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Redistricting: Redwood City Council gets glimpse at draft maps

Among the maps discussed in the presentation were two that were chosen by the advisory redistricting committee
RWC-City-Council
Redwood City Council

Redwood City council members on Monday had their first look at draft redistricting maps recommended by the Advisory Redistricting Committee (ARC) last month. 

Among the maps discussed in the presentation were draft maps B and C2, which were voted on unanimously by the committee during their final meeting on November 17. Both maps have a plan deviation of less than 10%, create two districts that are more than 50% Latinx and keep Redwood Shores in one district. Map B preserves six of 17 neighborhoods, while map C2 preserves eight 

Selection of the two maps, said ARC Chair Rudy Espinoza-Murray, was “guided by 2020 census population data” as well as redistricting criteria described in community of interest (COI) testimony and community map submissions. Espinoza-Murray said the committee prioritized three criteria, including maintaining two majority Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) districts, weighing the value of preserving existing neighborhoods and integrating community feedback. 

During the public hearing, however, some residents expressed dismay over the recommended maps and the process used to select them.

Rona Gundrum said that, in her opinion, “both maps submitted for council consideration have significant drawbacks” and asked the council to consider another option. 

Another resident, Johanna Rasmussen, said she was disappointed that all but one of the final maps kept the Farm Hill neighborhood with Edgewood Park. She implored council members to redraw the district to include certain aspects of their community, such as schools and major transportation routes.

Speaker Kris Johnson pointed out that three of the eleven members of the redistricting committee live in Redwood Shores. Johnson added that one of the proposed maps puts four of the seven council members in the same district, which could possibly bias the council's future decisions. He asked council members to consider why Mayor Giselle Hale had not recused herself due to her working at the same company as redistricting consultant Paul Mitchell. Mitchell and Hale are employed by voter data aggregator Political Data, Inc as president and chief financial officer, respectively. 

“Given all these questions, is it any wonder that many residents have lost faith in the process and questioned the legitimacy of these efforts?” he asked. “While the objectives for redistricting are pure, it’s a process easily manipulated by entities not looking out for the residents of Redwood City.”

The final plan selection hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24. As Paul Mitchell reminded the council during his report, any map they consider has to be made public for at least seven days before the final hearing. 

“If the world’s best redistricting plan were to appear on Jan. 23, the council wouldn’t be able to actually adopt that,” Mitchell said, adding that all old plans will remain on the city council website.

City council members are not required to select either of the two maps recommended by ARC. The council could choose to review any additional maps submitted by the public or even maps discarded by the ARC. 

Redistricting is meant to realign the seven voting districts for the roughly 85,000 people that live in Redwood City. This process takes place every 10 years.

In October and November, the redistricting held public hearings to gather feedback from the community. 

You can review the two draft maps suggested by ARC below: 

Redwood City Draft Plan C2 (INTERACTIVE)

Distinguishing Elements of Draft Map:

  • Replaces Plan C from November 3 
  • Includes two CVAP Majority Minority Districts
  • Retains District G as depicted in original Plan C, but also includes Fernside Area using Alameda de Las Pulgas as a boundary on south western (bottom) side
  • Keeps as much of Redwood Oaks neighborhood together abutting Woodside Road

Redwood City Draft Map B  (INTERACTIVE)

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the neighborhood in which three of eleven committee members lived. They live in Redwood Shores. 

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Leah Worthington is the lead reporter at the Redwood City Pulse. She can be reached at lworthington@rwcpulse.com, on Twitter, and by phone at 650-888-3794. To read more stories about Redwood City, subscribe to our daily Express newsletter on rwcpulse.com.




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Leah Worthington

About the Author: Leah Worthington

Leah, a Menlo Park native, joined the Redwood City Pulse in 2021. She covers everything from education and climate to housing and city government. Previously she worked as the online editor for California magazine in Berkeley and co-hosts a podcast.
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