Potential Santa Maria Redistricting Map Promotes Accessibility | News


The following article was published on March 9, 2022 in the Santa Maria Sun – Volume 23, Number 2 [ Submit a Story ]

The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 23, Number 2

Potential Santa Maria redistricting map promotes accessibility

By Taylor O’Connor

Santa Maria could envision a future where city council members are chosen based on the city’s classic dividing lines: Main Street and Broadway.

City voters began electing candidates from the districts they lived in in the 2018 elections, and now Santa Maria is adopting new district boundaries based on the 2020 census – a data collection that takes place every 10 years to analyze population growth and demographic changes.

ELECTORAL REDISTRIBUTION
One of the map options that Santa Maria should choose for redistricting is the quadrant map, with the boundaries highlighted in yellow. Current district boundaries are drawn in black.
IMAGE OF THE CITY OF SANTA MARIA AGENDA

As things stand, the city’s four districts are not equal — with an 18 percent population gap between districts, Daniel Phillips of the National Demographics Corporation told council members at their meeting on March 3. March. Federal law obliges Santa Maria to redraw in order to maintain the balance between its districts with a difference of less than 10%.

“The idea is that we stay very close to the districts as they are now by realizing that the districts work well except for an equal population. We have made minimal changes to bring the population gap down to an acceptable level,” Phillips explained as he presented three options to the board.

A community favorite was the Quadrant Plan: a map that used Main and Broadway to divide the city into separate quadrants, a change from the current layout, which zigzags around the city’s main roads. In the quadrant plan, District 1 would be completely north of Main and west of Broadway, District 2 would be north of Main and east of Broadway, District 3 would be south of Main and east of west of Broadway, and District 4 would be south of Main and east of Broadway.

“That’s pretty clean, you have a total population gap of 6.2%, below the 10% line. Three districts are a majority Latino population of voting age, but the percentage in different districts fluctuates. It doesn’t There’s no difference in terms of adjacency or integrity of the neighborhood, and the boundaries are much more easily identifiable because they’re straighter and serve to keep the neighborhood more compact,” Phillips said.

Although the city council has yet to make a decision, council member Mike Cordero expressed support for the quadrant map.

“The quadrant plan is much cleaner and easier to understand, and it puts the right value on communities of interest within the city limits,” Cordero said.

Its easily understood boundaries had residents like Rebeca Garcia supporting the quadrant map.

“I noticed that one of the second category considerations is that when voters are in a new constituency, it can be confusing. I like the quadrant plan because even when voters are moved around, it’s really easy to figure out where you’re going to be. I can see off Broadway and the Main what district I would be based in on this, and that makes it accessible,” Garcia said during the meeting.

Giovanni Medina – another resident of Santa Maria – added to Garcia’s comment.

“As someone who is experiencing the redistricting process for the first time and trying to understand it, I support the quadrant map. This is something that I thought was super easy and necessary for our community of voters. This will encourage people to vote; there is a lack of accessibility here without Spanish translation, and a good first step is to make our map accessible,” said Giovanni.

City council is due to hold a second meeting on March 15 to gather additional community and council input and adopt a plan. The city is expected to adopt a final map on April 5.

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