Redistricting Commissions and Public Participation

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By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher

As many of us know, the United States Constitution requires a census every ten years. This year, 2020 is such a year. One of the results of the Census is the redrawing of districts for elective representation. This means that the City Council in all cities, the Board of Supervisors, the State elected officials as well as Congressional districts all have to be redrawn depending on the population shifts in each state and electoral district.

When the City and County of San Diego engaged in this process 10 years ago, there was a shift in both supervisorial districts and city council districts in those county cities that have elected city representation, i.e., City Councils. It was this process that gave us a 9th City Council District, redrawing the boundaries for District Four. These changes in representational boundaries require, by law, public participation. That mandate is found under the U.S. Code Title 5 Sec. 554 and 555, referred to as the Administrative Procedures Act. At the state level, California has an Administrative Procedures Act under its State Statutes. Both laws require due process, which is notice to the public and opportunity to be heard.

Neither the City of San Diego nor the County of San Diego have met this requirement of due process in the course of making the public aware of the positions available on such Redistricting Commissions at both the County Level and the Municipal levels of cities within the county. It is not enough to issue press releases and ask media to provide “free notice.” This is especially important at the level of the City of San Diego, which will have three retired White judges making the decision as to who among applicants will be selected to sit on the commission.

It is our hope that between now and the Tuesday, June 30th deadline for filing applications there will be a flood of young people signing up to serve on all the commissions in the county and the state where possible. Applications are available from the Office of the Clerk of each of the cities and the Clerk of the County of San Diego. Go to their websites and sign up.

If selected, we of the community will help you do the job and teach you the ropes where necessary.

It should be remembered that the decisions made by these Commissioners will affect all of us for the next 10 years. These are the kinds of activities that those in power want the rest of us to miss or overlook. Then we are relegated to reacting rather than planning.

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