MONDAY, MAY 7, 2001 - 6:00 P.M.


The Redistricting Commission was called to order by Chairman Pesqueira at 6:05 p.m. Chairman Pesqueira explained that the Census numbers that have been published thus far are unofficial. The Commission is only allowed to consider the official data once they are deemed official. Chairman Pesqueira informed the public on the procedures that would be implemented for those people interested in giving testimony. Chairman Pesqueira took a few moments to acknowledge staff from various council district offices. Chairman Pesqueira and the Commissioners proceeded to give a short introduction about themselves. The meeting was adjourned by Chairman Pesqueira at 7:26.


Operations Director Staajabu Heshimu called the roll:

(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-present
(M) Shirley ODell-present
(M) Juan Antonio Ulloa-present



(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 -present

(M) Shirley ODell-present

(M) Juan Antonio Ulloa-(arrived at 6:40 p.m.) Also present:

Deputy City Attorney Lisa Foster

City Manager's Liaison Kathy Mayou

Operations Director Staajabu Heshimu

Senior Planner Joey Perry


Ms. Joey Perry spoke regarding the Preliminary Census 2000 Population Estimates by City Council Districts and gave information on maps and data.


Ms. Foster gave an overview regarding the history of redistricting. Ms. Foster stated this was the first time San Diego was having a Commission make all the necessary decisions regarding redistricting. Ms. Foster shared with the audience that in 1992 the citizens of San Diego voted to change the City Charter. This resulted in placing an independent Commission in charge of all redistricting decisions. Ms. Foster also spoke on the legal factors that have to be taken into consideration by the Commission.


Ms. Staajabu Heshimu presented a brief powerpoint presentation on "Redistricting the City of San Diego" in order to provide background on the redistricting process. Ms. Heshimu announced there was a sign in sheet if anyone wanted to be personally notified of the next set of public hearings.


Chairman Pesqueira invited the public to come downtown to Ms. Heshimu's office and draw a map using the specialized computer program. Chairman Pesqueira wanted to recognize one loyal individual, the alternate for the Commission, Dr. Maxine Sherard.


SPEAKER 1: Council Member Scott Peters

I thought I would use this opportunity to give you a little bit of history about the district. Some of the observations that I've had about what some of the issues are here, and maybe a little discussion then about the communities of interest that might help inform you as you decide what you are going to do with District 1's ultimate configuration. I did pass out this map for the audience members. This first map is not a suggestion, it's an old map. I thought what was interesting about it,it showed what District 1 used to be in 1980. It covered the entire northern part of the city past Rancho Bernardo up to the Wild Animal Park. What has happened in District 5, as the I-15 communities have grown so much, is that District 1 has come westward and now represents in its current configuration, which is the map you show, the northwest part of the city. Today it still includes one of the northeastern communities which is Rancho Penasquitos, and we'll talk about that a little bit later. Today the 1st District is probably not populated by enough ethnicity to really represent, I can't remember the term you used, the voting power. Probably a lot more ethnicity and diversity than you would expect particularly where UCSD has attracted researchers and workers from all around the world and it is a very exciting place to be. We have some older communities that suffer from the same infrastructure and deficiencies as any parts of town that were developed in the first part of the century. In La Jolla we have people that are wealthy but the streets are poor, covered with potholes, like other parts of town. The southern part of University City is older and residential, has overhead power lines, and a lot of the same infrastructure issues. Del Mar Heights which is the Torrey Pines Planning Group and is west of Carmel Valley, westside of I-5, are all older communities much like the rest of the city. We also have a set of newer communities that have developed with facility benefit financing that provided a lot more amenities ahead of the development. Some of those would be Carmel Valley, Sorrento Hills, which is a brand new development south of Carmel Valley. Subarea 4 which is now developing between Penasquitos and Carmel Valley which is the only part of town incidently that has an affordable inclusionary requirement. Sorrento Mesa, and Sorrento Valley, and University City North, where we are today, have become centers for the technology industry, and have really generated a lot of high paying jobs, and a lot wealth, I think, for the region. The old community Rancho Penasquitos on I-15 is essentially almost a purely residential community dependent on I-15.

In other districts you hear about a variety of issues, but the overriding issue in District 1 which leads into a discussion of communities of interest is highway traffic. As economic activity has shifted to this area from downtown also to Carmel Valley which is now the sight of corporate headquarters to Sorrento Valley and Sorrento Mesa. We just haven't kept up in building transportation infrastructure with that movement. In addition, on the I-15 side the lack of affordable housing in San Diego generally has led people looking for space to be buying housing in Temecula. Now 30 percent of the trips on I-15 are between Temecula and San Diego. It is a tremendous part of the congestion problem we see out there. The environmental analysis for Sabre Springs, Carmel Mountain Ranch, and half of Ranch Penasquitos were also premised on the construction of I-56. Those houses were all built but the highway was not, and so that's created additional congestion on I-15. In other parts of the city there are good highway alternatives. You don't have to take the freeway, you can take University Avenue, or El Cajon, or 5th Avenue, or 6th Avenue. We haven't built the alternatives. That's really a result of bad planning. That's what we have here. So highways are important in other communities, but they are even more important here where we have no alternatives to drive on. Of course, we have no transit system up here yet, and that's certainly a priority for us. As the ramps are metered, the lines of traffic are backing up into neighborhoods. Highway congestion, if I can tell you one thing, is the single issue we hear about throughout the district. In terms of communities of interest, I'd let you know there is a rift between the west and the east, and it's I-5 and I-15. The rift came about as product of a bone of contention over Highway 56. Because there was so much backup on I-15, people in the east were saying build Highway 56 no matter what. People in the west were experiencing traffic on I-5. They were saying we're not so excited about Highway 56, we really don't want it. Certainly as a community of interest among the communities in District 1 that rely on I-5 are La Jolla, La Jolla Village Drive, University City, Carmel Valley, Carmel Valley Road and Del Mar Heights Road and Torrey Pines and Del Mar Heights communities. All those communities are very dependant on I-5. They are interested in reducing traffic on I-5 and I-805. Penasquitos is very interested in I-15. So in redistricting that is kind of the message I'd like to convey to you after campaigning for a year and half in the district. Is that it is very important that District 1 continue to contain the I-5 communities. The reason is primarily I-15 has another voice. The council member from District 5 will always be an advocate for reducing traffic on I-15. District 1 is the only voice for northern part of I-5, and it's so important to these communities. That's a community of interest I just want you to be aware of.

The second point is the coastline. As you know, there are two districts that are on the coast. District 1 and District 2 are roughly equal in area in terms of coastline. There's Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, and Pacific Beach which are all the beaches in District 2. In La Jolla we have Womensee Beach, The Cove, and La Jolla Shores. There's also a beach up here called Torrey Pines State Beach. That's a state beach that doesn't require city funding. The other thing I'd like to suggest to you in my second point in terms of thinking of District 1 is equal representation. I believe 20 million visitors a year visit the coast in San Diego. I believe it's important to have two advocates for the coast on the City Council. I think that a lot us fear only one person competing for these resources. The coast is going to continue to have the infrastructure deficiencies, and that they are going to worsen. We are trying to address the crushing infrastructure need on the coast which is about $40 million deficit, now. I'd like to see two advocates for that. In our city which is so dependant on the coastline not just for the people who live here, but for the rest of San Diego who visits here and for, of course, the tourists. One of the dangers, I think, in signing too much of the coast to one person is that you have one voice that covers all of this area, and just one voice for Ocean Beach. The other side is if you have one council person covering all of this area with just one person up here, the motivation of the person with less coastline is a lot less to worry about the coastline. I would like to see two people with roughly equal areas on the coastline continuing to represent the coastline.

Those would be my two recommendations for District 1. Keep the voice for I-5, and keep two voices with roughly equal areas for the coast. My very radical request for District 1 is do nothing. We just heard you can do that because we are only 4.9 percent off of the optimal number. We have all intact communities. We have no planning groups that are split. I would be less than honest with you though if I told you that there aren't people who want to get out of District 1. There are some people who'd like to get out of District 1, and I think you will hear from them in Rancho Penasquitos. I think that arises from this historical feud with the west. Those people who have spoken about this believe that they have more in common with I-15 communities. The problem is obvious now you are taking 50,000 people and putting it into District 5, and now you got to lose 80,000 people. All things being considered it's pretty good.

You are taking on this brand new role, you can make any number of statements to the public about what's important to you. One thing you might tell the public is that it's important to you, if at all possible, not to draw a sitting council member out of his or her district. Let me explain why. You can't do that to protect an incumbent. The Charter prohibits you from doing that for the purpose of protecting an incumbent so I'm not asking you to do that. What I'm asking you to recognize is that just six months ago an 18 month process ended which was like a job interview. Where 150,000 to 160,000 people interviewed someone and chose that person to represent them. Inevitably saying District 5, 35,000 people or so will not get to be represented by the person that they chose. If you took Maienschein as part of that 35,000 that you took out of District 5, that's about 120,000 people who are in the situation of not getting to be represented by the person they elected just 6 months ago. They will not be able to call Mr. Maienschein on the carpet for the promises that he made, and be represented by someone who doesn't even live in their district for three and half of the ten years of this period. I am suggesting don't do it for the purpose of protecting an incumbent, but do it for the purpose of respecting the election that's just taken place. I ask that you give some serious consideration to making that part of your thinking.


Chairman Pesqueira stated if a council person should be drawn out of the district for whatever reason, that council person will remain in office until that term is completed. A council person can always take up residence in that other district which will allow them to continue to run. It is not going to be the intent at anytime to try to find out where council people live so that we can, with a glee in our eye, figure out how we can take council people out of their districts. If it happens, it will happen by merely a particular census district moving in or out.


Mr. Ulloa asked in terms of the map we have here just about everything else seems to follow some type of natural boundary, but the boundary that's east of I-5. What about the portion of Sorrento Valley.


Mr. Peters: I see that and it's mostly industrial and that's why it hasn't been a problem. District 5 and I share that pretty well but it's mostly business there.


SPEAKER 2: Courtney Ann Coyle

I am the President of La Jolla Town Council, and I would agree with Mr. Peters' cogent remarks. We've heard a little bit from Rancho Penasquitos, unofficially, but from community individuals about wanting to get out of District 1. It's great that you are here and participating, and telling us about your community of interest. For them the school districts are in Poway so that's how they define one of their communities of interest is they look towards the east there. As I spoke with one of the women later on, we appreciate that, but you have to remember with every action there is a reaction somewhere else, a chain. It is really complicated to try to show that without posted notes in kind of showing how it works. So I definitely respect the job you've got. From a Town Council prospective, again, things in La Jolla are presently working very well. The Town Council has not taken an official position yet. I imagine when the actual draft maps come out there will be some discussion. It seems the two council districts, District 1 and 2 appear to be working on coastal infrastructure, environmental quality, clean water, dealing with these sorts of coastal impacts, and issues that are so important for the La Jolla Community Planning Area as well as the Torrey Pines Community Planning Group. There's a lot community of interest there that you all need to be aware of. I'm informed that the Commission may lack a representative from District 1 and lack a coastal representative, but we trust that our communities of interest will not be overlooked by the Commission, and will certainly be happy to provide you additional information about this community of interest should you find that you need it during the process.


SPEAKER 3: Claude Anthony Morango

I am the current President of the La Jolla Community Planning Association. The community planning association has not had a chance to really review any of this as a group, but in their concerns in reviewing planning issues and working with the city their concerns are more of keeping and maintaining the geographic lines above the communities as is one of your mandates there. We would urge you to hold to that and not deviate as I've seen in the past. It has moved around a little bit and left some interesting gaps. Being new to this, obviously, I can't reason why some of them are not following the contours as others are following very strictly to a freeway, or to a police beat, or other boundary. I would offer several solutions like trying to maintain La Jolla in District 1 as a whole. Actually because we are in such a percentage difference that's not so great. Raising District 2, putting 6 back to 2 like it was before, and shifting 5 to compensate for 6, and where I would see that is you have the portion of 6 right along side the freeway and I know that, that was part of two at some time. I would opt to shift that back to 2 and then take District 5 and compensate that with District 6 around North Clairemont to balance out the numbers and bring the averages up a little bit so that La Jolla would even be less than its percentage. Of course, there's little shavings here and there where Sorrento Valley is along the I-5 corridor and things like that where you could shave the numbers back and forth, but that's just off the cuff and not understanding the process very well in my early days as president.


SPEAKER 4: Patricia Gordon

I live in the little upside down triangle next to the golden triangle to the west. It's bordered by I-5 and Gilman Drive, and we are part of La Jolla, kind of La Jolla's ugly step-sister they don't really acknowledge us very much. Sort of related to University City more, and I think we should all be part of the same District 1. I have heard that possibly south of Noble would be moving into another district, and I think naturally that's destroying the whole neighborhood. It's better to keep La Jolla and us, and if you have to take anything take Rancho Penasquitos because they really don't want to be part of District 1 anyway. I think it would be good to take part of 6 put it with 2, and then take part of 5 with 6 and that would probably be a little better.


Chairman Pesqueira noted that the city boundaries which we can't go across leaves us with kind of a drop of mercury. When you push one end of the mercury on the table, it will effect the other end. The same thing is happening here as we begin to reduce District 5, District 1 doesn't want us to add to them. You can see what could happen. District 7 is also within its 5 percent, and it is going to say the same thing, leave us alone. We need your advice and just want to point out one of those little problems you add or subtract in one area then it's going to affect another area.


SPEAKER 5: Cory Schmelzer

I am President of the Birdrock Community Council. Birdrock is a relatively small community. Our communities are a combination of about 1600 residents, 100 businesses and center around a small school called Birdrock Elementary. Birdrock is definitely a family community. Birdrock has really been working very closely with Councilman Peters since his election to improve the community of La Jolla and particularly in the area of Birdrock and La Jolla as a whole. The hard work and attention Peters has given us and his professionalism has been greatly appreciated by the community of Birdrock and the community of La Jolla. Birdrock Community Council is closely tied to La Jolla, can't stress that enough, as a small little appendage there you might be able to get 7,000 out of there pretty quick. We are part of different boards tied in through land ownership, residence, and business ownership. We have members within our communities with our group that are closely, closely tied to La Jolla I think it would be a devastating thing to have happen for Birdrock to be eliminated from District 1. Large part of our businesses survive from support from the communities of La Jolla and to spin them off somewhere else would not be so good. Birdrock is a major part of La Jolla as a whole; we really are the southern gateway to La Jolla as a jewel. We are really working very hard and intimately with Councilman Peters to make Birdrock a much better place to live, work, and play. It would be very devastating blow for us to lose Councilman Peters and the man we voted for largely in Birdrock. In conclusion, I really ask you not to split Birdrock from District 1 and away from La Jolla; it is our home and is a part of our community and one cannot be split from another. If you did, it would really affect our plans we were working so hard on. It would affect our economy and really damage our spirit.


SPEAKER 6: Joost Bende

I am the President of Promote La Jolla. The business improvement district in the downtown village of La Jolla. Our organization currently hasn't taken a position on redistricting yet. So we'll wait for the maps to come out and see what kind of position we would take. In the meantime, we would like to support our Councilman Peters in his position to keep the district as one, and not to make any changes to the area. The infrastructure issues that are hitting La Jolla now as an older community and as a coastal community really need to be addressed by two council people that have things in common along the coast. I also agree with Cory Smelzer in terms of Birdrock. Birdrock is an integral part of La Jolla and needs to stay in District 1. In terms of looking at other districts and slicing pieces of the pie onto other districts, I would concur with the suggestions that have been made in terms of taking part of district 6 over here and putting that back in 2, and then slicing off this part intruding into 6 from district 5 and cutting that back. Looking at the under population of District 2, I thought that was supposed to be taken care of by the new density and all the new development in Downtown San Diego. Maybe that's wishful thinking.


Chairman Pesqueira announced that, that was all of the individuals who wanted to speak. We will take a three minute recess. If someone remembers exactly what they wanted to say, just raise your hand and we will hand you a speaker slip.


Mr. Saito asked Mr. Bende to keep in mind these are just questions. A number of people have mentioned reuniting Pacific Beach as a community of interest. That makes sense. Councilman Peters mentioned that one possibility if there needs to be some major changes is uniting Pacific Beach and La Jolla. I was wondering if you can see any kind of link between Pacific Beach and La Jolla.


Mr. Bende: The only link that comes directly to mind there is a downtown village of La Jolla which is a business district of 1,400 businesses. It doesn't really touch any part of Pacific Beach and it's really just essential blocks of downtown La Jolla. The only issue in terms of business improvement districts that La Jolla and Pacific Beach have in common they're the home to the state's two largest business improvement districts in the State of California. There's Discover Pacific Beach as another business improvement district. So in terms of that, businesswise we don't necessarily see an objection to making Pacific Beach and La Jolla one. The argument comes up about the mercury what else happens. What else is the situation. My opinion personally would be to keep it as is.


Mr. Peters: The one thing that I would say is the same is that they share coastline. The demographics are pretty different and one of the things one saw with respect to the beach ban on alcohol show that. I would say that in Rancho Penasquitos because of the beach link that Pacific Beach is closer to District 1 than Penasquitos. They both rely on I-5 and have coastal issues. I think if you are weighing those two you can see there might be some similarities. The demographics of Penasquitos are closer to La Jolla than the demographics of Pacific Beach in terms of socio-economics.


Mr. Saito inquired that Mr. Peters suggested perhaps one possibility, even though he mentioned reasons against it, was to join Pacific Beach with La Jolla. What about joining La Jolla with Pacific Beach and taking it out of District 1.


Mr. Bende: Yes, I would be against that for the fact that Mr. Peters already talked about it, and I agreed with him on, is the fact that La Jolla is an older community, and it helps balance out the rest of newer communities of District 1, but also the split along the coast. There's a lot of coastal infrastructure issues and with only one council person addressing that issue that's not going to carry the weight with the City Council. So I would be very much against that.


Ms. Coyle: I will try to answer your two questions from a Town Council Prospective. The Pacific Beach Town Council is also a very established town council. The La Jolla Town Council is 51 years old. I think the Pacific Beach Town Council is very close to that. I don't know if they participated in any of your hearings to date, but I would strongly recommend that you solicit their opinions on that in terms of joining Pacific Beach into District 1 and La Jolla, again as Mr. Peters said, we do share coastal issues, and we also have shared older infrastructure issues. So I guess that's a possibility, but you would need to weigh what the relative issues are there. I agree that it's been fabulous that we've had two active and interested council people who care about coastal issues. Now, if you were to move La Jolla into Pacific Beach into District 2 that naturally leads me to have concern about those portions of District 1 that remain on the coast, namely, the Torrey Pines Community Planning Area. Are they going to be overwhelmed by the rest of District 1, that is non-coastal, and how much representation are they going to get for their community of interest. The second prospect is a little bit dicer than the first, but I would genuinely recommend that you solicit the Pacific Beach Town Council perspective on that.


SPEAKER 7: Jesse Knighton

I have totally agreed with what Councilman Peters has said here tonight. Leave the district intact as it is. Particularly when it comes to keeping La Jolla and University City together. If you decide to separate the two, half of the businesses here in University City would have to change their name. If you go down the street here you've got the La Jolla Embassy Suites. It's not La Jolla, it's in University City. When my wife and I moved into our home in 1974, we were given the option by the telephone company as having our address listed as either San Diego or La Jolla. The two communities are very closely intertwined. We need to keep this as in tact as we can. We know the people, we know the communities. Mr. Peters eluded to the number of people involved here in employment. University City is the third largest employer in San Diego. We're close to 40,000 people here in north University City. It is second only to downtown and Mission Valley. We have a very thriving business, a mixture of offices, scientific research, residents, UCSD, of which none of us have any control over. They do what they want to. They are an integral part of our community so let's keep it intact.


SPEAKER 8: Carol Voelker

I've been a resident of La Jolla since 1952. I have been a teacher and principal in the La Jolla community for a number of years now. I would suggest leaving District 1 in tact. I also would support extending District 2 north a little bit. Then if you were to move Penasquitos into 5. District 6 could be expanded because they need to grow. You have a natural boundary of Highway 52 that separates Clairemont from University City. They are two separate communities cut by Highway 52.


Final Comments by Councilman Scott Peters: Just to reiterate keep the I-5 communities of the north. Keep equal areas of representation for the coast. Again, what you've heard from people tonight is general agreement they would like to see their communities stay together. District 1 works pretty well, it's strong. I hope you take that message away with you tonight.



Chairman Pesqueira adjourned the meeting at 7:26 p.m.


Ralph Pesqueira, Chairman
2000 Redistricting Commission

Gilbert Sanchez
(OCA)Legislative Recorder I

Site Map Privacy Notice Disclaimers