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Redistricting Task Force Recommends Slight Boundary Shifts in Three City Council Districts

Published on Thursday, November 11, 2021 | 12:01 pm
Redistricting Pasadena courtesy

A final recommendation Redistricting Task Force report would lead to slight changes to voting boundaries resulting 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.

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, 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 City Council will consider the recommendation on Monday.

“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 communities 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.”

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.

In this cycle, the main principles or objectives considered by the task force in developing the recommended plan were:

 • One Person, One Vote: Equal population standard established pursuant to the City Charter, the California Elections Code, and the equal protection requirement of the 14th amendment. The recommended map keeps the overall plan balance below the 10% threshold considered “presumptively constitutional.”

• Voting Rights Act Compliance: The recommended plan does not result in the dilution or diminution of voting power of any demographic or ethnic population in the city.

 • Contiguity: The recommended plan complies with the California Fair Maps Act requirement that all districts be contiguous.

• Communities of Interest: The recommended plan retains the prior district map’s careful respect for communities of interest across the city. The task force received extensive public input on communities of interest across the city based upon social and demographic characteristics including age, ethnicity, homeownership, poverty levels, educational attainment, and income patterns; information on neighborhood association areas, and public input on communities and neighborhoods.

• Compactness: The recommended map is compact wherever possible without violating the higher-priority criteria as specified in state and federal law.

 • Continuity of Representation: The recommended plan minimizes the number of people who would have their representation changed by the new boundaries.

• Recognizable Boundaries: The recommended plan maintains the major boundaries of the Arroyo Seco and most of Colorado Boulevard.

 • The tradition of all districts connecting with Colorado Boulevard: Given Colorado Boulevard’s central location and importance to the overall city, all Pasadena Council districts have connected to Colorado Boulevard since the City’s initial move to by-district elections. The recommended plan retains that connection, with one exception: District 2 joins District 4 in having population on both sides of Colorado Boulevard.

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 the largest group in 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 TF spent as much time as possible engaging and listening to communities of interest and our residents,” said former District 2 Councilmember Margaret McAustin, who was appointed to the task force in District 2. “The recommended maps respond to what we heard and comply with the VRA [Voting Rights Act]. I felt the chair and VG did an excellent job of responding to all legitimate concerns. Though the changes were minimal this time , we can expect bigger changes after the next census.”

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