The Redwood City Council will consider two slightly different draft district maps at an upcoming meeting, including a map that splits the Mt. Carmel neighborhood into three and a map that keeps Eagle Hill and Mt. Carmel mostly intact.
It took two hours (and several months), but the redistricting process is all but over, as the Redwood City Advisory Redistricting Committee (ARC) voted on Wednesday to submit two maps for City Council consideration.
Appearing at their final ARC meeting, committee members discussed the five draft maps proposed by the city's redistricting consultants and the community. Only one of the five draft maps submitted -- Draft Map E-- split Redwood Shores, a controversial move condemned by many residents of that community. It was discarded almost immediately.
Much of the conversation revolved around whether it was important to preserve neighborhoods or whether the committee should focus more on communities of interest. The other topic was whether the members should rank the maps submitted by their own preference to show the city council which map each member preferred. The preference vote failed 7-4.
Johanna Rasmussen, chairwoman of the Farm Hill Neighborhood Association, told the committee she was disappointed to see that all but one map include Farm Hill with Edgewood Park.
"One of the things that our neighborhood was interested in doing was keeping our boundaries in line with where our kids go to school," Rasmussen said, adding that Draft Map B would be the one that is most associated with the wishes and needs of the Farm Hill neighborhood. "...We would very much like to be kept in line with Woodside Plaza, portions of Roosevelt, portions of Canyon that also share our schools and these are areas where our neighborhood shops..."
Some of the committee members, including At-Large member Lisa Hicks-Dumanske, asked about the importance of the preservation and splitting of neighborhoods.
"I'm trying to understand why it's so important to keep neighborhoods together. Because a lot has changed in the last 10 years, and I'm not so sure that the neighborhoods, as they existed before, are really set in stone so much," Hicks-Dumanske said. "And so I'm just I'm looking at all these different maps and you know, you know, some have less neighborhoods together, some have more neighborhoods together and I'm just trying to understand."
In letters to the committee and public comments throughout the process, neighbors in Redwood Shores repeatedly said they were against splitting the neighborhood.
"I think that (Map) E should be discarded outright. It keeps two minority-majority districts, but splits Redwood Shores," said Rona Gundrum, a resident who spoke up at the public hearing. "Redwood Shores is a master-planned community of single-family homes, townhomes and condos, apartments, businesses, retail and restaurants. It's a diverse community comprised of all ethnicities, ages, backgrounds and incomes.
"While it is comprised of dozens of neighborhoods and HOA fees, we're all united under the Redwood Shores community association that advocates for the community bringing to the forefront topical matters of concern..."
Gundrum said she was in support of Map C2 over Map B.
The Redwood City Council will review the two maps on Dec. 6.More information on Wednesday's meeting:
Five draft district maps being presented tonight during Redwood City's Advisory Redistricting Committee meeting. This is the final committee meeting and members will choose a map to forward to City Council for approval.— Michelle Iracheta 👽 (@cephira) November 18, 2021
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.