Staedler: A closer look at Santa Clara County’s redistricting process
A view of San Jose from the East-Evergreen side of the city. File photo.

Every 10 years, political district maps are redrawn at the congressional, state and local levels to account for shifts in population. The 2020 census data shows there are significant shifts in population throughout Santa Clara County.

The county Board of Supervisors directed its administration to establish a 15-member Advisory Redistricting Commission to hold public hearings, collect community input and recommend updated supervisorial district boundaries.

Each of the five districts is allocated based on population, so that each has nearly the same number of constituents. There are other factors in drawing new boundaries such as topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguousness, compactness of territory and communities of interest.

Over the past decade, legislation such as the California Fair Maps Act has created a ranking for redistricting criteria that must be used in drawing maps, emphasizing keeping together communities of interest. You can find the detailed information on the Fair Maps Act and the redistricting process in the county redistricting manual.

Members of the public are encouraged to provide input, share perspectives and draw their own district maps. For this process to work equitably, we need input from community members with diverse backgrounds throughout Santa Clara County.

The commission is scheduled to meet on Oct. 6, Oct. 13, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27. An additional meeting has been scheduled on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m.

During the redistricting process, community members will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend and speak at the 2021 Advisory Redistricting Commission’s meetings.
  • Complete a community of interest form to tell us about their community.
  • Submit maps electronically describing communities of interest or proposed supervisorial district boundaries.
  • Advocate for the district they want or the district map they prefer.
  • Participate in the joint public hearing with the Board of Supervisors and the Advisory Redistricting Commission
  • Participate in the November and December Board of Supervisors meetings when new maps are considered and adopted

 

To draft maps and shift supervisorial district lines, we need the community’s input to identify communities of interest.  Communities of interest are concentrated populations which share common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of effective and fair representation. You can go to the county’s website and draw your community of interest.

For more information on the county redistricting process, visit www.sccgov.org/2021redistricting.

San José Spotlight columnist Bob Staedler is vice chair of the Santa Clara County 2021 Advisory Redistricting Commission, and a principal at Silicon Valley Synergy, a San Jose-based land use and development consulting firm. His columns appear every first Monday of the month. Contact Bob at [email protected] or follow @BobStaedler on Twitter.

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