Redistricting – loss of population may change size of District 2
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/22/21 - 07:30 AM | 3353 views | 9 9 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Redistricting is causing San Diego’s nine council districts to likely be readjusted as communities, like the Peninsula in District 2, grapple with how best to readjust their boundaries.

Redistricting is the government-mandated process of redrawing political district lines every 10 years following completion of the U.S Census, which occurred in 2020. The federal government requires that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

Another requirement of redistricting is that existing districts should not have a total population deviation of more than 10% from the previous census. In 2010, there was a total district citywide deviation of approximately 4.59%.

Lora Fleming, chief of staff for the nine-member City of San Diego Redistricting Commission, which will soon be analyzing maps redrawing district boundaries, said there will almost inevitably be some changes.

“I would assume all the boundaries of all nine council districts are going to have to change,” Fleming said. “It’s just a question of how much it has to change.”

Added Fleming: "District 2, which is underpopulated by 2.88%, will need to grow. It’s important to look at the big picture with the census data and to see how enlarging or reducing the size of one City Council district could impact another. It’s one big puzzle, and the commission’s responsibility is to make it all fit with as few deviations as possible."

One of the nine redistricting commissioners, Fred Kosmo, chair of Peninsula Community Planning Board, said his philosophy on redrawing political boundary lines is to “make sure the lines are drawn fairly for everybody.”

Concerning District 2, Kosmo agrees that boundary lines are likely to shift.

“Part of District 2 could be moved into Little Italy or toward Downtown or maybe into Old Town,” he said. “Those areas seem to be natural growth areas. Historically, Downtown, Point Loma and Midway, are all areas that have often been tied together. They share San Diego Bay, one of the natural landmarks. And they’re all tied together with the airport. I don’t know anything for sure. But that seems to be sort of the consensus in some of the maps that have been proposed.”

Kosmo said short-term vacation rentals are a big factor in likely causing District 2’s boundaries to be redrawn.

“STVRs impact the beach communities because people are not living there,” he said. “There are 3,000 to 3,500 STVRs in District 2, which has lost 7,000 or 8,000 people because of them. If we didn’t have (so many) STVRs, I think our population would be right on the nose and we wouldn’t have to move the boundary lines.”

Kosmo is not in favor of one proposal calling for combining Districts 1 and 2 into a single entity encompassing most of the beach areas.

“I think it’s in the best interest of the City, and the beach communities, which are open spaces that everyone uses and enjoys, to have two voices (districts) to speak up for them, which is important,” he said.

Mandy Havlik, a member of the Peninsula Community Planning Board speaking on her own behalf, agreed with Kosmo.

“District 1 and District 2 should not be combined into one district due to the large diverse population living in the coastal region,” she said. “Combining D1 and D2 into a single district would not adequately represent the diverse legislative concerns of the entire coastal region. It would spread the district over a large geographical area that would not represent the diverse geographical concerns of coastal communities.”

Added Havlik: “A single coastal district would disproportionately minimize the legislative concerns of the coastal communities and would make the district susceptible to special-interest groups looking to monetize off of the coastal region at the expense of the community at large.”

Fleming said redistricting commissioners will discuss and review three proposed citywide district maps at their Oct. 21 special meeting. The public will have a chance to weigh in before the commissioners provide direction to their demographer to consolidate the options to a single map. There will be commission meetings every week leading up to the map being finalized on Dec. 15. The new City Council boundaries would be in place for the June 2022 primary election.   

Residents can provide feedback and submit their own maps for consideration at https://portal.sandiego-mappin

 

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