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Contributor

Phone: (512) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: r***@***.com
Austin Chronicle Corp.
P.O. Box 49066
Austin , Texas 78765
United States

Company Description: The Austin Chronicle celebrates 31 years as Austin's independent news source, covering music, film, arts, and politics, with 195,000 readers per week in the greater...   more
Web References
Martha Cotera and Roscoe ...
www.austinchronicle.com [cached]
Martha Cotera and Roscoe Overton
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Martha Cotera and Roscoe Overton
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Outside a recent meeting of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee, Martha Cotera and Roscoe Overton - two civic leaders long involved in the struggle for equal rights and equitable political representation - are going back and forth on the committee's primary topic: "geographic representation" and whether Austin's revised form of City Council elections should be based solely on single-member districts or include some form of "super- district," where some candidates can run to represent multiple districts or larger geographic areas.
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"Right now, just to use [Council Member] Sheryl Cole as an example," says Overton, "if she was trying to push something that deals strictly with racial issues, she would only have to convince three other people to have four as a majority.
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Overton replies. "Your [superdistrict] vote's not any larger than mine if I'm in a single district. But, under a hybrid system, he continues, "I have some allies, I have some help to raise that issue, because I can't do it by myself.
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A competing plan has its true believers (e.g., Overton) but hasn't had as much vocal support: the 8-4-1 scenario - eight individual districts, with two council members each serving in superdistricts that halve the city. The mayor would be the only truly at-large candidate, for a total of 13 council members, and every citizen would get to vote for - and be represented by - four council members instead of just two under a pure district system. Supporting 8-4-1 is the Austin Center for Peace and Justice, which hosted some early discussions on the districting topic; ACPJ President Rudy Williams writes, "The 8-4-1 model is based on the City Coun­cil configuration in Memphis," Tenn., which Overton apparently had a hand in configuring.
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As Overton told Cotera at that meeting, "The reason I like the model of the superdistrict is because you've got a common interest there, and you have more people than yourself."
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single-member districts, geographic representation, Martha Cotera, Roscoe Overton, city council
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