The Escondido City Council unanimously approved a new map outlining the four counties of the city council, which will be used for council elections starting this fall and continuing until the next U.S. Census in 2030.
The move came after a 5-0 vote at the council meeting last week. The map approved by the council was drafted by the city’s Independent Redistribution Commission, which held a series of public hearings across the city in January and February to gather data as the various alternative maps were considered.
Every 10 years after the census, government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels must rebalance legislative districts based on population and demographic changes that may have occurred over the past decade.
In the case of Escondido, the total population has grown by about 8,000 inhabitants since 2010, to the current 152,000, which means that the target population for the district is 37,879. The task of the commission was to rebalance the population of the four districts of the council, so that none of them deviated from the target population by more than 5 percent.
Furthermore, the new maps had to follow a set of guidelines set out in state and federal law, including the creation of a minority-majority district. District 1 of the Council, the seat now held by Consuelo Martinez, includes 53.6 per cent of Latino voters, just above the threshold required by the Federal Voting Rights Act, officials said.
Other criteria for the maps included geographical proximity, compactness, and conservation of neighborhoods and communities of interest. The commission was barred from drawing maps that would favor or discriminate against candidates or political parties.
The commission received praise from council members and the public for addressing the redistribution process.
“The redistribution commission did an excellent job, they were very conscientious and very inclusive, and the feedback we received was that everyone’s voice was heard,” said Mayor Paul McNamara.
The seven-member commission was appointed by a panel of retired judges and the members served on a voluntary basis. His $ 217,500 budget was approved by the City Council, and most of the money was spent on hiring a demographic consultant, translation services for public hearings, and field efforts.
Escondido resident Pam Albergo, in an email to the council, said the commission listened to all community comments and came up with the best redistribution map.
“This map will give a voice to our farming community in District 2, our urban core in Districts 1 and 3, and our transportation corridor in District 4,” Albergo wrote.
Escondido was ousted in the 2014 County Council elections following a lawsuit filed by five residents, who claimed the city’s overall voting system discriminated against Latins. At the time, the lawsuit noted, 49 percent of the city’s residents were Latinos, but only two Latins were elected to the council during the city’s 125-year history.
The request for district council elections was part of a consent decree signed by the city as part of resolving the lawsuit. The mayor is still elected by all city voters.
While pleased with the council’s approval of the final map, Bobby Case, chairman of the redistribution committee, said in an interview that he was concerned about comments made by council member Mike Morasco when he spoke about an earlier version of the map on 2 short. council meeting
Morasco criticized elements of the previous map, such as the lack of schools in a proposed council district and the way communities with different interests combined to form another district.
Cas said the council was supposed to vote up or down the map submitted by the commission, but did not give specific instructions on how the maps were drafted.
“You can not do that, that’s the whole point of it. “You wait until we hand you (the map) and you vote it up or down,” Case told the council. You do not have to recommend us what lines (to draw).
While the comments did not affect the final map produced by the commission, Case said, they could have raised concerns about the council’s misguided influence in the redistribution process.
Morasco said his previous comments were made in response to a redistribution update at a City Council meeting and he was simply making an observation, not giving direction on how the map should be redrawn.
To its credit, the commission listened to the concerns of the council and residents and addressed those concerns on the final map, Morasco said.
In no way were his comments intended to unfairly affect the commission or his work, he said.
“I was making observations. “If Bobby misinterpreted this, he should come back and listen again,” Morasco said.
McNamara said he did not believe Morasco intended to overtake the council role.
“Personally, I think Mike was just sharing an observation with the commission. “I do not think he was trying to influence the commission,” he said.
New voting districts drawn for Escondido Source link New voting districts drawn for Escondido