Redistricting Update: Task Force Sticks to Unpopular Map, Makes Some Changes Before Closing at 3am

U-turns after U-turns, furious public comments and last night the threat of appointees being recalled – San Francisco’s redistricting process has been a frantic race.

And with one week left to come up with a finalized map, this is the critical moment for the working group.

Here’s your update on the status of the map last night. Please note that this map is still preliminary and there will be further changes in the coming days.

The working group remained with the 4B card

Unlike previous meetings, the working group postponed public comment on Wednesday evening until it had reworked the map it had recently adopted. This would be Map 4B, which cuts SoMa and the Tenderloin from District 6 and places them both in District 5.

Map 4B is controversial enough to have moved the Electoral Commission on Wednesday to schedule a Friday meeting consider recalling its three task force appointees. Mayor of London race and Senator Scott Wiener today criticized the election commission’s decision.

The postponement of public comment last night meant the task force could avoid working too late, when members were tired and there was less public accountability. It also meant they could work on an unpopular map without hearing public displeasure first.

After two and a half hours of line drawing, the map’s popularity with commentators has not changed. In the comments that followed, the vast majority of public comments favored the working group dropping the 4B map and re-adopting the 4D map.

“4B vs. 4D is class warfare, let’s be clear,” one commenter said. Another said the public consultation process was “a front for decisions made elsewhere”.

“Map 4D has a lot of benefits and still has a lot of benefits,” said task force member Raynell Cooper. “But the only thing that made this card difficult was that it’s a house of cards.”

Cooper explained the task force’s dilemma. If the task force was unwilling to place Russian Hill in District 2 (a move it favored on Monday but was defeated by a 5-4 vote), then it would be hard to make the math work. on the east side of the city without chopping up marginalized neighborhoods, he said. Several of the eastern districts on the 4D map are near the upper limit of their legal population limit.

Chairman Arnold Townsend acknowledged hearing many comments in favor of Map 4D, but suggested that “the majority of them came from one district”.

“It’s not that we don’t listen to public feedback,” Townsend said. “We are, and we know who’s talking.”

But it was still unclear why they opted for the drastic change of slicing the Tenderloin and SoMa out of District 6 when in Saturday’s vote, all task force members except Townsend voted in favor of the Tenderloin and SoMa out of District 6. progress with Map 4D.

Map 4B is widely seen as favoring the city’s moderates over its progressives. Voters tend to be progressive in the western part of District 5, and those areas are spread across multiple districts, which could dilute the vote that elected Dean Preston. Moving Seacliff and Presidio Terrace to District 1 is likely to add moderate voters there as well, in a district where moderate candidate Marjan Philhour narrowly lost in the 2020 Supervisory Election.

A minority of comments praised the working group for using 4B. Many District 3 residents were happy with their new boundary along Van Ness, which includes Russian Hill in the district. Others praised the task force for ignoring what one speaker called the “myopic agenda of progressive interest groups,” which they said organized resistance to the 4B map.

Changes made on Wednesday saw a small portion of central SoMa returned to District 6. Otherwise, changes on 4B were elsewhere.

Japantown divided

Redistricting Working Group Map.

A motion was put forward by Chema Hernández Gil suggested expanding the boundaries of District 5 to the north to avoid dividing the cultural district of Japantown.

The motion was defeated 5-4, with members Matthew Castillon, Raynell Cooper, Lily Ho, Chasel Lee and Arnold Townsend voting against.

Potrero Hill in District 10

Redistricting Working Group Map.

The first version of Map 4B saw Dogpatch and Potrero Hill both moved to District 6. A motion by Hernández Gil suggested moving Potrero Hill to District 10.

The motion passed 5-4, with Jeremy Lee, J. Michelle Pierce, Cooper, Hernández Gil, and Townsend in favor.

This decision will likely have cascading consequences for District 10. Chasel Lee was disappointed and frustrated that the addition of Potrero Hill would likely mean Portola being moved out of the district at a later meeting. He saw Portola being split from District 10 as a mistake carried over from earlier redistricting processes that he had hoped to help rectify.

Yerba Buena in District 6

Redistricting Working Group Map.

Castillion introduced a motion to keep the entire Yerba Buena Community Benefit District in District 6. This somewhat reduces the amount of Central SoMa moving to District 5.

The motion passed 5-4, with Ditka Reiner, Castillion, Ho, Chasel Lee and Townsend in favor.

Treasure Island to stay in District 6

Redistricting Working Group Map.

Pierce suggested moving Treasure Island to District 3. The motion was defeated 6 to 3, with Reiner, Castillion, Cooper, Ho, Chasel Lee and Townsend opposed.

Seacliff and Presidio Terrace in District 1

Redistricting Working Group Map.

Seacliff and Presidio Terrace are currently in District 2, but Map 4B places them in District 1. Hernández Gil introduced a motion to keep the neighborhoods in District 2.

The motion failed 6 to 3, with Reiner, Castillion, Cooper, Ho, Chasel Lee and Townsend opposed.

All of these changes are still preliminary, and we can expect more edits until the deadline for a finalized draft at 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. And if we’ve learned anything from the drama of the past week, it’s to expect the unexpected in which these changes will come.

The working group will meet daily until Saturday, with the next meeting starting at 3 p.m. today.

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