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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Redistricting: "Community Unity Map"

I received this today from a friend involved in this effort.  Forty-five people have already indicated on the Facebook page that they'll be at the March 7th meeting advocating for this map. 

There will also be a Redistricting Task Force meeting Thursday March 1, 2012, 6:00pm at Everett Middle School, 450 Church St.
Community Unity Map
This is an invitation to a very important meeting that will literally shape San Francisco's future. A broad coalition of community organizations and neighborhood leaders will present and advocate for a Community Unity map to the Redistricting Task Force, trying to fight off the gerrymandering efforts of business and real estate forces. It is critical that you make your voice heard!

Wednesday March 7, 2012, 6:00pm, Room 406, City Hall

Background. Every ten years after the census San Francisco must re-draw the boundaries of its supervisorial districts to account for shifts in the population over the previous decade, as required by Section 13.110 (d) of the San Francisco City Charter. This is going on now. A Redistricting Task Force is currently deliberating how the boundary maps should be redrawn, and they will make a final decision on April 15. Each district must have relatively equal population, within 1% of an equal target, though exception up to 5% are allowed in order to make sure districts don’t divide “communities of interest” haphazardly. District Six (SoMa, Tenderloin, North Mission) gained over 25,000 people since the last Census, and thus its boundaries will need to shrink considerably. District Eleven (Excelsior/OMI/Portola) also increased, and will need to shrink somewhat. On the other hand, District Nine (Mission/Bernal/Portola) lost population, and thus will need to increase in size. The problem is that as soon as one boundary is adjusted for one district, it affects every other district population in a domino effect. The Redistricting Task Force process includes community meetings in every district, where neighborhood groups can advocate for their own version of their own district, but relatively little public discussion has been had on the development of a rational 11-district map.

The Other Side. Big business interests have been busy trying to use this as an opportunity to get rid of progressive supervisors by corralling all the City's progressive strongholds into District Six (South of Market/Tenderloin), District Nine (the Mission/Bernal) and District Five (Haight/Western Addition). This could result in a permanent 8-3 fix against a progressive agenda. The San Francisco Association of Realtors has submitted an 11-district map that would ensure this. Those of you who have lived here long enough to remember the days when Tom Ammiano and Sue Bierman were the only progressive votes on a citywide elected Board of Supervisors know how serious this could be. A couple of blatant examples of this kind of gerrymandering include a proposal  to move Sea Cliff ( a conservative voting block) out of District Two (which it shares with the Marina), and into District One (Richmond), a swing district which currently has a progressive Supervisor, or moving the western boundary of D8 to include Twin Peaks. We, community organizations and leaders, are developing a Community Unity 11-district map that would maintain the balance between the City's more progressive and moderate districts, and, we hope, maintain a community-oriented Board of Supervisors.

Developing a Community Unity Map. In December, 2011, a group of neighborhood and community advocates discussed how best to bring to the community’s  attention the need to develop a complete, 11-district map regarding the required redistricting  as a result  of the 2010 census. What the group concluded was to start with a “Draft Community Unity” 11 district map, bring that map to a public meeting, and invite other interested neighborhood and community residents to propose changes to that map that represent key issues in their neighborhood or community. On January 26th at the Mission campus of the San Francisco Community College some eighty San Franciscans attended the forum.  The draft Community Unity map was presented and a long evening of discussion occurred, with most comments directed at the boundary as drawn between Districts 8 & 9, 5 & 2, and 4 & 7.  Members present called upon the sponsors of the meeting to continue the process of drafting an 11-district plan informed by neighborhood and community participation.  Over the next month some three additional versions were drafted, each changed by comments from specific communities of interest or neighborhood residents.  Participants from all 11 districts joined the process.  Neighborhood, civic, and labor organizations devoted all or parts of their meeting to the map. An initial draft showing the emerging consensus among the southeast Districts 6, 9, 10, and 11 was presented to the Redistricting Task Force at its D9 community meeting, largely to let the Task Force know that a Community consensus-building process was underway and that a full 11-district map would be presented in upcoming meetings.

Description of the Map. The current Community Unity map (version 4) has been generally vetted by many progressive community organizations, people of color groups, and various community leaders working primarily in D1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11. The map was drawn by Fernando Mart√≠ of the San Francisco Information Clearinghouse. Please feel free to email him directly (fernando@sfic-409.org) with your comments and suggestions. We make no claim that this is a definitive representation of all San Francisco resident  concerns regarding supervisor district boundaries.  However, this Community Unity Map has received more public comment than any other map so far submitted to the Task Force. We urge you to accept this map as a serious and comprehensive statement of the preferences of the residents of San Francisco.

The map shows existing boundaries (in black), and proposed (in color). It tries to keep all proposed districts within 5% margin of target population (legal requirement), and keeps District 4 and 11 as majority Asian populations. We tried not to make radical changes from existing boundaries, and to follow natural boundaries (both physical boundaries and communities of interest) between Districts as much as possible. Some of the more difficult decisions involved boundaries where demographics had changed, but where critical community institutions remained (such as between 8 & 9, and between 5 & 2). We tried to keep key institutions within districts where they are likely to have the greatest impact, such as keeping the LGBTQ center in D8, moving 55 Laguna into D5, keeping St. Luke’s Hospital in D9, and keeping Transbay and Treasure Island in D6. In developing the proposal we tried to achieve the following goals:
·             D11 should include the Excelsior and as much of OMI as possible, acknowledging that it has to lose some population. It does so by losing the Portola to D9, and by losing some of the northern boundary of OMI to D7.
·             D10 should keep Viz Valley, Bayview, Potrero and Dogpatch. D10 can absorb Mission Bay below Mission Creek, as this has a natural relationship with Dogpatch.
·             D9 should take all of Portola, and keep all of Bernal and include more of the North Mission, up to 16th Street. We agreed that Portola should be kept whole, and so (given the points above) would need to go to 9. By moving the D8 boundary to Valencia, D9 can go all the way up to 16th St. which is a good boundary. D9 should keep both sides of Cesar Chavez along St. Lukes, to Guerrero.
·             D8 should remain relatively as is, keeping the LGBTQ center, but moving part of its northern boundary down to Herman St., in order to keep the Lower Haight whole, and east to Valencia and San Jose.
·             D6 should keep its core of SoMa, Tenderloin, North Mission (above 16th), the McCoppin Triangle, Transbay and Treasure Island. By moving the northern boundary with D3 to Geary and Mission Street, the western boundary to Van Ness, and the southern boundary to Mission Creek, we can make the numbers work.
·             D5 should extend east to Van Ness as a natural boundary, should keep Japantown as much as possible, and should include the 55 Laguna development which will have a major impact on Hayes Valley and Lower Haight.
·             D3 can expand south a little bit, to Geary and Mission Street, though losing a bit of Russian Hill, west of Mason.
·             D1 rather than gaining population with Sea Cliff, could move east somewhat along Geary. This was probably the most controversial suggestion made by the map.

What do Now. The Redistricting Commissioners pays a lot of attention to who shows up when they are deliberating over where the lines should finally be drawn. As such, we are asking you to join us at the next citywide Redistricting Task Force so that we can make a strong impression. This is a very important meeting that will literally shape San Francisco's future. Please forward this to others you think might be interested.

Wednesday March 7, 2012, 6:00pm, Room 406

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