Redistricting plan runs into opposition from some Penasquitos residents

City News Service

Nearly 200 residents of a neighborhood that could be cut off from Rancho Penasquitos in this year's City Council redistricting plan showed up at the Redistricting Commission Monday afternoon to protest.

The residents of Park Village, which is tucked between state Route 56 to the north and the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve on the south, identify with Rancho Penasquitos. However, the current plan under consideration has them attached to Mira Mesa.

"Park Village belongs in Penasquitos,'' resident Jim Cantwell told the commissioners. He said he has lived in the area for 17 years.

A woman who addressed the commissioners said the preserve was a natural boundary that should have been used in mapping district boundaries.

Others held signs that said One PQ,'' while banners held up in the back of the meeting room read,Don't Divide Our Community,'' Don't Divide Penasquitos'' andSave Penasquitos.''

Redistricting is done every 10 years to adjust the boundaries of City Council districts in accordance with updated census data. The process has been complicated this year because a ninth district is being added.

The commissioner have shown a willingness to keep neighborhoods relatively intact.

Last week, they moved a section of Linda Vista north of Genesee Avenue back into a district with most of the remainder of the community, which had been split three ways. Now only the far west end of the sprawling area north of Mission Valley is in another district.

They also reattached a sliver of the East Village with the rest of the downtown district, though the change affected only two residents.

The commissioners are required to keep the districts roughly equal in population and in a state of geographic integrity but reflective of community needs under the Voting Rights Act. The new map is scheduled for adoption by the commissioners, who have the final say, on Aug. 25.

How the new maps are implemented remains to be seen.

Council President Tony Young has proposed that members begin serving their new districts 30 days later after they're approved by the commissioners, with the residents of the new ninth district represented by their current council member.

However, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith opined that the city Charter calls for the current district boundaries to remain in place until Dec. 3, 2012, when the winners of next year's elections are seated.

The possibility also exists that the adopted map could be challenged, either in court or in a referendum.

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