Sunday, December 5, 2010
Compare to Tulsa City Council wards
I present to you, a ward map that makes sense. There aren't really any wards that traverse major boundaries and each area of town is given a great sense of autonomy by these districts. They also, for the most part, have smaller wards than we do. Tulsa, a city of 389,000 in the 2009 estimate, has 9 wards at about 44,000 each. Oklahoma City, with about 570,000 in the 2009 estimate, has 8 wards at about 71,000 each. This would tend to suggest OKC needs more wards in order to have as representative a body as Tulsa, and I would argue that 44,000/ward is still high. Also consider that Tulsa pretty much has 4 wards that represent the inner city. 2 for Midtown and 2 for North Tulsa. OKC's inner south has no ward that represents it, whereas North Tulsa has 2 that represent it.
Calgary is also redrawing lines in its 14-ward City Council. Here's a great map drawn up by a Calgary blogger..the color fills represent the new wards, the black lines represent the old. This redistricting is supposed to ensure a more representative council. So apparently it can be done by just redrawing lines. I would also mention that Calgary has a ratio of about 75,000 citizens to 1 alderman. You'll see that the UC area (Ward 7) and inner-north side of Calgary is being consolidated into one ward. Presently it's a lot like Capitol Hill--an area broken up by 3 or 4 wards depending on how you geographically define it.
Maybe what's interesting is that the redistricting in Calgary is taking place now that the overwhelming majority of the inner city has been gentrified. You're just as likely to see minorities in the burbs now as you are in the inner city, the only different is that the ones downtown are much more affluent and the ones in the suburbs got bumped out by the high rent in the Beltline (south of downtown). So basically the modus operandii while the inner city was fragmented and poor was to gerrymander and split it up into a dozen different districts that made no sense as long as each had a different area of town to counterbalance the minority votes. Now that the inner city is gentrified and affluent, the modus operandii is to go back and draw lines that make a little more sense. So does anything really change? OKC will probably follow the same trajectory. We won't do it this time just yet, but next time this comes up in 2021 we probably will finally get around to some wards that make sense. Lookin at you, Capitol Hill.