Editor’s note: The LGBT Redistricting Task Force 2011 urges members of the LGBT community and their allies to attend the San Diego City Council redistricting hearing for District 3 at 6 pm Monday, May 2, at the Regional Transportation Center Showroom, 4001 El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego. Task Force members are putting forth their case to keep the LGBT community within at least one district, which currently is District 3.
SAN DIEGO — With the 2010 U.S. Census complete and the recent release of local data, the City of San Diego has begun the process to create City Council districts as equal in population as “possible and practicable” – meaning, according to the data, representing about 144,624 San Diegans.
This year, the once-per-decade process is more complex because last year San Diego voters approved a ninth City Council district, the first since the 1960s.
The mission to redraw the new San Diego City Council district boundaries lies in the hands of the 2010 Redistricting Commission, composed of seven resident members who were appointed by an Appointing Authority of retired judges of the Superior Court of San Diego County, selected at random.
In addition to adopting a plan that creates boundaries for districts that are nearly equal in population, the City Charter also lists a number of other legal criteria having to do with the size and shape of districts. The charter also requires the commission to preserve “communities of interest” identified by both Census data and public testimony. Ultimately, the way districts are drawn will affect voters’ ability to elect City Councilmembers of their choice.
The Redistricting Commission is hosting 20 public hearings this spring and summer to gather information from San Diegans. Because residents are the eyes and ears of the community their testimony is critical to assist in identifying and preserving “communities of interest” – places where, for example, common activities and social and lifestyle patterns are shared within an area. Public comments help the commission better understand and evaluate the specific communities throughout San Diego so that it can ensure fair and equitable redistricting.
Because of deadlines associated with preparing for the 2012 primary election, the Redistricting Commission’s deadline to complete the new plan is August 2011. The current round of hearings takes place prior to the Commission’s preliminary plan – one in each council district and an additional Saturday hearing in a central location. After developing a draft plan and preliminary map, the commission will gather comments at nine additional public hearings.
Although redistricting relies heavily on census data comprised of numbers and other demographic information, citizen participation in the process will help shape the new City Council districts and aid the commission’s efforts.
Further information is posted at the Redistricting Commission’s website HERE.
Residents may also call (619) 533-3060. The commission invites San Diegans to join its email distribution list, request a presentation for a community meeting, and attend the commission’s public hearings.
Residents are also invited to attend the commission’s meetings, held the first and third Thursday of each month at 4 pm on the 12th floor of the City Administration Building, 202 C St., San Diego, CA 92101.
The commission accepts public comments at its meetings and hearings, in writing, by email to: [email protected], and by telephone at (619) 533-3057.