The first eight members were chosen Wednesday for a 14-member city commission that will draw Austin City Council districts.
The eight will spend the next few months reviewing the applications from 52 remaining finalists, and will choose six more people to round out the commission’s gender, age, ethnic, racial and geographical diversity.
The commission will then begin a historic task: carrying out a change that voters approved last fall to transform the Austin City Council from seven citywide members to 10 district representatives and a mayor.
The commission will have until December to draw the 10 districts’ boundaries. Candidates can begin running next spring for the district seats or for mayor in the November 2014 election.
Nearly 550 people applied to do the map-drawing work, and auditors whittled the list to 60 finalists last week. Council members had the opportunity to strike one name each, but none did. The first eight members were then chosen at random from the finalists on Wednesday.
The eight are Magdalena Blanco, Mariano Diaz-Miranda, Rachel Farris, William Hewitt, Carmen Llanes Pulido, Arthur Lopez, Anna Saenz and Maria Solis.
Five are women; three are men. Five are age 45 or older. Six are Hispanic, one is white and one is Native American. Four live in South Austin; the rest live in East, Northeast and North Austin. None lives west of MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1).
Austin’s overall population is about 48 percent white, 36 percent Hispanic, 7 percent African-American, and 7 percent Asian, according to census data.