (dark blue) and Pete White in Ward 4 (purple) will swap some people on the southern parts of the existing Ward 6. Larry McAtee in Ward 3 (dark green) will lose some residents along Reno Avenue to Gary Marrs in Ward 1.
David Greenwell in Ward 5 (dark red) on the far south side will lose some residents to White and McAtee on the top left and top right of his existing ward.
The city also set a public meeting for discussion on the proposed changes to ward boundaries, which happens once a decade to allocate population fairly across the city.
The public meeting will be at 6 p.m., Aug. 9, in the City Council Chamber on the 3rd Floor of City Hall, 200 N. Walker.
In the meantime, you can leave your comments on the proposed map below.
The Census Bureau has released a new set of state maps that detail some of the recent data from the 2010 Census.
Here’s Oklahoma (click for larger version):
For a PDF of the same map, click here.
You can see other states here.
Dr. Joey Senat, associate professor of journalism at Oklahoma State University, has compiled some recent violations of the state’s Open Meetings/Open Records Acts in Oklahoma. Read more at the FOI Oklahoma blog.
(Full disclosure: I’m among the board members at FOI Oklahoma.)
UPDATE: We have taken down this page with the interactive before/after maps. I apologize for any inconvenience. (8/15/11).
We’re in the home stretch of redistricting in the state House and Senate. I had a story today about the major changes to Senate District 43 that straddles Oklahoma and Cleveland counties.
With the help of Web Editor Nick Tankersley, I came up with a series of sliding redistricting maps on NewsOK that include party voter registration.
(Click on the image to go to the page)
In these maps, purple precincts are competitive. Light blue leans Democratic and dark blue is heavily Democratic. Light red leans Republican, while dark red is heavily Republican. I computed these categories by comparing the percentage-point difference in Republican voter registration to Democratic voter registration in each precinct.
I’ve added some links to this slightly extended and updated version of Sunday’s story on Senate redistricting:
BY PAUL MONIES
Some fast-growing suburbs of Oklahoma City and Tulsa won out in the latest legislative redistricting process that largely protected incumbents in the Senate.
For the first time, the Senate will have a district focused on the fast-growing Hispanic population. The Capitol Hill neighborhood on Oklahoma City’s south side will be part of Democratic Minority Leader Andrew Rice’s downtown district.
Redrawn boundary maps released in the closing weeks of the Legislature will have political implications in elections for the next decade, redistricting experts and lawmakers said.
“This is not a map that was drawn for the convenience of Democratic incumbent lawmakers, but there’s nothing illegal about that. This is politics,” said Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. “You used to have a lot of senate districts come into the suburbs and pick up population and keep the rural lawmakers in place. The polarity has totally flipped now. All these districts are being pulled so deeply into the suburbs that suburban voters can dominate them.”
Republicans command majorities in the House and Senate, but differing approaches to the mapmaking in each chamber were evident last week as the plans were first considered.
At one point, Democrat Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, jokingly suggested senators could find a mentor in the House to resolve problems with the Senate map.
“In the House, people sat down and worked it out,” said Democrat Sen. Tom Adelson of Tulsa. “In the Senate, the Republicans seemed like they wanted to jam the boot in your neck.”
Adelson and Sen. Tom Ivester of Elk City were among two Senate Democrats who saw their districts change drastically under the new Senate map. Several Democratic senators in the northeastern part of the state also saw major changes.
But the moving of incumbents wasn’t limited to Democrats. In all, three GOP senators no longer live in their districts: Sen. Jim Reynolds of Oklahoma City; Sen. David Myers of Ponca City; and Sen. Rob Johnson of Kingfisher.
Myers, who is term limited in 2014, said he has no complaints. His mostly rural district lost more than 9,800 residents in the last decade.
“There’s just no way you could maintain that many senators in my rural area,” Myers said. “Since I was term-limited, who do you think they picked on? But I’m not unhappy. It’s a good district and will give me a chance to see some new folks in the next few years.”
Reynolds takes office as Cleveland County treasurer in July, so a special election will have to be held in District
33 43 under its current boundaries. In 2012, the district will move south to McClain and Stephens counties.
Adelson’s District 33 shifted from a mostly downtown Tulsa area to one in the southern and southeastern GOP suburbs. His house was placed in Republican Sen. Brian Crain’s redrawn district.
Adelson, who considers Crain a friend, said he plans to run for reelection in Crain’s District 39.
“I think I could compete,” Adelson said. “Some of those precincts have good Democratic numbers.”
Ivester’s district flipped from the southwest to one stretching from western Oklahoma to Canadian County. It now includes Republican Sen. Rob Johnson’s house in Kingfisher. Johnson plans to move to his redrawn district, which now includes parts of Edmond.
Long odds for Democrats
Senate Democrats said they knew they faced long odds in getting districts redrawn to their liking. But Adelson said the hiring of a GOP political consultant poisoned the process. Karl Ahlgren was paid more than $127,000 for his redistricting advice to the Republican leadership since spring 2009, according to Senate financial records.
“Redistricting is political by nature, but at least people have had some modesty about it in the past,” Adelson said. “Their people were not interested in preserving the voice of Oklahomans, they were interested in increasing the Republican market share for personal benefit.”
Ahlgren’s firm, AH Strategies, ran the campaign of Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who defeated Adelson in the 2009 mayoral race.
Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, the chairman of the Senate Redistricting panel, said the process can be emotionally charged.
“This is probably the most personal thing we do in the senate,” Jolley said.
Ahlgren has had a succession of consulting contracts with the Oklahoma Senate under current and former Republican leaders. Ahlgren, a former assistant secretary of the senate, also worked for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn and former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles.
“As such, his knowledge of Oklahoma and the local communities of interest was valuable to the process,” Jolley said. “Members of both political parties consulted with Mr. Ahlgren and any allegations that Mr. Ahlgren actually drew lines are simply false. Lines were drawn under the direction of senators directly to the technical staff.”
The Senate spent $165,500 on redistricting in the last three years, said Jarred Brejcha, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman. That included Ahlgreen’s contracts, software and payroll for other employees.
In the House, former Republican Rep. Larry Ferguson served as an informal advisor to the redistricting process for “historical context” but was not paid, officials said. Including software, payroll and travel, the House spent $175,000 on redistricting since August 2010, said John Estus, spokesman for House Speaker Kris Steele.
Because any new map must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act to protect minority representation, that’s the first place mapmakers start, Jolley said.
“We had to draw those districts before we could do anything else, and we had to draw around those districts and that resulted in some funny looking maps in Oklahoma city and Tulsa,” he said. “That made the process more difficult but at then end of the day we’ve got maps that make sense that I believe the majority of members of both parties hopefully will support.”
The Senate map largely preserves Oklahoma City Sen. Constance Johnson’s District 48, a seat long held by an African-American. Still, Johnson said Friday on the Senate floor she wasn’t happy with losing part of her district to fellow Democratic Sen. Charlie Laster of Shawnee. Johnson said she may explore filing a lawsuit over the Senate plan.
In Tulsa, Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre’s District 11 lost more than 11,000 people since 2000. To retain the majority-minority status of that district, additional Hispanic precincts were moved in. McIntyre does not plan to run for reelection.
Rice said creating a new Hispanic majority-minority district in Oklahoma City isn’t yet a requirement under federal law. But he said Senate redistricting leaders wanted to be ahead of the demographic changes on the city’s south side. Rice gave up several urban neighborhoods in his current District 46 to make that happen.
“It’s sad to lose them, but I’m excited to get new parts of downtown and the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which has such a rich history and is evolving in interesting ways,” Rice said.
Rice said his hope is that part of town could eventually be represented by a Hispanic senator.
I’ve uploaded a new interactive map of the Senate’s redistricting plan released this afternoon.
Also, here’s the data, courtesy of Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and Senate Redistricting Staff.
On the map, zoom in to see if your house has moved into another senator’s district.
If you see any errors or omissions, let me know.
The Oklahoma Senate released its new plan for redistricting this afternoon. You can read the press release here.
Senate redistricting leaders and staffers also released the shapefile data behind the plans. (I will post that later.)
Here’s some very quickly rendered maps of the new plan (red outlines) with the old lines layered below (black outlines).
What do you think of the plan? Drop me a comment below.
State map (click each map for a larger version)
To use it, you’ll need to unzip it and have access to a GIS program such as ArcGIS or QGIS. Or you can set up a free account at GeoCommons. They have some good instructions here. To make this kind of map more useful, you’ll need to add some information to it, such as demographic information or voter registration information. (I’m working on adding some of that data in GeoCommons, but can’t promise it will be up very quickly.)
Meanwhile, redistricting over in the Senate has been a little more contentious. But here’s hoping they follow the House’s lead on transparency and release the data behind the plan they’re working on.
Click for map
I had a great time on Saturday down at the Skirvin Hotel for the first CityCampOKC, part of the second day of the Gov 2.0a conference. CityCamps have been in several other cities for the last couple of years, but this was a first for Oklahoma.
This was my first “unconference,” a loosely themed and loosely organized day of like-minded people coming together. Basically, the agenda is set by the participants, with help from the unconference facilitators.
After introductions, we wrote some discussion topics on yellow stickies that our facilitator, Oklahoma City’s Zach Nash, put on the wall. Since we all were interested in the intersection of government and technology, some of the topics weren’t a surprise.
The first session split into two groups, one for open data in local government and the other for website design.
I was more interested in the open data side, since much of my job involves requesting and analyzing publicly available government data. We grabbed our list of topics from the wall and got to the discussion.
We had a good mix of city officials, developers, entrepreneurs and activists at the open data table.
I was a little leery that we would be able to cover the eight or so topics on our list. But after reading each sticky note, the conversation just started flowing.
Of course, open data is not just data provided by government agencies. Increasingly, engaged citizens are creating their own data sets that can be used by developers and hackers for “mashing up” on maps, smartphone apps and data visualization.
A number of state and city government have launched open data websites in the last few years, including Oklahoma earlier this year. But the challenge is showing what can be done with that data.
Gov2.0Radio’s Adriel Hampton talked about the datasf.org website and how the city of San Francisco has compiled some of the apps using open data into a showcase page. Other cities or states are sponsoring competitions with small cash prizes for the best app using open data.
The challenges posed by both government-provided data and citizen-generated data are similar. The data needs to be accurate and timely. If it’s provided by citizens, there needs to be a process for collection and peer verification. If it’s provided by government, there needs to be a easy way for users to report errors in the data.
Still, at the end of the day, the data needs to be useful to the public. Among some of the other ideas discussed:
- Breaking down the bureaucracy inside city government so departments can freely share data without turf wars.
- Harnessing existing platforms like See Click Fix or Open 311 to get the public to report problems with city services.
- Providing APIs (Application Program Interfaces) so city governments can provide feeds of city data to the public without much extra manpower or effort.
- Explaining the value of open data to city decision makers. Some suggestions included informal “citizen advisory panels” for leaders to ask for additional explanation from local data users and developers.
On the other side of the room, participants discussed how to best redesign or begin websites for city government. Among the models mentioned was the recent collaborative redesign of the federal government’s Federal Communications Commission website. Other topics included:
- Getting elected officials involved in the redesign process.
- The website as the new face of city government and how it’s just as important as the customer interactions with trash pickup or pothole repairs.
- Is the city website ever really “done” and the importance of continual improvement.
- Creating a sustainable fee structure for online services that can help support website development.
- Keeping track of city website redesigns at GovLoop.
- Using open source tools like Drupal to power new local government website services. (Also see FirmStep.)
- Translating technical language into what people’s needs are in their communities. Ideally, all this technology should just make it easier, not harder, for citizens to engage with their local governments.
After lunch, Adriel Hampton gave a short presentation about his new company, Nation Builder, and how to take advantage of online tools to organize community members. (More on that later.)
The last session of the day was a discussion on how local governments can reach out to underserved communities. Among the key points:
- Don’t forget about local libraries being key points for outreach.
- Community building using Neighborgoods.org, an online swap-shop for neighbors and friends.
- Don’t force people to use a smartphone for city services. Not everybody can afford one. People will use the easiest thing available to them.
- If you have a Twitter account, don’t forget to embed its feed on your website.
- Using SMS text alerts or QR codes for additional information about city services.
- Reaching out to non-English speakers in the community.
- Providing closed-captioning for online video.
- Using savings from paperless/online billing for targeted outreach in other areas of city government.
Newly posted on the Oklahoma House website this morning.
Here’s the statewide map (minus the Panhandle):
Here’s the inset for the urban areas:
They’ve also got plenty of smaller, more detailed maps on the site here. I’ll have more on this later.