Solana Beach narrows choices for redistricting maps

Solana Beach City Hall
(File photo)

The Solana Beach City Council selected three maps that will be considered as the city continues its redistricting process.

During a March 9 meeting, council members said they wanted to largely maintain the current districts, which were formed only a few years ago. The city still has to undertake a redistricting process due to the release of the decennial census data.

Lisa Montes, who lives in Solana Beach’s La Colonia de Eden Gardens, also spoke in favor of keeping the current districts largely the same.

”The existing map does not dilute the voting power of Latinos in Solana Beach,” Montes said. “Therefore, when preparing new district maps, the council should strive to have minimal disruption to the existing boundaries of the districts.”

Other comments from the community included concerns that revisions to the current districts might break up certain neighborhoods or homeowners associations.

Solana Beach switched to district-based elections in response to a legal threat by Malibu-based attorney Kevin Shenkman. The city previously held at-large elections, in which all residents get to vote on every council seat.

Shenkman has been threatening to sue cities that have at-large elections, alleging that minority voters were being disenfranchised. Instead of risking an expensive legal battle, Solana Beach divided the city into four council districts with a separately elected mayor.

“All of the problems that we’re talking about right now are simply created by the fact that we were forced to go to districts due to threat of litigation,” Solana Beach City Councilman David Zito said.

The city faces an April 17 deadline to complete the redistricting process, which has to be completed proportionally based on the city’s population. According to 2020 census data, the population of Solana Beach is 12,941.

The next public hearing in the redistricting process is scheduled for March 23.