Fallbrook CPG recommends county redistricting map with North County cities
Last updated 11/26/2021 at 1:39am
Village News Reporter
San Diego County Redistricting Commission Vice-Chair Rosette Garcia provided information on the Board of Supervisors redistricting plan to the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, and while the Nov. 15 planning group meeting was not a legal public hearing for the group or members of the public to give input to Garcia, the planning group voted to recommend approval of the map which would keep Fallbrook in the same district as Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido.
The planning group voted 13-0, with Jeniene Domercq and Anna Strahan not able to participate in the meeting, to recommend what the redistricting commission is calling Map 11. The motion was for the planning group to send a letter to the redistricting commission, whose next meeting will be Dec. 2 at the San Diego County Office of Education complex, supporting Map 11.
Map 10, which is the other map also currently still under consideration by the redistricting commission, would place Fallbrook with other unincorporated communities as far south as Crest (which has an El Cajon ZIP code) but places the North County cities in a separate district. “It makes no sense at all,” said planning group chair Eileen Delaney.
Tom Harrington is a North County Fire Protection District firefighter as well as a planning group member. He noted that the NCFPD is part of an operational zone which coordinates with other North County fire departments including city fire departments. “We all train together. We all go for regional grants together,” he said. “It’s super important that we continue to have a district supervisor that can be reached out to at times.”
Harrington noted that Map 11 retains as much of the fire service zone as possible. “It keeps intact that operational zone. If we look at Map 10 it completely removes that operational zone. That would be a step back for our community,” he said.
The redistricting commission consists of 14 members. Eight of those were selected by random draw during a Board of Supervisors meeting, and those eight chose the remaining six members. “The goal was to form a commission that was representative of the county,” Garcia said.
That goal to be representative of the county includes political party affiliation or lack thereof, race, and geography. Garcia is one of the District 5 residents on the commission.
The redistricting will seek to create districts as equal as possible in population. “That’s the most important thing we are trying to achieve,” Garcia said.
The 2011 redistricting was based on the 2010 census and had a target population of 619,063 per district. The variance between the most-populated and least-populated districts was 2.7%. The 2020 census has a target of 660,452 residents per district. The current variance is 5.0%. The Third District population has grown by 8.8% from 2010; the Fifth District population has increased by 7.7%; the Second District has 7.0% more residents; the Fourth District population is 5.5% greater, and the First District population is 4.9% more.
“We have very strict legal criteria that we must follow,” Garcia said.
Equal population to the extent possible is a state criteria, as is keeping communities of interest together. “They may share a common culture. They may share a common language,” Garcia said.
The public meetings have indicated other common interests such as coastal pollution and airport noise. “Things like that do not come to us from the census data,” Garcia said.
Other state requirements are that the districts be contiguous, that to the extent possible they must not divide cities, neighborhoods, or community planning groups, that they must be geographically compact as opposed to having “tentacles” including or excluding specific areas, and that they cannot consider the residence of an incumbent or candidate and cannot discriminate against any political party.
The county charter has additional requirements. At least three districts must include some unincorporated territory and at least two of those districts must be predominantly outside incorporated cities.
“A community’s ability to elect representatives of their choice is very important,” Garcia said.
A previous public hearing was held Nov. 1. “We’ve been looking at draft maps, looking at different scenarios,” Garcia said.
Public comment by correspondence will also be considered by the committee. “We’ve received a lot of public comment,” Garcia said. “We are still accepting public comment.”
Maps 1 through 9 have been eliminated from consideration. Map 10 would place Fallbrook with current Second District communities Ramona, Julian, Lakeside, Alpine, Descanso, Pine Valley, Mount Laguna, and Crest while the other unincorporated district would cover the State Route 94 corridor. Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Vista would not be in the same district as Fallbrook.
Map 11 places Fallbrook with Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido but not Carlsbad. Currently a small portion of Santa Ysabel is in District Two with most of that community in District Five, and Map 11 would place all of Santa Ysabel in District 2. During an Aug. workshop in El Cajon, members of the public noted that El Cajon and the City Heights area of San Diego both have significant immigrant populations and desired a district with those two communities, and Map 11 places both of those communities in District 4.
The redistricting commission has a Dec. 15 deadline to choose a map.