|ITEM-1:||CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Pesqueira called the meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. Chairman Pesqueira adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m. to the next scheduled meeting at 4:00 p.m. July 25, 2001, 202 "C" Street, City Administration Building, 12th Floor, Council Chambers.
Operations Director Staajabu Heshimu called the roll:
(C) Chairman Ralph R. Pesqueira-present
ATTENDANCE DURING THE MEETING:
(C) Chairman Ralph R. Pesqueira-present
(VC) Vice Chairman Leland T. Saito-present
(M) Mateo R. Camarillo-not present
(M) Charles W. Johnson-present
(M) Marichu G. Magaña -not present
(M) Shirley ODell-present
(M) Juan Antonio Ulloa-present
(EO) Deputy City Attorney Lisa Foster-present
Chairman Pesqueira wished to welcome everyone and stated that he is a long time resident of San Diego, since 1940, and has a family business here. Chairman Pesqueira expressed that he served the City of San Diego for about eight years as a City Planning Commissioner, and went through all his schooling here in San Diego. Chairman Pesqueira stated he went into the United States Army and then came back to San Diego to reside. Chairman Pesqueira expressed that currently he serves as Trustee for the California State Universities for the State of California.
Vice Chairman Leland Saito introduced himself and thanked everyone for coming tonight. Vice Chairman Saito stated that the Public Hearings have been very critical for the Commission in terms of getting input from the residents of the City. Vice Chairman Saito stated that he lives in District 6, and is a resident of Clairemont. He is a Professor at UC San Diego, and his background is in Sociology. Vice Chairman Saito stated that for the past 12 years or so he has been studying redistricting and politics in Los Angeles, and in New York City.
Commissioner Charles Johnson stated that he is a resident of District 6, and has lived in San Diego since 1965, and is a retired Naval Officer. Commissioner Johnson stated that he is very active in the community of Linda Vista, and Kearny Mesa.
Commissioner Shirley ODell stated that she was a resident of District 5, and that she has had some very interesting times in her life. One of the things that she has not mentioned before is that she had worked extensively in the 60's and 70's in community development with CDGB funds. Commissioner ODell also stated that she has worked with HUD directly out of Washington, D.C. and across the country in different communities. Commissioner ODell welcomed everyone and stated she was looking forward to hearing what everyone had to say tonight.
Commissioner Juan Ulloa stated that he lives in District 8, and that he is a Teacher at Chula Vista High School. Commissioner Ulloa expressed he was looking forward to hearing the testimony tonight.
REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ACTION (Tape location: A010-096.)
THE REDISTRICTING CRITERIA DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY LISA FOSTER
Deputy City Attorney Lisa Foster introduced herself stating that she was on loan from the City Attorneys Office part time as the Redistricting Commissions Legal Advisor. Deputy City Attorney Lisa Foster gave an overview regarding her hand out "Factors to be Considered," and the legal rules that relate to Redistricting.
REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ACTION (Tape location: A060-365.)
THE PRELIMINARY REDISTRICTING PLAN/COMMISSIONERS AND STAFF (AS ADOPTED JUNE 29, 2001)
Senior Planner Joey Perry stated that she was on loan from the Planning Department and was very happy to be here tonight. Ms. Perry gave an overview of the preliminary map. Ms. Perry stated that every ten years they need to re-balance the population within the Council Districts, and each Council District should have about 150,000 people. Some Council Districts had much more than that, e.g., Council District 5 which needed to loose 35,000 people, and Council District 2 that needed to gain about 25,000 people.
Senior Planner Joey Perry went over the changes to the whole City:
Operations Director Staajabu Heshimu: Regarding a time line, all that is left is for the Commission to agree upon and adopt is a final plan. Tonight is the last of the eight public hearings, so, next Wednesday the Commission will start meeting again at City Hall. The Chair has said that we are likely to have more meetings. Wednesday afternoon meetings will be broadcast on Cable T. V., so that you can follow what is happening. We need to be finished with this process about the middle of August because it takes 30 days after the Commission adopts the final plan before it becomes effective. If we can agree and adopt a final Redistricting Plan say by August 12th, wait thirty days, we can send that final plan over to the Resister of Voters meeting our goal of having our new boundaries in effect for the March 2002 elections. Of course this is District 4, and it is the even number Districts that are holding elections: 2,4,6, and 8. During those 30 days, as Lisa told you, there is an opportunity for the citizens who do not like the plan to file a referendum, or some other legal action could be taken. Tomorrow at noon is the deadline to accept the plans that the public has created. Among the things we will be doing next week will be submitting these plans to the Commissioners for their consideration. They may adopt the preliminary plan as it is, or they may make changes before they adopt the final. That is entirely up to the Commission. Before I sign off here, Id like to thank tonights working staff. The women that greeted you and made sure you have everything you need for tonight are in the back of the room -- Alexander Hart, and Julie Gelfat. I wish to thank you very much for setting this up for us, we really appreciate it. On audio and communication tonight is Denise MacNally. Denise is new with us, this is just her second outing and we appreciate having you here Denise. The Recorder is Peggy Rogers and reminds you all to come to the mike before you speak, and that this session is being recorded.
Chairman Pesqueira: Thank you very much Staa. I want to take the opportunity on behalf of the Commission to thank all of the staff that has been working with us. In reality this is just the preliminary, the work is yet to come. It is important that we have such loyal staff who is willing to get in there and put their time in. I really want to thank on behalf of the Commission, Julie and Alex, who have done a fantastic job. Our biggest concern was getting the word out, and when they stepped aboard we forgot about it. They took over and the word got out in tremendous fashion, and was very timely. I was just amazed how they were able to send out the information to all the various Districts. When we were meeting, the time we were meeting. Without them this Commission would have been in real hardship trying to make sure that the public understood what was going on, and having the opportunity to come to voice their opinion. Of course, Joey says she is half time -- only in her mind I think. In our mind shes been about three-quarter to 90 percent time, but she has done a real good job for us. And Staa, well Staa is Staa, and she does an excellent job. When we selected her, we knew we had the best, and it sure proved to be that way. Of course we are really thankful for Lisa from the City Attorneys Office for being here and willing to help us out. Of course City Communications has been a very important part of this.
The map you see to my right is the preliminary map. It is the map we had to submit to get the clock started. It is a map that we had to submit to the public to get public comment. It does not mean that map will become the finished product. That map might become the final map, but based on some of the maps we have already seen coming in from the public, and some of the ideas that we picked up listening to the various communities, there are some changes were going to have to make. I think we feel the moral obligation to make some of those changes, and in other cases of course, we have the legal obligation to make changes. So that map was a clock starter map and satisfied the preliminary map idea, but it could be final map, but at the same time it may not be. So, when you do see the final map appearing in the paper, it might not look like anything like what you picked up off the chairs tonight -- that could possibly happen.
REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ACTION (Tape location: A357-565.)
Carroll Waymon: I have to leave early. I have to chair a meeting. I have written a little something Id like to leave with you after I have read it. Please let me join with others in commending you for your dedication to performing your task fairly, and with a deep sense of duty over these weeks. First, tonight, I have a few specific observations I hope you will consider in your final deliberations in accepting a final map for your recommendation. It is hoped that you will keep in mind that the factor of popularity of the present elected public official of a given District is irrelevant to the issue of redistricting. The latter is about planning for the next decade, not the next election. Number 2. It is hoped that you realize that people are intelligent and knowledgeable about their own communities, and the input you have asked us for, and do not need necessarily need the constant reminder relevant to the many factors you have to consider in making your decision. It is a difficult and complex one, and we agree with you, understand, and appreciate that. In District 4 it is hoped that you understand why it is so important that the Webster unit be brought back into the 4th as well as why the College Grove area should be again united into the 4th. Most citizens of this City are not aware of the dynamics that made for the conditions of the Webster and College Grove situation in the first place. But as representatives of the City and your positions as Commissioners, we hope you will understand such and address these concerns in a direct and honest fashion. Number 5. It is no secret to the many communities of color in this town that if "Business as Usual" continues in this important function of joined boundaries, little to nothing will have changed in the next decade to assist or convince these many new and old communities that they can in fact advance in this beautiful City. If things remain as they have been for this past decade, they will also be the same at the end of this decade. Number 6. I hope you will not be swayed beyond a reasonable extent in interpreting the guideline, what the Deputy Attorney mentioned, "Community of Interest" to mean any group that is so defined. Community of interest we hope shall not become a rationale for changing boundaries without first considering the many other factors that have been mentioned already and numerated. Number 7. In District 3 again, the area we hope will be viewed as one of diminished resources, of diversity, of the many newcomers without many resources, and of need of unity. Thank you for doing your duty as you see it. Uniting District 3 continues to be of concern of protecting the protected groups in society.
Council Member Stevens: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman and the members of the Commission tonight. This is the second meeting that has been held in the 4th Council District, and I want to thank you very much for coming back for another meeting tonight to be here. I wanted to say that the work you are doing is very involved, and is a lot of hard work. I also watched on television one night as you tried to balance the numbers in the District. It is very difficult to move one census tract from one District you have planned to another District. That may balance that District, but it unbalances the one that you moved it from. You go back and forth, and that is a very tedious thing to do. Thank you for that. The patience that you have in terms of these hearings being out in the Districts and listening to the people is a very difficult thing. Tonight, I want to welcome you to the greatest District in the City of San Diego; the one with the lowest crime rate; the one with the most growth taking place in the City of San Diego; the most prosperous increase in housing; you come to that District tonight; the one where you see the smiles even though many times the depression seems to be upon us -- we want the best lines. Hope you give us that preference tonight, because in the past we have not had it. Thank you.
REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ACTION (Tape location: A567-601.)
Margaretta Hickman: I live in the Webster Community. I come to speak tonight to speak to the Redistricting Commission. Id like to take the opportunity to tell you that the Webster Council supports keeping our boundaries exactly as they are. We want our current boundaries in District 7 to stay in District 7, and our current boundaries in District 4, to stay in District 4. We have been fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with both District 4 and District 7 for many years and this has worked well for our community. The Webster boundaries have been in place since 1982 and all of the City maps have been in error since they were first released in 1991. Additionally, this Council believes that the Oak Park community should stay in District 4 and not change to District 7. We therefore petition the City of San Diego 2000 Redistricting Commission to adopt the July 6, 2001 alternative preliminary plan, which places College Grove and Webster in the 4th Council District, and keeps our communities united.
Johannes Long: Commissioner ODell asked at the June 29th meeting whether anybody from Oak Park had been heard from. I am a member of the Oak Park Council. You received a letter from Madaffer at the Tuesday meeting on the 17th. That letter was written before our Board Meeting, so that was not an opinion of the whole. After we had debated this for several hours, it was the conclusion were not going to support anything dealing with College Grove. We have no position as to College Grove. We have good working relationships with the 4th District, and the 7th District, and with our Planning Committee body which this also splits. We would like to keep those relationships without taking a stand. However, we feel that Webster should be in the 4th District, not in the 7th District. Those are the positions of the Oak Park Community Council thank you very much.
Stan Lewis: I am a homeowner in District 4 and have been for almost 20 years. I am a active member of my community and also my community of interest, the Gay and Lesbian community. I am a Member of Encanto Community Council. I currently serve as a member of Police Chiefs Gay and Lesbian Advisory Board. I have also had many positions in the community and I am the past Co-Chair of Gay and Lesbian Pride. I support LGBT voting rights and recommendations made to this body. However, while many LGBT citizens live within the census tracts identified by the coalition, Gay and Lesbian people live all over this City, and the leadership that the 3rd District Council Member provides benefits all of us wherever we live. Two examples has been domestic partner benefits and hate crimes which effects all of our citizens. I support Webster to be returned to District 4. There is where the voting residents want to be and that is where they should continue to be. I strongly oppose the proposed alternative map and the effort placed on City Heights being in one Council District. I have not heard any valid examples of Voting Rights violations to justify the kind of realignment that some Commissioners seem determined to make by way of the alternative map. I urge you to make the necessary adjustments to the preliminary map and pass it as the final map. I thank you for your services to the community, and volunteering for this difficult assignment. I urge you to do the right thing and avoid possible lawsuits on a issue that doesnt truly exist.
Lisa Foster: To clarify, the Voting Rights Act study will not be done just in isolation and in District 3, but it is really done in regards to where that population is. So our consultant is looking at census tracts surrounding District 3 and other Districts as well, really looking for where the people are. Again, is there a group large enough in a concentrated area? Whether it be in District 3, or whether it blends over into another District that meets all that criteria I mentioned before; then taking that area or group and doing the voting study. Do they meet all the tests to have Voting Rights Act protection? Only when the consultant comes back with that study will we know what our directive is there. It will take into consideration more than just the tracts that are currently in District 3.
Chairman Pesqueira: What happened was, in doing our study we found that a large number of census tracts, over two dozen census tracts, had a minority/majority situation in which the protected groups in the United States, e.g., the African Americans, the Latinos, and the Asian-Pacific Islanders made up a population in many of these census tracts of about 60 some odd percent that rang a bell. That sent up a yellow flag that said we better look very closely here because if there is any one of the protected populations that has a reasonable opportunity to influence the way a vote goes down in any of the Districts, we have to take that into consideration. We cannot purposely split those groups in order to cause them not to have the opportunity to come together and vote for their representative in their particular ethnic group. We are looking at this very closely right now. The Latino population is about 28 to 33 percent of all of the census tracts I am speaking of. If it appears to be close to 50 percent, or over 50 percent, then we will have no choice but to move all 16 neighborhoods of City Heights into one District. That is something we will have to do with to comply with the one person, one vote of the Constitution of the United States. We are going through this very carefully with a great deal of thought, but we will have to wait to see what happens. The third District is most dense; City Heights has about 80,000 people alone in it and that is half of the 153,000, as you can see, of what we can put into one district.
Philip McGoldrick: I wanted to ask who is this Redistricting Consultant?
Deputy City Attorney Lisa Foster: The Consultant is Dr. Bruce Cain from the Berkeley area.
Philip McGoldrick: All together about 8,000 people disappeared from June 29th to July 6th. I went through the data of three or four Districts. On the June 29th map, Webster was put into District 7 with a tenuous change of precincts along a canyon and Auburn Street. This had the wonderful effect of "Gerrymandering" Webster into District 7 to which we have had no relationship whatsoever. This annoyed the African-American population, and it sure annoyed me. It also slipped the revenues from College Grove to District 7. The July 6th map shows District 7 losing Darnell, and a tenuous row of precincts from University, east of Euclid. But they gain Normal Heights and Kensington from District 3. The population figure showed no change from District 7, but that had two effects. It got the "Rednecks" in Darnell upset, and that sure as hell got the Gay people in City Heights upset. The Normal Heights community gained three thousand people, along with Bandini field where CDBG money is available and a potential industrial site is located. The transfer of Webster back into District 4 on the July 6th map was accompanied by a loss of Mt. Hope. The loss to District 4 was 2,000 people. The area under discussion went to 8 which will make the Hispanic community very happy because a lot of cemetery plots were transferred over there. District 8 got the same area trimmed down from the west side of District 4, so that District 4 lost 2,000 people, and District 8 lost 3,000 people, but gained a lot of cemetery plots.
Charles Lewis - Its a pleasure to be here with you this evening. Im not only a resident of the 4th District, but I serve as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Stevens. For the past ten years I have had the honor and pleasure of serving the Oak Park Community as their Council Representative, and for six years as the Council Representative for Webster. As the Commissioner stated, 90 percent of Oak Park is in District 4; 10 percent in District 7. Although I can appreciate Johannes comments that he doesnt want to be in a political battle, I think it is up to the Commissioners to do not what is politically correct, but what is the right thing to do. That is to bring Oak Park into one District. As it relates to Webster, for six years I have served Webster as their Council Rep. At that time we had major improvements in that community, e.g., the Federal Blvd. median project, underground utilities, worked on the Sunshine Little League, etc. I can assure you tonight that the Webster community is very different from the City Heights community. Webster is in the Eastern Area Planning Group. The area north to it, Ridgeview, is in the City Heights Planning Area. So, if we take the natural boundaries, we can tell that Webster should be in the 4th District. The community has worked so hard, and I dont believe Webster would want to trade their representation of District 4, to be in District 7. Just do the right thing.
Darryl Williams: Once again, I was here with you on Tuesday, Im currently representing Encanto Neighborhood Planning Group. I am the Chairman, and I also am the Vice President of the Webster Community Group. We are here in support of the July 6th map which leaves Webster, Oak Park, and College Grove in the 4th District. The June 29th map does not utilize the natural boundaries. The map divides the community in three sections which is not fair to the community. If the June 29th map is adopted, it will be in violation of the Voting Rights Act because it takes a large group of African Americans, dilutes us and disenfranchises us from other like communities. It will also cause the Webster and Oak Park votes to wait six years to get the opportunity to vote. That is exactly what happened in the last redistricting. Please note that the College Grove Shopping Center has always been in the Oak Park Community. There has never been a line drawn that excluded the shopping center out of Oak Park; but in the last redistricting of 1990 somehow, the College Grove Shopping center was taken away from Oak Park, and that is unacceptable. There has been an estimated $500,000 in tax dollars taken away from our community over the last ten years, and the direct result of that is our senior programs, ballfields and parks -- they have gone to not. So with that in mind, I ask you to support the July 6th map.
Mshinda Nyofu: Im before you on behalf of BAPAC, San Diego. Again, I want to reiterate our position and that is about supporting the alternative map. Again, you raise the issue about the Consultant looking at some issues relative to City Heights. I think you will find that you will have to make that move in accordance with the Voting Rights Act. You heard from people to leave Webster where it is in terms of the compactness issue. You heard issues with regards to College Grove. We know those economics issues. But speaking to point 14, I wanted to ask about the census tract 3401. Im looking at the deviation as it stands now at minus 4,718. So if you were to put Webster back, Im not sure about the population in terms of those census tracts that are in Webster, but with that -- bring that deviation to zero or perhaps somewhat over. But it would not tip the 4th District over the optimum population. So thats another reason I will support leaving Webster as it is, or the alternative map.
Dwayne Crenshaw: Thank you for coming out Commissioners. Ive been taught in interviews or public speaking it is best to be first, or to be last, so we thank you for having District 4 first on your first round, and last on this round so you hear our voice as you leave tonight. You have a tough job, and I am not here to criticize what you have done. I think you have followed the rules that Lisa went over earlier to be fair in this process. You just mentioned a moment ago about the Voting Rights Act, and I have heard Mr. Cain also speak about that a census tract isnt a Voting Rights violation. I dont pretend to be an expert in this area, but I would like the Commission to think about the fact that the 3401 census tract Webster has been taken out in this map of the 30 census tracts in District 4, it is the 5th largest African American population. But in terms of voting population and in terms of voting turn out - it is the highest African American voting population. So if you do take it out of the District, I think it does dilute the impact of the African Americans in general district wide to elected candidates. So, I think you really need to factor that in during your deliberations. Ive heard 3401 being put into District 4 called a "moosehead." I agree it does not meet the compactness criteria that the Commission has made a priority. District 4 and 3 have a common border that is important between the two Districts. A lot of people talk about Webster and Oak Park, and they are truly a community of interest. They are single family homes what some folks call a bedroom community. I think those are larger communities of interest beyond police beat boundaries. Webster truly does not belong along some of those communities. As we watch the hearings I think the first map, that you left with, was about a 9.4 deviation, then you went and said "lets see if we can get it down any further." I believe one of those cases where having a higher deviation might be better than having a lower deviation to please everyone in this regard. Please keep the communities of interest together. Thank you for coming out and listening to us.
Ron Lacy: Im glad to be here again. It is a pleasure to be with the Commissioners tonight, and it is a pleasure to be working for the Honorable Deputy Mayor George Stevens. In that capacity, I do represent the Webster area. I realize I have more to say after listening to other speakers and reflecting on some of the importance of the moment. Today is historical for many reasons. I am talking to the Commission that has been appointed to add integrity to a process that for too long was handled by politicians, and corrupt with political ideologies without regard in some cases to the populations affected - particularly in the area of economics whenever possible and rightfully so. Being politicians, youll want to get some spoils that will add tax increments in your District. When I think about that, I want to talk about that today, and make note that the Commission has the rare opportunity to set a precedent for the people you work for and in fact to do just what is right. What is right and what I am talking about right now is just natural boundaries. Historically, back in 1980 when College Grove was in District 3 and it was officially District 3 along with Oak Park. All of a sudden comes along 1990, and there goes Oak Park, Webster, all into Council District 4, but somehow or another, College Grove was left out. The other part I would like to talk about is historical precedent. Along with natural boundaries we talk about College Grove Avenue well, College Grove Avenue should be a natural boundary that would split District 7 and District 4. The north side being District 7 the south side being District 4. The funny thing about that - some how or another District 7 crossed the street and made this funny loop around this economic entity. In terms of historical again, the College Grove area was always a part of Oak Park. Now, when College Grove or rather District 3 became District 4 due to redistricting -- College Grove was left out. Something is wrong with that. That is one of the things this Commission has to do. Lastly, with the issue of Webster -- it has been a harmonious community with District 4 for some time. We have built a long and fine relationship. Deputy Mayor Stevens and his staff have served that group well. Again, lets do the right thing and keep Council District 4 together with Webster, and keep College Grove intact.
Kitty Reed: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak. Thank you for answering some of my concerns. It is regrettable, but necessary that I stand before you arguing my case. The Webster Community Council was organized in 1982 because of an unpleasant situation happening. We stood together then, and we are here to stand together today. Do not move Webster because of the racial and ethnical community. We feel that we would not have the proper representation that we should have. I am very concerned about adequate representation. With what is being proposed, I am100 percent in favor of the proposed map adopted July the 6th. Webster should stay it District 4 we have always been in District 4, and have had a very good relationship with Oak Park we dont want any changes. We are not a part of City Heights, and have no desire to be.
Jolaine Harris: I live in Oak Park. We were the last Council District balanced ten years ago. I was sitting there at 2:00 a.m. in the morning, and they were trying to figure out what to do with Oak Park. We go straight down Euclid and half is Webster, and half is us. If we have a problem in our community, we just call them up and say "hey can you fix this or that," and we just work together that way. If you take your preliminary map and you push us all the way up to University - that doesnt work. We dont want to go that high up, I dont know how you are going to put Webster back in because Im not a numbers person. Were really happy with George Stevens and what he is doing. I know your job is hard -- but we would really like for Webster not to leave us. I mean, we opted for that ten years ago -- we always have been together and want to stay together -- to do everything as a team effort.
Clive Richards: Im very concerned with what is happening in what is labeled on the Police Beat Maps - what is happening with Webster, which is 3401. This is a census tract that has been moved once or twice. I have noticed twice. I have been told that it was moved before this. This census tract has actually been prevented from voting because of the way they were moved, and the timing. I know that will happen to other census tracts. I know it is just the luck of the draw, but it seems that when the luck of the draw picks the same group more than once, you have to wonder who is holding onto the straws. You are not doing this politically, but because the numbers seem to match. I know that there is concern that there are 80,000 people in City Heights, or what is known as the City Heights area and that has raised some very serious issues. It places two communities of interest at odds. I am still concerned 34.01 even in the alternative preliminary map, this census tract is split. I understand one side is Ridgeview, and the other side is what would be called Webster. Nevertheless, it is the same census tract. It has not received the proper treatment it should have. I also would like to suggest that you put the waters edge in District 6 as the boundary, and not the freeway. I cannot believe that the freeway which was built long after the Bay had its boundaries would be the boundary. Man-made boundaries alone is not what we should look at. Thank you. You have done a great job.
Dee Dee McClure: Im a long time resident of the City of San Diego. My concern is what you have heard all evening -- that is District 4 compactness, compactness, compactness, and 3401. You look at the Voting Rights Act -- it talks about compactness it talks about keeping a District together. It also speaks of avoiding diluting the voting strength. If you take out 3401 -- you certainly will dilute it. The 4th District has worked and struggled to keep this District as one. Others may be shy about saying District 7, we really have no true relationship with District 7. You are not getting a Republican in District 4 you will be diluting the District. Once again, compactness, compactness, compactness 3401 put it and keep it in Webster.
Robert Law: I spoke with you at your first meeting concerning the Voting Rights Act, and I agree with the majority of the people who have spoken tonight. College Grove and Webster should remain in the 4th District. When you remove College Grove, youre removing a large portion of the voting block. College Grove -- that would be a good financial boom to the District. I think more consideration has been placed on College Grove from a financial standpoint, than moving the people out of Webster into 7 where they do not belong. Webster is an older area and it should be respected that way. I was 32 years old in 1968 and first got the opportunity to vote. After 30 years of military I couldnt vote in my own state Virginia. I have seen a lot of that as have others in this room today. Unfortunately, we are fighting today almost for the right to vote, which we should not have to. I ask you -- do not disenfranchise the people in Webster, or sacrifice them for College Grove. You know, with no representation, we are defeated. I hope in your final analysis when you submit your final report inform the Judges that appointed you when the next census comes around -- someone should be represented in each District. Thank you for this hearing and allowing me to speak.
Maxine Sherard: I am the an Alternate on the Redistricting Commission for the City of San Diego, and I live in District 4. I dont have a vote, but a lot to say. I have shadowed this Commission for the last six months attending most of the meetings, and I take the job very seriously. I support the awesome job this Commission has. They have been stretched many different ways. Im going to be there until the end, because I want to help put you back together and make the right decisions. If you should error, I would think that it would be because of the time restraints. I think that is why the preliminary map is here, and it has glitches in it, but the glitches can be repaired. We appreciate you hearing what we have to say. One of the ones I have a pet peeve with is of course Webster, and it is dangling out there like a "Hanging Chad." The elusive "Chad" is City Heights that is left in District 7. I would like you to give strong consideration to reuniting City Heights east with City Heights west. That is how the City mandated it in terms of its neighborhoods and communities. It is a community that has united 70 percent or more people of color they would fall under the Voting Rights Act as protected people. I believe if it remains in District 7, you would be in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Redistricting is a serious matter because it will last for ten years. What it does is to guarantee the people represented in those Districts, equal and fair representation. Keeping City Heights in District 7, while thinking of moving Webster out, to me would not be a consistent way of thinking. For the same reason you would move Webster out of 7 as you have it in the preliminary map, is for the same reason that you should move City Heights out -- it just doesnt belong. The people have different issues and concerns that should be addressed. City Heights is one of the most blighted areas; one of the most under represented areas; it has the lowest turnout; it has problems unique to that area. The development has taken place in spite of being divided into those 3 Districts. So, I would urge you this evening to not listen to Special Interest groups, because thats what they are. I dont live in City Heights. I dont have any real investment other than to see that the rights of the people are to be protected. These are people who need to be empowered. They need to be brought together under one person who can address the issues that are unique to City Heights. In the final analysis you are going to really take this job seriously and reunite City Heights into District 3. Thank you.
Judi Bonilla: I live on the border. Im here to ask you to rethink that border line. When I look across the street, my neighbors share my concern regarding the speeders down Streamview Drive. When I look across the street, those neighbors are looking out for the people who blow the stop signs. When I look across the street, I see faces that look a lot like mine. To divide Streamview Drive is not in its best interest. What I have heard in the last couple of meeting is its all about College Grove, and the money it gives. I would sincerely urge you to keep the Darnell area and the College Grove area in one solidified community. Allow us to stay within District 7. Id like to share that I have had the opportunity to live in 3 different countries, and the reason we are here is that we are all Americans. Part of this is a democratic process we enjoy. Im asking you to allow Darnell to stay within District 7, and to really rethink that boundary line you are starting to draw right across somebodys front door. Thank you.
Bill Watkins: I have just questions of clarification. Why is it that District 5 looks like Cap Cod up there in the right-hand corner -- and District 2 seems to have a badge out in the Pacific ocean?
Operations Director Staajabu Heshimu: That badge really is in the Pacific Ocean, it happens because the City actually owns a couple of feet into the Ocean.
Senior Planner Joey Perry: The City boundaries do go out into the ocean a ways. All of the census tracts that are on the ocean should be coming out about that same distance. District 5 looks like that in part, because thats what the City looks like. It is a very unusual shape.
Council Member Stevens: Once again as said by I wont respond to that remark. Once again as said at other meetings about the boundary lines -- is that boundary lines should be natural. I am quoting from your own guidelines here that you passed out. It talks about using natural boundaries, street lines, or City boundary lines thats in section 5 from the City Attorneys Office. Then it talks about use of whole census units section 5.1. Now, each of those have the same weight in terms of consideration. In reference to Madaffers comments the other night he has College Grove Center because simply the census tract is in his District. Even though you take the census tract that is in his District, and you Gerrymander into a loop and circle to get to College Grove Shopping Center. Wouldnt it make common sense to get yourself a natural boundary, not use a census tract? Especially when the census tract you are using does not have one resident living in College Grove Center. So, you cannot be dealing with population as a balance, because there is no population in the Grove Center. A natural boundary would take precedence over a census tract boundary. Also, natural boundaries are important because not one of you, or myself can walk northeastern part of my Council District because you dont know where it is, and I dont either. There is no natural boundary in the northeast corner. There is no street you can walk on and get straight through from 54th Street on the west to get to College Avenue where it is supposed to be the east boundary. You cannot do it. You can go up streets toward the natural boundary, but you cannot walk across the natural boundary. So natural boundaries are very, very important, and you have tried to do that within your recommendation of these maps that you have here tonight. The other point is, I had a conversation this morning on how Gerrymandering could have taken place in 1990 by the Council Members. So, I called the former Council Member who was prior to 1990 and during 1990 -- who was former Council Member John Hartley who represented District 3. District 3 Oak Park was in District 3 prior to it becoming in District 4. I asked him how did they leave College Grove Center out when College Grove Center was in Oak Park and in the third District before the transfer? He said, "I told you that the offer was made to former Council Member Wes Pratt, that he could have gone into City Heights to make up the 4th District, but he chose to go into College Grove." Why? Ill be very honest with you tonight, because mostly white people lived in Oak Park. I was a Black militant. I am still very militant. But they would not elect me in Oak Park simply because of my past, and because they are mostly white. Therefore, that would assure his victory because if I ran against him, that wouldnt happen. I want things clear because there has been so much division, presentations by Oak Park people that are fearful of what Madaffer might do to them in terms of financial support for that District. So, therefore, they dont want to be part of this confusion and split. I want to tell you something -- it doesnt matter to me who is confused about whatever. I just want clarification to be made by this Commission using a natural boundary, and putting the shopping center back in the 4th District where it was previously, before 1990, before it was Gerrymandered out. Yes, and I am going to make the issue tonight and clarify something the other night because I was accused of coming to you saying its about economics -- its why I want College Grove in there. If you review your records, I never talked about economics, but only about natural boundaries. But that was said to me. If you want to play the economics game yes, there is an economic benefit. Yes, those benefits could have served for the last ten years. It could have been in the 4th District with those benefits, but they were not there. A 90 acre park is being developed in Oak Park. 45 acres now, and we will cut the ribbon soon. I went to Mr. Madaffer because I learned that Oak Park, College Grove Center, and Chollas Lake is in the redevelopment area. The lake is in the 4th District at the present time. The shopping center is in the 7th District at the present time. Economic benefits should be shared with both, and that has not happened. The Chollas Lake has not received any monies from the development across the street, yet it is in the same redevelopment area. I asked Mr. Madaffer for help with developing the park, which is 90 acres out on the north Chollas site. No, I cant do that because I have some plans for some money to deal with low and moderate income housing in my District. My point is there is no cooperation for the benefit for the Oak Park residents. Because when you get $30,000 or $50,000 at most from District 7, from that Council Member -- they should get it because they are residents who live in Darnell -- they are residents who now live in District 7 -- they are using Chollas Lake which is where the most dollars two million to be exact this year came from Council District 4 to develop the park. Yet, they should be participating financially because they use the lake and they will use the park because they are next to it and that is fine. But dont talk about anyone from Oak Park -- about -- he will not give us any money if we dont let it stay in District 7. Do what is right. I dont care who doesnt like it. I charge you to do whats right. The center was in District 4. It got Gerrymandered out with the loop I told you about because the natural boundary now is College Grove Avenue. The natural boundary should stay College Grove Avenue. Im just asking you to do what is right. That is a point, and I am hoping that you get that on record. I also hope that you tell everybody that I named tonight; what I said tonight. Please be accurate about what I said, instead of like some of the people who made presentations about what I did not say. So, I want to thank you -- it is a lot of effort. I have gone through a lot of things. You have gone through a lot. But I want you to know that I will fight for what is right as long as I live; whomever stands in the way of doing that. Here are over 400 signatures supporting that College Grove Center stays in the 4th District; supporting Webster to stay in the District 4. All these signatures were gathered today because we wanted to make a point. These are people who could not make it tonight, but they are making their efforts known through these petitions they signed today. That is work, that is effort. I will keep that effort and that commitment. You have already drawn the line that includes College Grove. I want to say thank you. Your map of July the 6th is the map that you should go forward with, so that you dont have to start moving around census tracts again, getting all messed up and confused. Everybody who spoke to you wants something totally different. You have worked hard, you have put it together. Yes it is nice to listen to everybody, but you have to do what is right in the end. I want to thank you for that. God Bless you, and God keep you.
REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ACTION: (Tape location: A601-C451.)
The meeting was adjourned by Chairman Ralph Pesqueira at 8:15 p.m.REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ACTION: (Tape location: C470.)
|| Home | Business | City Hall | Community | Departments | Information | Leisure | Services A-Z | Visiting ||
|| Search | Site Map | Awards | Contact the City | Privacy Notice | Disclaimers | Accessibility ||