Redistricting commission set to vote on new council districts

By James R. Riffel
City News Service

San Diego’s redistricting commission is poised to approve a preliminary map for City Council districts, the panel’s chief of staff said Wednesday.

Midori Wong said commissioners have narrowed their focus to a map known as the “July 19 Plan” and are expected to vote on it Thursday afternoon.

They were tasked with adjusting district boundaries based on 2010 census data and adding a ninth council district necessitated by San Diego’s switch to a strong-mayor form of government.

It used to be that the mayor sat on the City Council and would serve as a ninth — tie-breaking — vote. Since the change, the council has operated with eight members, but 4-4 tie votes have been extremely rare.

Wong said the July 19 Plan is “the commission’s best effort” after a series of meetings that attracted 850 attendees, drew 1,000 comments and a number of plans submitted by the public.

The plan only partly satisfies the wishes of activists who wanted a second Latino majority district and one area that might vote an Asian resident onto the council.

The proposed ninth district would, if approved, run from the College area to Southcrest, with Interstate 15 serving as the western boundary in the southern part of the area. While the district would be 50 percent Hispanic, only 25 percent are registered to vote, according to the commission’s demographic data.

District 8, represented currently by David Alvarez, has sent Latinos to the council for years and has a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic residents. His district would remain mostly intact under the plan.

In the northern part of the city, the July 19 Plan would break off Mira Mesa, which has a large Asian population, and attach it to District 6, which also includes another heavily Asian neighborhood, Kearny Mesa.

The adjusted boundaries make the district, currently represented by Lorie Zapf, about one-third Asian.

One feature of the plan that immediately stands out is that downtown San Diego would switch from one of its biggest boosters, Kevin Faulconer, to Todd Gloria.

Faulconer, whose press representatives did not return a message seeking comment, would continue to represent the beach areas, Point Loma and Mission Bay.

Gloria, who would give up part of City Heights in exchange for downtown, would continue to represent North Park and Hillcrest, satisfying the wishes of political activists in the gay community.

Wong said the plan is not final and could be modified following a series of five public meetings scheduled to begin next week. The commission is expected to take a final vote in late August.

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  4. Council votes to restore fire engines, library and rec hours
  5. Tony Young chosen as new City Council president

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Posted by Staff on Jul 20, 2011. Filed under News, Region. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Redistricting commission set to vote on new council districts”

  1. Thank you for this piece. I just want to state a few facts. The five neighborhoods with the highest number AND largest percentage of Asian Pacific Islander residents are, in order, Mira Mesa, University City, Skyline-Paradise Hills, Rancho Penasquitos and Carmel Valley. The Redistricting Commission has ignored the OVERWHELMING number of requests from San Diego residents to unite, at the least, 3 of these neighborhoods to create a core API area- Mira Mesa, University City-north, and Rancho Penasquitos. They have not done this, and in fact, have split our core API community from 2 and to now THREE (3) separate districts. The amount of consideration that they have given to the API community pales in comparison to the amount of consideration given to many other communities of interest, including groups much smaller in number and much fewer in testimonies provided. We are asking the Redistricting Commission to give us fair and equal consideration and representation. It is not fair that APIs, which is the number 1 fastest growing group of all, has been given a proposed district that (1) does not significantly increase the Asian concentration from the old district, and (2) must be forced to accept an unreasonable even-numbered district causing further delay and deferral of fair representation. We are very disappointed with the commission's discrimination and have spoken loud and clear at each and every hearing.

  2. James

    I really don't understand why the redistricting would take race into consideration for drawing district lines.

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