UPDATED: June 23rd, 2011
Before I begin this post, I must first preface the fact the only reason any congressional, legislative, and/or other governmental districts are gerrymandered for one of two reasons: 1) to protect incumbents, and 2) to disenfranchise voters and communities.
Much has been said within the City of San Diego lately about redistricting. After all, the 2010 Census results have been released which means that every governmental body which elects by districts must be redrawn to account for population growth and shifts. Often times, it determines who even is able to best represent various communities of interest.
Within the City of San Diego, my community of Clairemont is currently placed within the sixth (6th) council district — a sort of centralized, suburban, middle-class district known for it’s wholesome family-like community. Because of that, Clairemont has a reputation as being a political bellwether for the rest of the city.
As Vice-President of the Clairemont Town Council, I had received word a few weeks ago that the community council of Tierrasanta, a neighborhood 7 miles to our east, voted to endorse a redistricting plan that would join us with them. A few days later, I had gotten my hands on a plan being presented by Dr. Baxamusa that would split our community into THREE different districts. Well, I was going to have none of that.
Redistricting is an interesting process. Not a not of people understand it, few actually get it, and the rest just don’t care. Honestly, I found myself more in the “just don’t care” group for the longest time. That was, until I realized how important it is to keep this Clairemont community whole — just like it is today.
I can tell you this wasn’t a battle I ever prepared to get into, but I’m here until we finish it. I can also tell you that getting into this process was just as interesting.
From the City of San Diego’s Redistricting Commission website, I was able to find an interactive map that featured every census tract in America. I zoomed into San Diego, and from there, I quickly got to work on drawing a Clairemont-centered council district. Since the currently-drawn District 6 map only needed to lose 12,000 people, I figured the best boundaries of the “new” District 6 included the 52 freeway (north), 15 freeway (east), 8 freeway (south), and 5 freeway (west). These freeways currently constitute the boundaries today. Once I drew the map, I looked at the census data within those boundaries which came to roughly 147,000 — just slightly above the 144,624 goal of each district.
I presented that proposal to our Clairemont Town Council and, after unanimous approval, presented our plan at the Redistricting Commission hearing for District 6. Once I heard some of the testimony of the groups of people asking what kind of districts they wanted, I figured I’d work to present a citywide map proposal of my own.
After finding out how easy it was to just look up the 2010 Census data, I decided to spend much of the last weekend drawing an entire citywide map, and perfecting the deviation to less-than-half of Dr. Baxamusa’s plan. Thus, I formally presented my plan — “Empowerment Through Equality” — to the Redistricting Commission for their records, which you may view/download here.
My plan includes everything that everybody wants — based on testimony at the Redistricting Commission meetings — but, it’s a plan that is fair, accurate, and acknowledges the diversity of the City of San Diego both ethnically and politically.
“Empowerment Through Equality” includes: Two (2) Latino-interest districts, One (1) Asian/Pacific Islander-interest district, One (1) African-American-interest district, One (1) LGBT-interest district, and One (1) Coastal-community interest district.
Getting down to brass tax — the politics of these districts — I believe my plan is also fair and accurate in regards to political voter registration.
Unlike both the Republican plan and Dr. Baxamusa’s plan, both of which over compensate partisan registration in San Diego, my “Empowerment Through Equality” plan presents a fair representation of our city based on current partisan voter registration in San Diego.
Currently, 41% of registered voters are Democrats, 29% are Republican, and the other 30% are registered Decline-to-State or with minor parties.
The above registration model means that on a 9-member city council, 4 should be democrats, 2 should be republican, with 3 competitive seats that would define the majority of the council. My “Empowerment Through Equality” plan is the only one that incorporates this model as a proposal.
I can tell you that no one map is going to be absolutely 100% perfect.
However, the best-suited map for the city is one that is fair, drawn respectfully, and takes certain communities-of-interest into consideration.
I’m about as Republican as they come, but instead over-reaching, I’ve always been a believer in fairness. My “Empowerment Through Equality” proposal is fair, accurate, and — politically — is best suited for the city.
UPDATE: The city’s redistricting commission website has a pretty cool online tool where you can draw your own maps. I was able to further refine my proposal and have re-submitted an updated plan which you may download here.
If you have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me. Thank you!