Morning Report: Groups Say Redistricting Commission Is Catering to Coast, Ignoring Their Needs
A coalition of residents from inland and marginalized communities recently came together to propose a city political map that would unify inland neighborhoods historically split between districts, increase the Asian population in District 6 and cut UC San Diego from its political ties with La Jolla.
The coalition’s map moved UC San Diego and some of its neighboring areas, like north University City and Sorrento Valley into District 6. It combined La Jolla with other coastal areas with many single-family homeowners, like Pacific Beach and Point Loma. It reunited communities like Clairemont Mesa and Rancho Penasquitos in one council district. It created a District 6 where the Asian American and Pacific Islander population reached roughly 41 percent of the total district. Those outcomes were consistent with the general priorities the redistricting commission laid out early in the mapping process, our Maya Srikrishnan reports.
But despite these efforts, the city’s redistricting commissioners voted Friday to move forward with a different map that was drawn by Commission Chair Thomas Hebrank. Hebrank’s map left UCSD in District 1 and maintained two separate coastal city council districts. It also left communities like Clairemont Mesa and Rancho Penasquitos divided between districts – although a previous map divided Clairemont into four districts. The commissioners made slight amendments to Hebrank’s proposed map, including in which districts the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and the airport were located.
For many people who supported the coalition’s map, the decision sent a clear signal about the way things work in San Diego: what single-family homeowners on the coast want is prioritized over what everyone else wants. These different communities had come together in hopes that as a group, they could finally matter more than the coast, but they were disappointed.
Leaders among the coalition say they aren’t giving up yet.
Though the Politics Report is very smart and plugged in we had no idea what really was going on in Washington D.C. with all the negotiations about a large package of spending bills that would provide universal pre-K, extend child tax credit payments to families and address climate change among many other efforts. It’s the largest augmentation of the social safety net since the New Deal.
San Diego’s own congressman, Rep. Scott Peters, has put himself right in the middle of it – and how he handles his place in these historic negotiations is going to define his congressional legacy.
We also explain who is behind a signature gathering campaign to put a measure on next year’s ballot to raise the sales tax for transportation projects, and why it’s important.
That’s all in the Politics Report, which is available to members. If you’re interested in getting access, consider donating.
More politics: podcast hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña channeled their inner Don DeLillo when asking the question: What is the point of Rep. Scott Peters? He’s at the center of a debate over pharmaceutical prices. The crew also looked ahead to 2022 as ballot measures start falling into place.
One of these days, we promise, we’ll record directly from the site of the most photographed barn in America.
Also: U-T columnist Michael Smolens considers the national recognition San Diego is getting for its long-term water supply efforts and writes that, recent storm aside, “fingers crossed” is no longer a strategy.
Our Covid Public Records Case Is Donezo
We teamed up last year with KPBS and the Union-Tribune to sue San Diego County over its refusal to give up Covid-19 outbreak location data. Last week, we got some bad news: the California Supreme Court declined to hear us out, meaning the Appellate Court decision to keep the records secret will stand.
Jesse Marx broke down the case and what it could mean long-term for accessing certain types of records during a public health emergency. The county contends the secrecy was necessary to ensure the integrity of contact tracing efforts and to avoid stigmatizing the sites where outbreaks had occurred.
But its legal argument largely rested on the opinion of the county’s public health officer.
The Role of Police in Southeastern San Diego
In case you missed it, we hosted Politifest, our annual public affairs summit, last month. Through a series of discussions and stories, we examined law enforcement and justice in San Diego.
One of those stories surveyed activists in southeastern San Diego on the proper role of police in their neighborhoods.
To get more input on the subject, we asked our Instagram followers to send us their own thoughts. Here are some of them.
Question: What role should police play in our neighborhoods?
- “A security, protection and a pillar of the community.”
- “None. They should stop killing Black and brown community members.”
- “Enforcing noise ordinances and parking violations; traffic emergencies.”
- “Mediators, first responders.”
- “Response for criminal incidents. In an ideal world, other services could handle other matters.”
- “Not exist.”
Thank you to everyone who participated in our little survey. If you’d like to send us your thoughts on future questions, make sure to follow us on Instagram.
In Other News
- The U-T took a closer look at violent crime across neighborhoods between 2019 and 2020 and found approximately a third saw an increase, a third saw a decrease and a third saw no change. Collectively, violent crime went up in San Diego but at a far lower level than the nation. Jesse Marx also reported last month that, despite the recent increase, the violent crime rate for the whole region is still well below its peak in the 1990s.
- Longtime food writer Troy Johnson and Claire Johnson, who works at NBC Universal, are the new majority owners of San Diego Magazine. (Union-Tribune)
- Several local customers told ABC 10 that they paid Sullivan Solar to install systems in their homes, but now claim the company took off with their money. The company’s office is empty and when customers call to complain, nada. We spoke with owner Daniel Sullivan back in 2017. Sullivan has for years presented as one of the leading solar companies in San Diego.
- A flower shop in Chollas View is honoring victims of violence and crime with a Día de Los Muertos altar. The shop Mums Flowers is holding a vigil on Monday at 7 p.m. (Union-Tribune.)
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Adriana Heldiz. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.