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Preliminary map for council District 1 keeps UCSD, brings in north Pacific Beach and shifts University City

The preliminary redistricting map shows proposed boundaries for District 1 (blue), District 2 (gold) and District 6 (purple).
The preliminary map approved by the San Diego Redistricting Commission shows proposed new boundaries for District 1 (blue), District 2 (gold) and District 6 (purple).
(Courtesy of city of San Diego)

With a month to go until the San Diego Redistricting Commission votes on a final map of the City Council’s new district boundaries, it voted 7-2 on Nov. 13 to adopt a preliminary redistricting plan and map and submitted it to the city clerk two days later.

The plan, dubbed the “compromise map,” would keep UC San Diego in council District 1 (which includes La Jolla), bring north Pacific Beach into District 1 from District 2 and move University City from District 1 to District 6.

Under the new map, District 1 would include Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, La Jolla, part of Pacific Beach (north of Grand Avenue, Crown Point Drive and Riviera Drive), Torrey Highlands, Torrey Pines, Torrey Preserve and part of Rancho Peñasquitos.

According to the city, council districts must be composed of contiguous territory, be made roughly equal in population based on U.S. Census data and be as geographically compact as possible. The districts also must be bordered by natural boundaries, street lines and/or city lines as much as possible.

San Diego has about 1.39 million residents, so each of its nine council districts will need about 154,400 people. However, District 1 currently has a population of about 166,600, representing a 12.8 percent increase from the 2010 Census and almost 8 percent over the desired number.

Under the compromise map, District 1 would have a population of about 157,600.

Many UCSD students have been lobbying to move the campus to District 6 to create an “Asian empowerment” district. The change would connect the university politically with Mira Mesa and the Convoy area in a district that would be roughly 40 percent Asian. However, a group known as District 1 United worked to retain the District 1 boundaries as they are and keep UCSD in it.

Seeking a compromise, “the commission decided to keep UCSD in District 1 to keep the district compact and contiguous,” according to a report submitted to the city clerk. “However, the commission moved University City to District 6 in response to public testimony that a number of UCSD students live in northern University City and wanted to move to District 6, given their ties to the communities there.”

Further, the commission decided to put the coastal communities of La Jolla and north Pacific Beach in the same district based on “common interests and concerns, including traffic, beaches and bays, tourism and environmental issues, including sea-level rise. The district is geographically compact to the extent possible while balancing other criteria and community-of-interest boundaries.”

Because the preliminary map keeps UCSD in District 1 and maintains two coastal districts (1 and 2), District 1 United representative Janie Emerson said the group is “supportive” of the map, with some “minor tweaks,” such as returning Torrey Hills to District 1 and creating a better southern boundary between Districts 1 and 2.

“More people are comfortable with this map than others that have been presented,” said Emerson, president of the La Jolla Shores Association. “It’s a good map. With a couple of minor tweaks to our boundaries, it could be a really good map.” She said District 1 United would continue to advocate those changes.

In coming weeks, the Redistricting Commission will have five meetings to collect public feedback. The commission may make changes to the preliminary plan or adopt it as is. On or about Dec. 15, the commission will vote on a final map to submit to the San Diego County registrar of voters.

Emerson said representatives of University City support the move to District 6 because it preserves the community in one district. A previous map suggested splitting University City between Districts 1 and 6.

The redistricting process is done once every 10 years in accord with federal law and the city charter. Learn more at sandiego.gov/redistricting-commission. ◆