San Francisco Redistricting …

by on January 23, 2012

To the Editor:

Appreciated some of the common sense observations and solutions you proposed in your article about San Francisco Redistricting. You were confused, however, in your discussion of District 11.

While it is true that District 10 needs to lose population, the same applies to District 11, only more so. Currently, its population is 8.64% above the mean (73,203 people). To be in compliance with the City Charter regarding equal population, it must lose at least a net of 3.64% or more likely a net of 7.64% of its population. Thus, rather than adding any of the Portola to the District, it may need to add a few blocks near the blue water tower to the Portola, plus tweaking along the edges of the district to come within compliance. The only addition being advocated by D11 advocates and others, is Precinct 2008 in D10 which if added to D11 would make the Crocker Amazon whole.

Contrary to your final paragraph, the current visualization should not be fine-tuned, but scrapped. There was a saying in Sacramento (when I worked for the State Senate in from 1983-1986) that a bad bill should not be amended, but killed.

There are three options to solving the City’s redistricting puzzle, and as David Pilpel said (although I disagree with his choice) center around unifying the Portola District and moving it so that all of the neighborhood is in either District 11, 9, or 10. Pilpel supports the movement into D11, but that creates an adverse ripple effect that would transfer the OMI to D7, and parts of D7 into D8 and D4.

Moving the remaining 40% of the Portola into D9 would make D9 less progressive, and thwart the unification of the North Inner Mission with the Inner Mission. The line could be moved back to the 1995 boundary of 17th, though. The political consequence in D10, though, is that the district would be less Asian and more dominated by Potrero Hill, so that Supervisor Cohen would have more difficulty in being reelected in 2014, or any African American elected in 2018 when she is termed out, and it would likely be represented by a white progressive from Potrero Hill. So much for diversity.

The third alternative of moving the Portola to D10 makes a lot of sense. 75% of the Portola was in D10 when the 1995 lines were drawn, and currently 40% of the neighborhood is in D10. The Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace, and Portola Terrace neighborhoods in D10 are already heavily Asian, and there is a community of interest between the Asian community east of the Excelsior/Portola boundary along San Bruno Avenue and 3rd Street more so than there is with D11. This would create a ripple effect, which would cause the transfer of Potrero Hill and Dog Patch into D6, and the North Inner Mission to the Inner Mission.

To balance for population in District 6, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island and Rincon Hill/Transbay Terminal should be transferred to D3, the western boundary shifted from Gough or Laguna to Van Ness (as under Visualization 7), and making the tweaks that you proposed in your article north of the Central Freeway. The other salutory effect is that six districts other than tweaking for equal population and making neighborhoods intact which were divided in
1995 or particularly in 2002, can be kept largely intact.


Christopher L. Bowman
San Francisco

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