Carmel Valley planning board voices opposition to group’s proposal to move Carmel Valley to another district
By Karen Billing
The city of San Diego is in the process of re-drawing its eight districts and eventually will add a ninth. One local group is pitching a plan that would move Carmel Valley from District 1 to District 5.
The Asian and Pacific American Coalition (APAC) has taken an active interest in the City Council’s redistricting committee as they see it as a way to bring together a new district that includes the large Asian populations in Mira Mesa (District 5) and Rancho Penasquitos (District 1) — Asian Americans make up 48 percent of the population in Mira Mesa and 37 percent of Rancho Penasquitos.
“Naturally those two areas have a common interest,” said APAC member Dr. Allen Chan at the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting on Jan. 27. “We think that it’s time that our interests be represented.”
With APAC’s new district map, Carmel Valley and Pacific Highlands Ranch would be in District 5 with Rancho Bernardo and other communities to the east. The Torrey Hills and Torrey Pines communities would remain in District 1.
The planning board did not respond favorably to APAC’s plan.
“This plan takes my community away from my community of interest and drives a stake through the middle of it,” vice chair Manjeet Ranu said. “From my standpoint, no way.”
Chair Frisco White agreed that if the goal is to bring together communities with common interests, it doesn’t make sense to align Carmel Valley with the east.
“We’re more coastal, Rancho Bernardo is more inland. The coastal lifestyle is why we’re here,” White said. “It’s our desire to stay where we are.”
When voters approved the strong mayor form of government in 2009, they also approved creating the ninth council district. The redistricting commission is taxed with finding where that ninth district will be. The new district has to include contiguous land and it is required to have at least 135,000 people, which might mean slicing off pieces of existing districts.
Per San Diego City Charter, the city is required to redraw the districts once every 10 years, but no later than nine months after the city receives the results of the federal census.
Board members found faults with several points of APAC’s plan. White said the proposed district is not contiguous as Mira Mesa and Penasquitos are separated by the physical barrier of the Los Penasquitos Canyon.
Redistricting also cannot disturb a community planning area. Scott Tillson noted that with APAC’s plan, a piece of Via de la Valle would remain in District 1 which could not happen as it is in the Carmel Valley planning board’s area.
Tillson also pointed out that districts couldn’t be formed on the basis of race. Tillson said no matter what district people live in they can always vote to elect someone who represents their interests. If the councilmember in the seat does not represent you, vote them out, he said.
Chan said he respected the opinions of the board and encouraged people to get more involved in the process to have their views known. The redistricting commission will meet until June, followed by four public hearings before the final plan is adopted.
The commission meets on the first and third Thursday of every month at the City Administration Building, 202 C Street downtown, at 4 p.m. The next meetings will be held Feb. 3 and Feb. 17. For more information, visit sandiego.gov/redistricting/index.shtml
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