Solana Beach holds first hearing in redistricting process

Solana Beach City Hall
(Staff file photo)

The Solana Beach City Council held the first of four hearings for a redistricting process that follows the release of the latest census data.

The city formulated districts a few years ago when it switched from five at-large council members to four council members who each represent a district and a separately elected mayor. The first city council and mayoral elections under the new process took place last year.

“A lot of people are asking us, ‘Why in the world are we doing this again?’” said Shannon Kelly from National Demographic Corporation, who is assisting the city with the process.

The current districts, she added, were drawn based on the 2010 census data, which was the most recent available at the time.

“Now we need to look at the districts in terms of the 2020 data that was recently released,” Kelly said.

The state Legislature also passed the Fair Maps Act, which was signed by the governor in 2019 and requires redistricting after the decennial census. The data is usually released in the spring, but this year it was delayed several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The population of Solana Beach is about 12,941, according to the 2020 census data, compared to a count of 12,867 in the 2010 census.

“There aren’t a lot of dramatic changes I’m anticipating,” Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner said. “I’m hoping we can generally have the same districts, given that we just had the first elections last year.”

More information, including a tool for residents to draw their own suggested district boundaries, is available on the city website.

The next hearing is scheduled for the Jan. 12 City Council meeting. The final two meetings are scheduled for Jan. 26 and Feb. 23. The deadline to adopt the new map of districts is in April.