The Redistricting process (to determine City Council districts for the next decade) thus far has had low public participation, likely due to late and sometimes conflicting meeting notifications and the difficulty of locating redistricting resources on the City website. The Redistricting Advisory Commission (RAC) meetings and Redistricting Workshops were just added to the “Upcoming Meetings” section of the Legistar City Meeting Calendar in time for the last of the three RAC meetings and only days before the final workshop. The remaining opportunities for public input are at public hearings at 6:30pm on February 23 with the RAC, and on March 8 and 29 with the City Council.
Seventeen people attended each of the second and third Redistricting Workshops on January 29 and February 10 with about a third providing input. (See early Feb Observer for details about the first workshop.) The third workshop heard the first public input from residents who identified themselves as living south of Commonwealth or in Districts 4 or 5. It was also the first workshop in which participants provided comments using the translation services that have been and will continue to be available in Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish for the redistricting meetings.
At the workshops, Dr. Justin Levitt, the demographer from National Demographics Corporation, discussed the federal and State criteria and other “valid principals” he will use to draw draft maps based on community input, city planning documents, and census data. A director at Tripepi-Smith, Jenn Nentwig, documented community input on neighborhoods and communities of interest. Dr. Levitt also demonstrated the mapping tools, which range from marking a paper map, to calculating totals on a spreadsheet, to online mapping tools with demographic data available for each census tract. The workshop presentations and meeting videos are available online by selecting the Workshops link from the Materials tab at www.cityoffullerton.com/government/departments/city-clerk/redistrict-fullerton/materials.
Second Workshop Community Input (1/29)
Harry Langenbacher identified his neighborhood as the historic Hillcrest Park area that is impacted by activities at the Fullerton High School Stadium. Damion Lloyd asked for Princeton Circle, that is known for the colorful holiday “sparkle balls” that are hung from the trees between Thanksgiving and New Year to be made whole. It is currently divided between District 2 and 3. Jane Reifer said she lives on Balcom in the historic region between Chapman and Commonwealth. She identified it as diverse in income, ethnicity, and housing ownership and renting, and is impacted by Fullerton College. She specified that it would be “more fair” for downtown to have its own district.
Kayla Asato from OC Environmental Justice (OCEJ) identified a “pollution burden” in the southeast part of Fullerton and said Latino voters south of Chapman should not be split up. Susan Cheng from AHRI for Justice said there is an income divide at Chapman Avenue with a concentration of Latinos who should have a district in the southwest. She also asked for students to be kept together and to “not dilute the voices of people who live in the downtown area.” Mike Rodriguez said that low-income “Chicano and Latinx” people should be in a district together because of historical inequities. He said businesses had too much influence on how the current districts were drawn. He also asked to keep college students together to not dilute student voices.
Third Workshop Community Input (2/10)
Kayla Asato from OCEJ said people are affected by polluted water and the area around the railroad tracks has a “heavy air-pollution burden.” Patti Tutor reiterated comments heard at the second workshop, asking to keep colleges (presumably Fullerton College and CSUF) together because she said there is dense housing around both with common issues related to parking and security.
Comments from a woman named Anna were captured by Nentwig as saying she lives in a neighborhood with low-income apartments that is not secure where people need medical care, community assistance with dignity, and affordable housing. Nentwig also transcribed Alma Chavez’s comments. She described her community south of Chapman as diverse yet connected with a need for better apartment management and maintenance. She asked to be in District 4 and to not divide the schools and the Richman Community Center. She also asked for more low-income housing. Letti Morales from OCCCO reiterated Alma’s comment about keeping the communities around Woodcrest and Richman Elementary schools in the same district. She described the Richman School neighborhood as between Woods and Harbor and between Truslow or Valencia and Orangethorpe. She described the Woodcrest neighborhood as between Orangethorpe and the 91 Freeway between Woods and Highland.
Community Input Continues
Public input will continue to be accepted at the three upcoming public hearings and by email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Input should include a description of one’s neighborhood by naming streets, landmarks, parks, schools, and natural and manmade boundaries, and it should identify the “shared issues or characteristics” within their community. As well, their input may include an explanation of whether their community would “benefit from being included within a single district” for “effective and fair representation” or whether it would “benefit more from having multiple representatives.”
February 10 was the deadline for maps to be submitted for the RAC to consider and recommend to the City Council on February 23, but maps may still be submitted for consideration by the City Council. No cut-off date has been given for submitting maps to Council. The mapping tools are available on the City website on the Draw a Map tab http://www.cityoffullerton.com/government/departments/city-clerk/redistrict-fullerton/draw-a-map. The maps submitted by the public and drafted by the demographer will be available for the public to review from the Draft Maps tab https://www.cityoffullerton.com/government/departments/city-clerk/redistrict-fullerton/draft-maps.
District boundaries will change to create relatively equal population among the districts based on the 2020 census data and to align the districts with the FAIR MAPS Act criteria signed into law in 2019. When the new boundaries go into effect following the November 2022 Election, some residents will be in a different district than they are in currently. Some City Council Members may also be in a different district but will continue as the district council person until their term is completed.
Districts 3 and 5 will be on the ballot in 2022 and Districts 1, 2, and 4 in 2024, continuing the established cycle. Following the November 22 Election, Districts 3 and 5 will be reconfigured with council members from within the new boundaries. In 2024, the remaining districts will be reconfigured with council people elected from those new districts.
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