The holiday season will bring more than presents for Austinites. It will also bring maps outlining the boundaries for 10 City Council districts — if the grueling process of tweaking and finalizing the districts wraps up in time for Christmas.
But the Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission — the volunteer citizen group charged with drawing the maps — is accepting comments on its preliminary map during a regular meeting tonight and a public input meeting Wednesday.
After some question over the fairness of the planning process, the city seeks to make the process to be as open as possible. And, while the public meetings will go a long way to reflect the will of Austin voters, political consultant and former state representative Glen Maxey says the board's required consensus will also make it difficult to redistrict for any political gains.
"It really is a free for all. It's done in public. It's done by a commission that can't really have private meetings," Maxey says. "You have to do it in a public hearing. It's a conundrum for people that are trying to draw lines for their own political advantage."
The final map is expected to be used for the November 2014 elections.