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Citizens create 37 redistricting maps

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Local groups and individuals created 37 maps by reconfiguring the eight City Council districts as part of the city’s redistricting process.

The number of maps turned into the city for consideration this year marks a significant jump from the 2001 redistricting process, when the public created 13 maps, said Maria MacGunigal, the city’s geographic information system manager.

Residents drew their city maps through the city’s new online redistricting tool. MacGunigal attributes the increased participation in part to the online program.

“The tools were more accessible,” she said.

The city conducted outreach and marketing for the redistricting process, she said.

City Council districts in Sacramento are rearranged with U.S. Census data each decade. The city’s charter says that the deadline for the city to restructure its districts is six months after Census data is released. This year, the deadline will fall in early September, according to city staff.

After 10 years of growth, the city’s districts are no longer even in size. The city’s population jumped from 407,018 in 2000 to 466,488 in 2010. At the current population citywide, 58,311 people should be placed in each of the city’s eight districts, according to city staff.

The 37 maps came from various sources, including neighborhoods and groups representing residents by race or ethnicity.

The African American Leadership Coalition wrote in a statement attached to its map that it aims to “promote voting rights and representation for all Sacramentans while protecting the voting interests and rights of African American communities to elect a representative of choice.”

Redistricting map by African American Leadership Coalition

The coalition also wrote that its map intends to protect neighborhoods and divvy up the districts so they have the same number of people.

In another example, a majority of board members of the East Sacramento Improvement Association submitted a redistricting map. The group said it wants to see a district include River Park, East Sacramento, Midtown and downtown, according to the statement accompanying the map. The current districts have three different City Council members representing East Sacramento, Midtown and downtown.

“It preserves the integrity of traditional neighborhoods and respects groups with shared interests,” the association wrote about its map.

At least two prominent constituencies did not create maps but are still presenting their views to the redistricting committee.

A local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender coalition is advocating for the central city to be represented by one council member.

“We know that we have strong support in the urban core for LGBT issues – that’s split up, (and) we want to put it back together,” according to Rosanna Herber, a community activist involved in the coalition’s effort.

The group also wants the Central City to be joined with one of three other neighborhoods – Land Park, Curtis Park or East Sacramento.

The Downtown Sacramento Partnership also did not draw a map, but told the redistricting committee earlier this month that it would like to see the Central City in one district. The Central City is the heart of a region and a cultural center, said Wendy Hoyt on Monday, representing the partnership.

The citizens’ redistricting advisory committee can decide how it would like to handle the maps the public turned in, according to MacGunigal.

The committee could send one or more of the maps created by the public to the City Council, MacGunigal said. The committee could also create its own map or recommend a combination of ideas from the public maps, she said.

Comments and testimony from the public could affect the committee’s recommendation, MacGunigal said.

On July 12, the advisory committee will make recommendations to the City Council on how the districts should be re-formed. The council will ultimately make the redistricting decisions.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. 

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