By Suzanne Evans
Continuing the Del Mar Mesa community planning board’s April discussion of redrawing district boundaries to reflect the 2010 census findings, Midori Wong, chief, redistricting commission staff, presented May 12 a redistricting overview to the board. “There are now 42,000 more people in (Sherri Lightner’s) Council District 1 that need to be trimmed [from the district],” she said.
District One includes Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos, and La Jolla, among other areas.
Board member Lisa Ross, chair of the Del Mar Mesa community planning board’s redistricting subcommittee, said creation of a new 9th council district (to include the trimmed populations), requiring a redrawing of district boundaries leaves in question whether community planning boards such as Del Mar Mesa and Carmel Valley would remain in their current districts and whether the boards might lose certain geographical areas. “I would be sorry to see Penasquitos (Canyon) go,” she added.
“We need to make sure that every district has equal population and political representation,” said Wong. “The state and citizens committee (the 2010 redistricting commission) will re-draw all these boundaries.” The procedure will take the largest and smallest districts and make them equal in population, but maps will not be based on where council members live, Wong said.
Public hearings have been held in recent months; a preliminary plan and map will be drawn up; more public hearings will be held, then a post-map will be drawn. There will be a final wrap-up before the Sept. 15 deadline.
“There will be a legal document (complying with the U.S. Constitution, San Diego City Charter, and Federal Voting Rights Act) as well as a map,” Wong emphasized, because (redistricting) has to hold up to legal standards based on census data.” Size and shape of districts will be indicated, with all maps drawn in public and meetings broadcast on city TV. An effort will be made to keep together “communities of interest” (with common activities and lifestyle patterns).
Eric Marquis, representing District 5 (including Carmel Mt. Ranch and Scripps Ranch), made a tentative boundary proposal showing that District 5 has three different school districts and needs more representation. District 5 is bounded by natural boundaries of Penasquitos canyon, Lake Hodges, and the city limits.
Joe La Cava, past chair of the La Jolla community planning group, speaking on behalf of Lightner’s District 1, noted its population of 199,000 should be pared to 109,000 and proposed to draw all of La Jolla into Council District 1.
La Cava reassured the board and Ross, who said she was “not comfortable” that Del Mar Mesa could be included in another area, “Every group has unanimously endorsed this (proposal), and to include Del Mar Mesa in District 1.”
“A lot will depend on public testimony,” said Wong.
Agreeing it is better to make a strong statement as an organization now, rather than wait until a map is drawn, the board unanimously approved keeping community planning groups intact within their districts and agreed the Del Mar Mesa planning board should remain in District 1.
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