The Orange City Council in a special called meeting Tuesday night heard a report from Alan Bojorquez of the Bojorquez Law Firm, PLLC, on draft plans for reapportionment of the City’s four single-member council districts.

In the initial portion of the presentation, Bojorquez covered the large number of regulations of the Department of Justice that must be complied with in the reapportioning of the districts.
Bojorquez stated that in spite of the election this past May approving the implementation of the single member voting districts, the city needed to wait until the 2010 census information was received.

“It would not have been good business to devise a plan based on census numbers that were subject to change when the number for the 2010 census came out,” Borjorquez said. “Even though we have the map, Draft A, ready to review we are not formally recommending this map at this time. Individual citizens and any affected group have the right to make their own proposals based on the available demographics. We have the next meeting scheduled to be held Oct. 11. At that time any other maps may be presented to the council for approval.

“It is rare for a citizens group to present a different map, but it does happen. There is a deadline of Oct. 14 for submitting a map from an individual or a citizens group. While Oct. 14 is the deadline for submitting a map, we will be taking input on the situation for as long as we can, right up to the deadline. Hopefully if there is any input it will be a council member or a citizen suggesting modifications that will be workable. Some maps may not be workable. We suggest that everyone look closely at map Draft A. Hopefully it will be what you all want to see.”

Mayor Brown Claybar explained that there will be time for citizens to review map Draft A and to make comments on the map at the Oct. 11 meeting.

Ned Hawthorne questioned the deadline of Oct. 11, stating that he would like to see citizens allowed more time to work up another proposal.

Bojorquez stated that interested parties have four more weeks to work on a proposal, that the information to build the demographics has been available since March.

“My office will take information from anyone by email, phone call, or personal visit if you are in the Austin area. We will try to work with anyone in any way. We need to have things done before the holidays.”

When asked about the significance of the holidays. Borjorquez stated that the Texas Election Codes take effect each January. Candidates need to know the district they will run in and voters need to know the candidates in their district to vote for.

“I think the city chose wisely in not starting the process even though the information was available in March; they knew that there would be some new council members in May. It would have not been effective in starting the process before the new council was seated.”

Patty Austin asked for more time in order to get the demographics to another demographer.

She also stated that they needed maps and she did not see maps available. Later while the council was in executive session, Borjorquez passed out copies of map Draft A.

Borjorquez again stated that the census information has been available since March and that information that needed to come from the city has been available since last December.

“There is a timeline to getting approval from the Department of Justice for approval so that the city and he candidates can meet the Texas Election Code requirements. We want to allow as much time as possible, but we have to set a firm deadline and that deadline is Oct. 14.”

The next business of the council was to go into a closed executive session to deliberate Item 3(a) 1. The item was to deliberate with the city attorney pending or contemplated litigation as authorized by subjection 551 of the Government Code involving the Robert Arnold case.

Action taken on Item 3(a) 1 was to authorize City Attorney Jack Smith to seek mediation in the Arnold case.