Potrero Hill residents demand task force adopt ‘healing map’

At the top of Potrero Hill and a stone’s throw from the new public housing estate, 30 protesters raised their voices: “We will not be moved.

Residents of Potrero Hill held a rally on Friday calling on the redistricting task force to adopt the “healing map,” the latest version of the map the task force has been working on after rejecting a controversial Final Map 5 at 4. Protesters, many of them Black community leaders, pointed to the controversial redistricting map as a prime example of how San Francisco has failed minorities.

MAPS: You can view a slideshow of the community unit map here.

You can see the map with which the redistricting force will start on April 21 here.

“What I saw was the map that caused violence, that caused socio-economic damage, that caused division that disenfranchised,” Cheryl Thornton said, referring to the rejected final map that places Portola in District 10 and Potrero Hill in District 9.

When the redistricting task force meets again on April 21, members will start with the most favorable “healing map,” but protesters on Friday made it clear that few people trust the process.

San Francisco has been in the midst of a redistricting process tasked with dividing the city into 11 roughly equal population oversight districts. The redistricting process urges “communities of interest” to stick together, said JR Eppler, president of the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association. But “the task force wasn’t listening.”

Over the past two weeks, the process has become increasingly chaotic with vote cancellations, member departures and meetings lasting nearly 20 hours.

Although the most hated map was ultimately voted down on Wednesday, the community gathered today still fears that Potrero Hill could end up being moved out of District 10. Advocates said Friday it made it harder to represent or listen to of its inhabitants. Already most of them feel neglected despite years of advocacy.

“We have allies, we work together, and we’ve worked really hard to build those relationships,” said Azuri Pease-Green, a community leader from Potrero Hill.

“If they separate D10, it means we separate our community from where we can get all the resources and needs for our people,” said Tino Felise of the Samoan Community Development Center.

Standing in front of the San Francisco Housing Authority, Pease-Green and other residents argued that the change would put them in the higher-income Mission – a move that would sideline the problems of low-income residents. .

Other concerns revolve around racial voting power. The push to move the heavily Asian-relocated Portola to District 10 bolsters the Asian vote, prompting residents to fear it would hurt the district’s ability to vote for another black supervisor.

“You’ve watered down black voting because D10 is where we can get our voices heard in the vote,” Pease-Green said. “This voice is needed to ensure ‘we can continue to have a black supervisor.’

Since supervisory districts were reinstated in 2000, three District 10 supervisors have been black, including Sophie Maxwell, Malia Cohen and currently Shamann Walton. Currently, the three main ethnic populations living in District 10 are Asian, Latina and then Black.

Portola resident Shirley Chen, who is Asian, said the controversial map “has been harmful” and divides “so many communities that have long struggled to survive: immigrants, South Asians, black people, gay people and transgender,” while prioritizing white people. and affluent neighborhoods. “We must work together to win a fair card in the short term and to build true interracial understanding and solidarity in the long term.”

Advocates also pointed to a lack of transparent process and the way meetings dragged on late into the night when residents were sleeping. Other speakers focused on Sunday night’s contentious meeting where Vice President Ditka Reiner first voted against the map that would change Portola and Potrero Hill districts, then reversed her vote after a break to move members’ cars.

“They try to leave to move their cars, come back and say, ‘I voted on the wrong card.’ Now you think we’re stupid,” Pease-Green said. “And now you’re just downright disrespectful.”

Potrero Hill resident Tenika Blue disputed text messages in which Thornton asked President Arnold Townsend why he placed Portola in District 10. Townsend replied, “I have no choice.” Another task force member, Raynell Cooper, told Mission Local that Townsend appeared to be pressured by the mayor to vote a certain way.

“Being at the table means you have a choice,” Blue told Mission Local. “Who do you represent? It’s summary. I feel like we are often overlooked and people are in positions of power and not getting the job done.

The community will continue to advocate for a fair map, the Community Unity Map, which the task force will adopt on April 21.

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