Oklahoma City Council examines ways to improve representation

The city council will look at a new map as it discusses whether increasing the number of council members would better serve Oklahoma City residents.
by William Crum Published: February 5, 2014

Oklahoma City Council members agreed Tuesday to see how the electoral map would look if boundaries were redrawn to make Capitol Hill the focus of its own ward.

The current boundaries, adopted after the 2010 census, divide the area traditionally known as Capitol Hill among Wards 4, 6 and 7.

Ward 4 Councilman Pete White grew up in the old Capitol Hill in the 1940s and 1950s.

The community reached from the North Canadian — now Oklahoma — River to S 59 Street, between Bryant Avenue on the east and Pennsylvania or May Avenue on the west.

Churches included “Capitol Hill” in their names and teenagers attended Capitol Hill High School, he said.

White has proposed adding two wards to the city. That would increase the number of city council seats from eight to 10, plus the mayor, who is elected at-large.

Council members reviewed a proposed 10-ward map from 2011 and a new 12-ward map in Tuesday afternoon's discussion, but talk quickly turned to other concerns.

White says having more wards would reduce the number of residents each council member serves while increasing opportunities for minority candidates to win council seats.

Each council member currently represents an estimated 72,000 residents, an increase of about 31 percent since 1992. Including the mayor, there are seven white men, one black man and one white woman on the council.

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by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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