One nominee for the city’s Redistricting Task Force withdrew his name from consideration on Monday. Meanwhile, several local residents have questioned the demographics of the task force, which is made up mostly of affluent white residents.
The task force will use census data to help redraw lines for the city’s seven City Council districts.
Councilmembers nominated former Mayor Terry Tornek and former City Councilmember Margaret McAustin to the task force along with David Coher, Donald C. Nanney, Jordan Vannini, Richard McDonald, Francis Chen, Vince Farhat and at-large nomination Rita Moreno.
“It is a strength of Pasadena that people are willing to step up and volunteer for thankless tasks such as the Redistricting Task Force,” said Chamber of Commerce President Paul Little. “This is an important responsibility and I would hope that the committee could be expanded so that it is more representative of Pasadena and our varied and various communities. Right now it is made up of very committed and civic minded people, all friends of mine, but it certainly over-represents lawyers and the affluent. I would be very pleased to see more people of color and a much greater economic diversity among the members.”
Madison announced that McDonald had withdrawn his name from consideration, and put forth former Pasadena City College Trustee Geoff Baum.
On Monday, it was announced that California will lose one of its congressional seats after Census data revealed that although the state is still the most populous it is now growing more slowly than other states.
It is not known if Pasadena’s growth mirrors the states.
In 2012, the City Council voted 6-1 to shift the districts slightly, resulting in the exchange of about 1,392 people from one district to another.
“I just think there should be fresh faces with new objectives and goals for the city,” said local resident Todd Laurence. “We see the same names, and in many cases, of individuals who have held high positions — positions that directly impacted the quality of life in Pasadena. And unfortunately, many of the past goals/objectives weren’t contemporary. Residents weren’t being listened to. Concerns weren’t being addressed by these same individuals who now can literally still impact the direction of this city.”
Laurence said he was worried about the lack of perspective from an “input” perspective from the residents of Black and Brown communities throughout the districts, particularly in the Northwest, and pointed out that new residents in the city should have an opportunity to voice their opinions.
Farhat will serve as the chair and Moreno will serve as vice chair.
The citizen-based task force will examine census data for changes in populations in the city’s seven districts and recommend a redistricting plan to the council.
In the early 1990s, redrawing those lines put Gordo on the road to the mayor’s gavel after the council created a new district — which is now District 5 — in an effort to create more voting opportunities for growing numbers of Latino residents in that area of the city.
That seat was won by Bill Crowfoot, now a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, with Gordo serving as his field representative. Gordo, who won that seat after Crowfoot declined to run for a third term, became the third elected mayor in modern history in the November election.
The redistricting plan must be submitted by Dec. 15. The council must hold at least four public hearings before approving the revised map.