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Council Conducts First Public Hearing on Redistricting Task Force Recommendations

Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 | 4:00 am
 

Redistricting Pasadena [Courtesy CityofPasadena.net]
The City Council held its first public meeting Monday on the final report and recommendation from the Redistricting Task Force.

The task force is recommending slight changes in voting boundaries that would result in 2,610 Pasadena residents being moved from their current City Council district to a different one.

“This is really hard work and extremely important work,” said Councilmember Steve Madison.

Madison recognized that District 6 is one of three districts that would see voters shift to another voting district.

The council did not recommend any changes on Monday and voted unanimously 7-0 to continue the public hearing to Nov. 22.

Mayor Victor Gordo was not at Monday’s meeting.

Only three districts would be impacted by the shuffling.

In total, 1,625 District 6 residents would become District 7 voters, and 985 District 7 voters would be shifted to District 2.

Due to the changes, 693 people will have to wait until the 2024 voting cycle before they can next vote in City Council elections.

The task force adopted a 10% deviation map.

According to redistrictingonline.org, a nonpartisan educational resource that seeks to educate, inform, and share resources related to redistricting.

“The equal population or ‘one-person, one-vote’ standard requires general population equality between districts, but there is no precise number or percentage that defines constitutionality.

Instead, the Supreme Court interprets this constitutional requirement for congressional districts to mean “strict equality,” and for legislative and other local maps, districts need only to be “substantially equal.” In practice, a clear standard has emerged for legislative and local maps in which courts consider total deviations above 10% to be constitutionally suspect.”

The shift in voting lines would also allow District 2 to become the second council district representing residents north and south of Colorado Boulevard.

Traditionally, every council district represents part of Colorado Boulevard.

“The recommended plan balances the district populations using a counterclockwise rotation,” according to a staff report in Monday’s City Council agenda. “District 6 gives up population to District 7, and District 7 gives up population to District 2.”

The recommendation also includes a forecast of major changes in the next 10 years due to a number of factors, and called on elected officials to have discussions with their constituents on the impacts of those changes earlier in the next redistricting cycle.

“Noting the possibility of major changes in the city for the next redistricting cycle, including the acquisition and development of the 710 freeway stub, increased housing created by the Parsons project and new state laws, factoring in recent undercounts in populations in Northwest Pasadena, and the growing sentiment for consolidation of City Council representation in the Downtown/Central District area, it is strongly recommended that the City Council work to understand the significant impacts these factors will have on the next redistricting cycle, and begin the community discussion and understanding of these impacts earlier and ahead of the work of the next Redistricting Task Force,” the report states.

Every 10 years, the city of Pasadena utilizes decennial census data to adjust City Council district boundaries to equalize population among the seven districts in the city.

According to that data, white residents still make up a majority of the city’s population at 36.7%. Latino residents make up 33% of the city’s population, followed by Asian residents at 16.9% and African-American residents at 8.5%.

Latino residents make up a majority of the population in City Council districts 1, 3 and 5, with 49.7%, 48.1% and 51.4%, respectively.

“The Task Force worked hard to submit a map that meets federal and state guidelines and takes into consideration the preferences of leadership and our community members,” said Patrice Marshall McKenzie, who was appointed to the task force as an at-large member by Mayor Victor Gordo.

“Ultimately, the map that was submitted to the City Council allows the most vulnerable community’s ability to elect representatives while trying to minimize significant population shifts. It’s a process that isn’t perfect, but we aimed to limit adverse impacts to the greatest number of people.”

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