A total of four draft maps and a timeline were presented to the Chula Vista Redistricting Commission on Oct.18 to determine a starting point for the redefining of Chula Vista’s boundaries. Adjustments will be made over the course of next month with the public's input in anticipation for the deadline established by the Registrar of Voters on Dec.15.
A series of community workshops were launched to increase public participation. This will be a focal point in future discussions over the next month according to the city’s demographer Justin Levitt, Ph.D from National Demographics.
Next Public hearing will be on Nov.4 to discuss potential alterations in addition to reviewing community suggestions. There will be a forum on Nov.18 to approve a map that will be recommended to Chula Vista city council on Dec.7 for their final approval.“We are moving at a pretty rapid pace at this stage of the process. We are working with what we have and under the guidelines for the changes and alterations for the final map” Levitt said.
Delays in obtaining and receiving the Census data that is normally expected in March was not released until mid September of this year, kick-starting the drafting process and making necessary alterations in the creation of a final map. Federal voter rights and legislations are taken into consideration in the drafting of redistricting maps, like the Voting Rights Act where race and ethnicity cannot be used as the predominant or the primary factor in the creation of a district.
Demographers are required to follow criteria established by the city charter such as establishing a reasonable population, geographically compact and continuous areas, following man-made and natural boundaries, and respecting communities of interest in the city to the extent possible. According to Levitt, all maps are drawn blind to partisanship.
The city’s current map is at a 27 percent deviation, or difference between populations. The goal is to get a number that is under 5 percent to ensure each resident has an equal voice, access and right to participate at the same level so each part of the city is equally represented.
“Equal population is the idea of one person one vote, each of the four districts must be balanced and although it does not require exact no deviation, or no difference between populations because they want you to follow major roads, and take other factors into account, we want to get that number as close to zero as we can” Levitt said.Demographers attempted to preserve the cores of existing districts in their drafts. All four maps presented to the redistricting commission have an approximate standard deviation of approximately 3.5 percent while maintaining district one and two in the north, and district three and four in the city’s southern region.
Draft one proposed to keep the L Street boundary between districts two and four. Both districts would expand eastward to attain the necessary population balance in all four districts. This map attempted to follow major roads as dividers between each district. According to Levitt, this map expressed small adjustments compared to the original map.
Draft two follows the I- 805 freeway. Levitt said community members expressed lots of interest to maintain L Street as the barrier while others asked for the I-805 boundary in district four. This adjustment would expand district four northward toward H Street between the I-805 and either side of Broadway to balance district populations. District three would lose the east side of CA-125 freeway in this draft while districts one and two would expand east to encompass all of Rancho Del Rey communities. This model maintains Southwestern Community College with the Telegraph Canyon corridor. According to Levitt, this was identified by some Asian residents in both 2016 process and in the most recent redistricting workshops as a community of interest in communities just south of Telegraph Canyon.A traditional quadrant feel is maintained in draft three as it keeps the L Street division. It looks at those areas that are just east of the I-805 freeway, and areas that were historically a part of that older Chula Vista area separated by the freeway. Demographers attempted to use Telegraph Canyon and other major roads as divisions to follow natural boundaries. The addition of these populations places all of the Rancho Del Rey community in District one.
The last draft makes the most radical changes according to Levitt. It impacts district four by adding an area west of the I-5 freeway in the harbor up to E Street, expanding east of Broadway and a north of the I-5. District one becomes an eastern district in this draft to create a four directional district along a different axis according to Levitt, linking SWC by crossing Telegraph Canyon Road and dividing the Rancho Del Rey Community between districts three and four. A couple of community members suggested using Otay Lakes as a dividing line for districts 1 and 2 and that was drawn in this draft.The Redistricting Council passed the motion to utilize draft two as the starting point for future discussions with objections from commissioners Michael Juan and Robert Moreno. Members of the public and redistricting commissioners will have the opportunity to input recommended adjustments to Draft two.
“All participation and engagement in this process is important to us. It all becomes a part of this record, a part of this process that helps the commission understand what you care about and what matters to the community in preparation of these draft maps.” Levitt said.An Ad-Hoc committee to engage the commission in drafting the final report to the city council was created with Commissioners Stelle Andrade and Robert Moreno to work alongside the Redistricting Committee chair Gloria Hurtado.
Community members are encouraged to experiment with tools offered on the city’s redistricting webpage. PDF Paper kits with the city’s population counts and Excel sheets prepared with numbers for calculation are also made available to the public. The public may paint communities of interest through “District R”, an interactive redistricting map that allows the creation of a redistricting model utilizing 2020.