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Downtown City Council District Would Have Had Huge Impact on Northwest Pasadena

Published on Monday, November 15, 2021 | 5:00 am

Thousands of Northwest Pasadena residents would have been shifted to new council districts if the Redistricting Task Force had created a new city council district.

During its work the 11-member body examined three options for a new voting district downtown that would have led to an eighth city councilmember.

One option would have resulted in 29,000 residents and another 39,000 residents neither was supported by the task force.

“When reviewed by the Ad Hoc Committee, both Option A and Option B were determined to be too impactful, especially for residents living in Northwest Pasadena,” according to a staff report contained in Monday’s agenda.

Potential shifts in Northwest Pasadena could have diluted the chance of minority representation on the City Council.

In correspondence, local residents called on the City Council to preserve City Council districts in Northwest Pasadena.

“I am requesting that the Redistricting Task Force recommend the minimal change map with 10% deviation option to keep districts 1&3, and not split communities,” wrote Alma Stokes. “Changing boundaries disrupts and undermines those districts. Pasadena has a history of a lack of representation of Black and Brown communities. Please be guided by history and motivated by fairness to recommend the minimal change map with the 10% deviation option.”

The task force opted for minimal change by using a 10% deviation map that will result in 2,610 Pasadena residents moved from their current City Council district to a different one.

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.

The one-person, one-vote standard requires general population equality between districts, but no precise number or percentage has been set that defines constitutionality.

The Supreme Court has determined the constitutional requirement for congressional districts to mean “strict equality.” Legislative and other local maps, districts need only to be “substantially equal.”

Some courts have considered total deviations above 10% to be “constitutionally suspect.”

Regarding a potential downtown district, the task force also considered a third option to determine if support might exist for a downtown approach that would have minimal impacts to Northwest.  However, residents living in District 6 and District 7 spoke in opposition to the option, which shifted the Madison Heights Neighborhood Association to District 6.

“The adjustments necessary to achieve a consolidation of Downtown Council representation would be very disruptive to implement. Moreover, given the late release of census data and the outreach and education needed to build consensus around such a plan, the current redistricting cycle was not well-suited to successfully achieve such a highly impactful outcome prior to the December 15 deadline.”

The City Council will hold the first of three public hearings on Monday regarding its final recommendation. Additional hearings will be held on November 22, and December 6.

The City Council is scheduled to conduct first and second readings of the ordinance on December 6 and December 13, respectively, that will officially establish the seven newly drawn city council districts.

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One thought on “Downtown City Council District Would Have Had Huge Impact on Northwest Pasadena

  • Well, we could just take the action necessary to amend the City Charter, and add an eighth council seat, bring the voting Council to a total of nine with the Mayor, and have an odd number of representatives, so there would never be a four to four tie vote? That would improve representation, rather than just “shifting it” in a way that would dislocate or disempower existing communities. And, such a move would allow for a “downtown” district to represent that significant emerging concentration of population more adequately, without diminishing and/or disenfranchising any existing Pasadena community…… Nah…. That would make too much sense….