Committee of the Whole - Council Redistricting Discussion

Detroit City Council
Politics
Census 2020

Remote

The City’s seven Council Districts need to be redrawn based on the 2020 Census population data. The Detroit City Council will be holding a discussion on the issue on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 2pm. The meeting will be held in person and virtually via Zoom.

To attend virtually, please use this link to join: https://detroitmi.gov/Online-CC-Meeting.

For additional details, please see the attached documents.

Check the source website for additional information

Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Detroit - MI Documenters Team

Note-taking by Sonja Stuckey

Residents resist redrawing of district boundaries. Five maps were presented, two will move forward after more outreach.

Live reporting by Alex Klaus

Residents from Grixdale Farms in D2 are displeased with proposals to redistrict their neighborhood into District 3.

Good afternoon! Today at 2 I’ll live-tweet the City Council Committee of the Whole Council Redistricting Discussion for #DETdocumenters. @DetDocumenters media partners: @BridgeDet313 @chalkbeatDET @freep @metrotimes @MichiganRadio @media_outlier @PlanetDetroit @wdet @wxyzdetroit

12:20 PM Nov 14, 2023 CST

Alex @mostlikelyalex 3/73
After the 2020 census indicated a 10.5% population decrease since 2010, city council has to redraw it’s districts.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 4/73
District 4 faced the greatest population loss, but the specific percentage shown in this slide differs from the % featured in this memo:
detroit.documenters.org/documents/redi…
Alex @mostlikelyalex 5/73
There are currently three proposed redistricting maps. The full presentation has more in-depth visual representation of the changes.
documentcloud.org/documents/2413…
Alex @mostlikelyalex 6/73
Catch up with coverage from @NargisTheWriter for @wdet
“Detroit Evening Report: Redistricting process begins for Detroit City Council”
wdet.org/2023/11/13/red…
Alex @mostlikelyalex 7/73
“Is it time for Detroit City Council Redistricting?” from @DETROITography
detroitography.com/2023/08/25/map…
Alex @mostlikelyalex 8/73
Some residents are pointing out that the city is not using their social media accounts to raise awareness about this meeting or the new redistricting maps.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 9/73
Other residents have voiced their oppositions to the redistricting plans, like a public commenter in today’s city council formal session:
Alex @mostlikelyalex 10/73
Read about this morning’s city council formal session here from @benavides_colon
Alex @mostlikelyalex 11/73
I’ll see everyone at 2. Also, just a reminder there is a Documenters orientation TOMORROW at 5:30 pm!
Alex @mostlikelyalex 12/73
It’s 2pm and city council is still in their formal session.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 13/73
I will update when formal session adjourns and our meeting starts
Alex @mostlikelyalex 14/73
They are calling the committee of the whole meeting to the order at 2:04, and recessing this meeting so they can finish the formal session.
President Mary Sheffield says the formal session will probably continue for at least 30 minutes, or longer if council takes a break.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 15/73
Once again, I will update when the committee of the whole meeting is called back to order.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 16/73
City Council adjourned the formal session meeting and are taking a 30 minute break. They will return at 2:50 pm for the Committee of the Whole meeting. I will update you all then.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 17/73
I was logged into the meeting (nothing was on the screen) at 2:50 but it said the meeting ended around 2:52. Now the meeting has restarted but here is the screen:
Alex @mostlikelyalex 18/73
3 pm and the screen looks like this now
Alex @mostlikelyalex 19/73
Meeting called to order at 3:05 pm!
Alex @mostlikelyalex 20/73
Some audience members present.
There are 8 callers for public comment and 16 in-person commenters. We are going right into public comment #DetDocumenters
Alex @mostlikelyalex 21/73
The president of a new neighborhood association said the group would be redistricted into district 3 and doesn’t want to be redistricted.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 22/73
Another commenter says change is important, but this will affect the next 10 years and hipes they will do their best to “get it right.”
Next commenter asks council to engage with them, the community, who will be most impacted by the change in districts.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 23/73
Another resident talks about how they live in a legacy neighborhood, where much of their houses were passed down from several generations. She asks them to keep Midwest neighborhood in tact.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 24/73
Another resident from Midwest/Tireman neighborhood resident says that changes would jeopardize their progress as a community. She also says the district 6 city council representative didn’t engage in a dialogue with the community.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 25/73
Member Gabrielle Santiago Romero responded, saying this is the first time that city council has discussed this and says her office will be making more opportunities to connect with the community about this as time progresses.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 26/73
Vice president of a block club in district 2 (didn’t catch the exact name—Woodward West or Woodward Park, possibly) says that the redistricting plans are based on numbers only, not accountability and not representation.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 27/73
Another resident says the redistricting options are all about numbers. Says their councilmember has worked with them, they want to see that support continued. They want an option that will keep their neighborhood in district 2, and asks city council to support this plan.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 28/73
Another district 2 resident says redistricting their neighborhood into district 3 would separate them from the amenities near them at Palmer Park.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 29/73
Another district 2 resident, the previous commenter’s husband, says they moved specifically to district 2 for the community association there connected to Palmer Park. Wants to stay in district 2, he understands changes are good for equity but asks to reconsider redistricting.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 30/73
Another commenter says redistricting is like redlining to her, and doesn’t want her neighborhood to be separated from each other through redistricting. Asks city council to think about what they are breaking up.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 31/73
Missed a comment while I was trying to tweet other public comments sorry!
Another commenter says that using major roads like Woodward to redistrict separates a community similar to segregation.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 32/73
Another resident from district two Grixdale Farms neighborhood says they should go with option 2 because they wouldn’t be redistricted into district 3
Alex @mostlikelyalex 33/73
Another Grixdale Farms resident wants to stay in district 2 and says I75 is a better boundary line for districting.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 34/73
Now we’re going into virtual comment.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 35/73
A resident from the Midwest Tireman community, district 6, and asks city council postpones this discussion and plans around districting. She says this information wasn’t brought to the community in a timely matter to discuss the ramifications of redistricting.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 36/73
President Sheffield reminds listeners that city council won’t vote on this today and probably won’t until January.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 37/73
Another resident suggests getting rid of districts all together. She thinks they divide the city into pieces. They also say Grixdale Farms residents can still use Palmer Park even if they are redistricted.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 38/73
Another neighborhood associations vice president doesn’t like any of the options proposed. He thinks making dramatic changes to districts will prevent people from maintaining the districts.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 39/73
A commenter used the word r slur and the council asked him not to use that word because it is ableist.
He was talking about using absentee ballot fraud and how they shouldn’t use John R as a dividing line between the east and west side.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 40/73
Another resident who says he’s from district 2 and 6 also doesn’t support the redistricting.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 41/73
A resident from the Grandmont Rosedale area says that they want to stay in district 1 and do not support the redistricting.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 42/73
Another commenter believes that the council should’ve started this process a while ago. They also said that everyone in different districts should have access to resources that other districts do.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 43/73
District 6 resident says the redistricting from 10 years ago created issues, including with funding received per district.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 44/73
Another commenter wants more information to brung back to her community in district 2.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 45/73
Director Marcell Todd is now introducing the presentation, saying who is present with us including representation from the law department and the elections commission.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 46/73
We’re starting the presentation.
Todd says that redistricting would not take full effect until after the 2025 election, so people would still be represented by the councilmember they elected in the last election.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 47/73
He is suggesting they hold public hearings in January, providing enough time to address challenges.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 48/73
Adam Saxby from the law department is presenting, is summarizing why they are redistricting from a legal standpoint.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 49/73
He says they are required by law to ensure that each district has equal representation, and because the population has changed enough, they legally have to redraw district lines.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 50/73
Each district needs to have as close to equal population as possible (91,400). +/-5% is acceptable when state policy allows or justifies it.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 51/73
Director Todd says that the presentation froze and he has to reboot it.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 52/73
Saxby is listing other factors the council and law department can consider when redrawing districting lines, including preserving the integrity of political subdivisions.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 53/73
Director Todd is presenting again. Here are some of the proposed redistricting from 2012.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 54/73
Now director Todd is showing the current districts and their population.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 55/73
Todd says part of why they are delayed with the redistricting is because of complications with the 2023 voting precincts.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 56/73
The first slide shows a shaded area that was precinct 101 under the 2010 census and 2012 adoption of districts. This precinct provided one of the district 3 boundaries.
The second slide shows that 101 was consolidated and is now a larger district.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 57/73
Proposed district 1 compared with current boundaries.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 58/73
Option 2 prioritizes equal population in each district. I’ve attached the current districts again for reference.
Notice how 4 takes from 5.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 59/73
The third approach maintains as much of district 5 as possible.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 60/73
This option has a greater impact on all districts to make them change more equally.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 61/73
This option allows district 5 to expand northward
Alex @mostlikelyalex 62/73
He says they have tried to maintain as much of the cultural neighborhoods as possible but said the change in population makes this hard.
Jamie Murphy is taking over for director Todd because his voice is weak from sickness.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 63/73
Murphy is detailing changes proposed in option 4 (these are districts 1-4)
Alex @mostlikelyalex 64/73
5, 6, and 7
We’re going into Q and A now.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 65/73
Member Santiago Romero is asking if option 4 is the one director Todd is suggesting.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 66/73
Director Todd said they are still evaluating options but as of how he believes that option 4 is probably his favorite at the moment but he said there is a need to be objective and not discredit other options.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 67/73
There were no other questions.
President Sheffield says the public should have time to react to all 5 options and the council can re discuss when they return from winter recess in January.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 68/73
Council member Santiago Romero says that her office sent information about the redistricting in their newsletter.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 69/73
All the maps that have been proposed will be posted online, as the council voted to do.
President Sheffield asked the best way for people to give feedback. Todd says the best way would be by giving comments through the city council.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 70/73
The meeting was adjourned at 4:34!
Alex @mostlikelyalex 71/73
If you believe anything in the coverage today is inaccurate, please email us at documenters@outliermedia.org with "Correction Request" in the subject line.
Alex @mostlikelyalex 72/73
For more coverage, visit
detroit.documenters.org
Alex @mostlikelyalex 73/73
I apologize, in my attempts to quickly follow the meeting I spelled member Gabriela Santiago-Romero’s name wrong.

Attachments

Agency Information

Detroit City Council

www.detroitmi.gov

See Documenters reporting

The Detroit City Council is the legislative body of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The Council is responsible for the creation of local laws—called ordinances. Additionally they pass resolutions, motions, and the proposed city budget. The full-time council is required to meet every business day for at least 10 months of the year, with at least eight of these meetings occurring at a location besides city hall. The council may convene for special meetings at the call of the mayor or at least four members of council. Areas of responsibility for the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee include, Budget, Finance and the Auditor General.

City Council members are elected on the same cycle as the Mayor and will be elected in 2021. Seven members represent the seven council districts, while two members are elected at-large.

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