The race to represent one of Galveston’s minority council districts gets underway this month ahead of an important redistricting process.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


Recommended for you

(17) comments

David Hardee

The Problem with REPRESENTATION is it is an abstract noun without meaning unless attenuated with a concrete purpose, place or thing.

Representation is:

Theory of Representation theory is a branch of mathematics that studies abstract algebraic structures by representing their elements as linear transformations of vector spaces, and studies modules over these abstract algebraic structures.

Definition - Representation is the act of speaking on someone's behalf, or depicting or portraying something. When a lawyer acts on behalf of a client, this is an example of representation. When you make a drawing of your mother that is meant to look like her, this is an example of a representation of your mother. noun.

Other words for representation are:









History of Gerrymandering

Beginning in 1812 and over the years the issue has waffled with dubious opinions through the courts,

While the US Supreme Court has ruled that redistricting that discriminates on racial or ethnic grounds is unconstitutional, it has been reluctant to issue a similarly-strong ruling for partisan redistricting. The Court has ruled that excessive partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution.

This was the latest dubious opinion. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in the area of redistricting and racial gerrymandering. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that redistricting based on race must be held to a standard of strict scrutiny under the equal protection clause.

So here we are again playing wack-a-about with Gerrymandering. Borders and the content of descriptive population within borders are the issue. An At-Large district has no consideration for the content (populations diversity) within a well defined border like city, county, state or country. But a gerrymandered district moves the border lines to accomplish a dilution of the well defined border (whole population) into particles with new border lines to create segregation of the whole population. Ergo a segregated society is created.

Equality is the purpose of creating this segregated/Gerrymandered society. Ergo a society can only have equality if it is segregated so that a majority is subjugated to the equivalence of the minority. What a convoluted society the Gerrymandering of the USA has constructed with this social engineering attempt.

The political arena is corrupt with the ever present battles of those who perceive themselves as victims of the majority and have been given a unnatural Gerrymandered amount of power.

A segregated society of malcontent minorities is the what USA has experienced from the Gerrymandering process. If there is a minority or a peculiarity of the population they will always consider themselves as victims. The USA has created segregation (the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart.), on itself.

Shame on us.

Back to At-Large voting where an individual will be responsible to navigate and negotiate in the natural diversity of the society/city/county/state/country he lives in and not have the federal government legislate segregation, would be a step toward true progress of integration. Quality of the individual rather than a legislated acceptance of a peculiarity being the worth of a citizen.

Gary Scoggin

“ A segregated society of malcontent minorities” — Assuming for a second this characterization is accurate (which I don’t believe it is), have you given any thought as to the source of this “malcontentment”?

David Hardee

There is nothing but truth in the statement that "If there is a minority or a peculiarity of the population they will always consider themselves as victims." No minority in history has been satisfied with their status. If we are not “ A segregated society of malcontent minorities” give us your description of our society.

A truth is - Humans will, compete, and strive with the intent to be better conditioned/status. That capacity (compete/strive) to not be unhappy is a malcontent condition, naturally. No legislation, mantra or benevolence/charity will satisfy. Only when an individual achieves contentment from personal effort gratification is one really satisfied. A Grouping of malcontents will feel strong and act out as victims in rebellion against the society/majority. Our society is segmented with several groups that perceive themselves victims/malcontent. The source of "this malcontentment" is the desire for the same or incorporated status/power of the majority. In every society their is a majority an consequently a minority.

I have expressed my conclusion and the reasons of the state of calamity in our society.

Will you please enlighten us with what you conclude is the source/reason of the CURRENT calamities in our society. And what these groupings of malcontents want/need to be CONTENT with their status as a minority. Equality is not possible in a diverse society.

Opportunity in the USA is the best in the world no matter your status. The ability to navigate, manage, and to utilize opportunity is a personal attribute that no legislation will provide. Average is equality and easily obtained, usually. Aside from unforeseen circumstances destiny is ones personal responsibility.


Bailey Jones

"If there is a minority or a peculiarity of the population they will always consider themselves as victims."

Really, David? Do the top 1% of billionaires feel like victims? This year's crop of college valedictorians? Olympic athletes? Nobel Prize winners? Redheads? Ford Pinto owners? People who like licorice?

I suspect you mean "peculiarities" of the type that have been historically discriminated against. Jews, for instance. Or gays. Or black and brown skinned people, or the working poor, or immigrants, or the indigenous people of any colonized land. You know - people who have actually been victimized. These are people who might consider themselves to be victims.

Or, more to the point - people who live in a political district without representation. I, for instance, live in District 1. Why on earth would I want a city council made up entirely of people who don't live near where I live? A council comprised of downtowners and east enders might be very good for those neighborhoods, but I want someone on the council who knows the issues peculiar to my part of town. I supported Rev. E.R. Johnson because he had strong personal relationships with many in our district through his church and business.

"At large" representation may be fine for folks like you who live in small homogenous communities, but it has a long history of abuse in communities with racial and/or economic diversity. Anyone who has ever lived in a large city ruled by elites from a particular neighborhood or economic interest can attest to this. Those neighborhoods and interests do very well - at the expense of everyone else. A government that doesn't represent the racial, economic and geographical diversity of its population is simply tyranny - as our history attests. In fact, I believe we fought a revolution over it.

Gary Scoggin

David -- I think Bailey hits the nail on the head. To identify all "minorities" as "malcontents" is a misrepresentation of the concept of a minority. I am left-handed, a distinct minority, but I am not (to my knowledge) a "malcontent."

The groups you appear to apply this term to are, as Bailey notes, groups that have been historically mistreated and deprived to the influence necessary to achieve the same standing in society as the "majority" groups. It is no surprise that groups such as these are malcontented.

What bothers me is the notion that malcontentment by minorities is the natural, irreversible order of things; the concept that we just accept this and move on without addressing how or why or - most importanty - the results of this "natural order." You say that "Equality is not possible in a diverse society." Baloney. Equality is only possible if we move past the majority tribalism you advocate. It is White Supremacy covered in code words.

What a callous, unstable society you advocate for. We may never be a perfect society but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. You seem to not only not want to try, you want to make sure things don't improve.

David Hardee

Gary, I asked , "Will you please enlighten us with what you conclude is the source/reason of the CURRENT calamities in our society. And what these groupings of malcontents want/need to be CONTENT with their status as a minority." Your perspective and solution may improve misunderstandings.


Gary Scoggin

"And what these groupings of malcontents want/need to be CONTENT with their status as a minority[?] Equality is not possible in a diverse society."

Far be if for me to speak for others but I'll give you my impression. And my impression is this: That is the wrong question. It's implication is that "malcontents" (a term which you seem to ascribe to anyone but old white guys like you and me) can never achieve equality. I reject that premise on its face.

The right question is this: What as a society can we do to remove some of the structural barriers that keep some groups from succeeding at the same rate as society as a whole -- especially white society? I refuse to accept the notion that this is not possible.

David - I don't know from where you developed this malcontent/minority/inequality philosophy of yours. But it is bitter, wrong and dangerous. I don't know your background but in mine it is inconsistent with everything I have been taught to believe about how Christ wants us to view and to treat other men and women.

David Hardee

Gary, we can't connect on any basis for debate if you insist that a diverse society can construct a permanent equality for itself. In a diverse society there are multiple perspectives on every issue therefore a consensus on any issue at best will be majority rules, democracy.

Try this thought/experiment - Gary, your project is constructionist (build a society) c that will not be impacted by human nature and has all individuals subject to intellectual manipulation and will achieve total consensus. Groups of like minded people cannot object to your rules, regulations and policies. It is impossible to have a diverse population that will become homogeneous. Your construction will have no similarity to any known societal structure which allows freedom of the individual. Democracy is the best known and the equality in a democracy is the MAJORITY rule and the minority is defeated/unhappy/malcontent, and acts out hopefully in and within the civil order/procedures.

Gary, Your last reply resorted to drawing into our debate your “belief(s).” You evidently want to incorporate Jesus as an element - Jesus- why?. When an opponent in a debate is trying to escape stymie they resort to “beliefs” - the (superNATURAL) - hoping to divert the discussion into a sphere of never ending wandering and wondering

I concede that of all the patterns/examples of selfless lives lived in the annals of history Jesus’s is the ultimate. And also that His (please note the capital H) life is the perfect example of life truncated viscously by those who perceive themselves as victims/malcontent of His inspiring against their construction of a society, The NATURAL human frailty of wanting to be the member of the populous/majority overcame their intellect and He was crucified, to and with the satisfaction of the majority of society at that time. Human nature prevailed, as usual. Belief is a transient and dangerous portion of the psyche. That element, belief, is what the Judas goats - leaders - incorporate to get a herd/society of naïve and children to follow.

Now Gary, you have opened Pandora Box (a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something).

Old people - like you and me - should have converted all the events and cognition over our many years into wisdom and vehemently insisting that the mores, morals and ethics - which we - the citizens of the USA - have been give by tradition - from the examples of the life of Jesus - be adhered to - taught, and be pledge by immigrant to assimilate to - so the Best Hope of Humanity - will not vanish.

This old guy is an advocate for the construction of a society but - only if it does not destroy the example of and tenets of - selfless life, mores, morals, ethics and history. The current “progressive liberal” movement is a destroyer. These philistines are corrupting all they touch. Our language is being bastardized, genders are invented, racism is infecting every issue, and most egregious is the assault on children.

The Progressive Liberal agenda is laced with platitudes promising equality. And those platitudes are extremely enticing to every human that has a perception of being a victim/minority. Our society is filled with opportunities and with individuals that have grievances because they have not achieved what they know was possible if only - that if only - is the malcontentedness that every human harbors and rationalizes as reason for their lesser status. Rationalizing is the human mechanism to keep that human’s psyche healthy.

A malcontent that will or cannot rationalize is dangerous and the fodder for mantras, demonstrations and riots that are burning the bastion where progressive liberals are tolerating and even enjoying destruction.

Stop Blowing Smoke at this oldster - I was there, observing for the 8 decades when the society was segregated - integration was legislated, rejected and force with troops, when the PILL, communes, free love, race riots, draft dodging, homosexuals brought us AIDS, abortion was made popular, shame/judgement became discrimination, mntras were putrid i.e.” IF IT FEELS GOOD DO IT”, multiple children out of wedlock became a path to economic prosperity, Berlin survived by air lift of food, several assassinations of our leaders. And, all while, the federal government was being a constructionist with legislation trying to create equality by social engineering which put every aspect of the citizens life under more fed control. The only good that evolved was that the density in our government became more diverse with more minorities representatives. Unfortunately, that new found power of the minorities was usurped by Alinsky’s Judas goats.

Gary, were you there? If so please give us your rendition of those decades and illustrate those events that were not chaotic and made the progressive liberals contributors to the BEST HOPE of HUMANITY.

David - Bailey, feel free to contribute your appraisal of the past decades.

Gary Scoggin


So, to your proposed thought experiment, you want me to construct a society “ that will not be impacted by human nature and has all individuals subject to intellectual manipulation and will achieve total consensus.” Such a society exists today – it’s called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and I don’t think it’s a model either one of us wants to implement.

I agree that consensus under a democracy doesn’t mean that everyone is happy or that everyone supports every decision. A democracy also doesn’t automatically lump people into particular buckets of either being part of a majority or a minority and categorically identifying all in the minority as a “malcontent.” Wanting a better life or situation does not equate to being a malcontent; it equates to the American Dream upon which has enabled this nation to be the world’s beacon for innovation.

So, what have I experienced over my six decades? (I’ll spot you the 40’s and 50’s.) I’ve seen a society that has made much progress in providing to other groups the rights that only white men have enjoyed pretty much since the founding. At times it’s been messy, at times it’s been wonderous. Chaos can be a good thing at times. It helps throw off the artificial constraints that prevent progress.

That fact that we’ve made progress has resulted in the rising expectations of society as a whole (or almost as a whole.) What you call malcontentment, I call ambition. I call pressure for further progress.

David, it seems as you root for the good old days when old white guys ruled the roost. I, for one, am glad those days are over.

Susan Fennewald

I was the prime architect of the 2010 lines that we're living with now - the lines were drawn VERY fairly and with every attempt to create the most heavily African-American district as possible. BUT... with the number of blacks declining and with increasing opportunity for housing in other parts of the city and so spreading out within the city, district one was still only 45% black.

David Hardee

So you created a majority of minorities to overcome the inequities of natural order. That was an effective TEMPORARY construction and has been aggregated by the feet of your minority as they gravitated to the more pleasant place where they became a minority embraced by the majority. The created/constructed district of a pseudo-majority was temporary because that grouping/concentration of the minority was unattractive for reasons of human nature (things are better across the border so I'll go there). Subsidized housing destroyed the construction of the false majority so you will need to gerrymander again with even more convoluted lines to border the minority you want to construct as a pseudo-majority. Keep up the ludicrous work of manipulating for equality.

Susan Fennewald

Representatives of the African American community were involved with the redistricting and approved of the final map. (I don't know if Leon Philips was there or not- the minutes of the meetings may show it.)

Curtiss Brown

We could solve two of the problems mentioned here; Gerrymandering and the dispersal of the black community across the city. If we adopted proportional voting we could eliminate all of the district lines; all candidates for council run at-large; any identified interest of 14 - 20 % could have their own council member, and we have done it before.

Everyone runs at-large for six positions. Each citizen gets six votes to be spread out among the candidates running. Every candidate runs on issues, not personalities. Candidates are elected by the voters not the racial make-up of the district. If you want your guy to win you have to vote (right now if your district is manufactured to produce a Black winner you don't have to vote is race is your only motivation.)

Proportional voting is a reasonable alternative, and we have done it before.

Susan Fennewald

Since I live east of 61 st in district 2, I prefer to keep the district with lines. The voter turnout in District 5 and 6 are generally higher than elsewhere. So in any at-large vote, they have more say (as a group, not individually). Also, the city manager and upper city administration often live in districts 5 and 6, so those districts have more influence at city hall, in addition to the added influence from higher voter turnout.

Jose' Boix

As an observer, I have to wonder what is the most ethical and balanced approach to redistricting covering the six Galveston City Council Districts? Isn't it to have demographically and ethnically balanced Districts based on the most recent Census numbers for Galveston? All this done using some stated demographic ranges to ensure an effective proportional balance among the districts. All this done outside party affiliation, just Census and demography. Just my thoughts.

Susan Fennewald

Party affiliation really has nothing to do with local Galveston city redistricting. City politics is non-partisan (and I personally believe it is non-partisan in fact as well as name).

My approach to redistricting in 2010 was to try to give each unique neighborhood a voice. In Galveston, for the most part, geography and neighborhood and major concerns seem to go hand in hand. So the African American and poor part of town got one district. The historical area got a district. The older beachfront got a district. The newer "suburban like" area got a district. And everything west of that got a district. Of course, this is never perfect and smaller parts were put with their neighbors and boundaries were shifted to make the numbers work. I started with what I thought of as natural boundaries- Broadway, 25th st, Ave O, Ave S, 61st, Heards Lane, Stewart Rd - and worked from there.

Bailey Jones

Galveston city council districts appear to me to be reasonably drawn. But they will no doubt need a refresh after the latest census comes in.

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.