Preliminary redistricting map approval a blow to Asian Pacific Islanders

The city's redistricting commission met on Thursday and approved a preliminary map for City Council districts, including a new 9th council district.

The commission settled on what's called “The July 19 Plan.”

This is not the final map, it can still be changed or modified at public hearing scheduled to begin next week.

The July 19 plan places the boundaries for the new 9th council district as running from the College area down to Southcrest with I-15 as the southwestern boundary.

This would include Kensington, Chollas Creek, Mt. Hope, Mountain View, Rolando, Talmadge, and Fox Canyon.

The district is 50 percent Hispanic so it partly satisfies the push for a second Latino district.

But, the map is a blow to the Asian Pacific Islanders, or APAC.

“We are very disappointed with the commission regarding the proposed council map and are deeply concerned,” said Cindy Chan of the Asian Pacific Island Association.

The population growth in the last 10 years has been in the northern part of the city, up in Kearny Mesa, Rancho Penasquitos and Mira Mesa. The Asian Pacific Islanders are now 17 percent of the population in the city but they have no representation on the City Council.

APAC failed to get a seat in 2001 but with the population growth, and the re-uniting of Rancho Penasquitos and Mira Mesa, this was to be their best chance.

But communities of interest, a major factor in drawing lines, took a back seat.

“You cannot push aside a certain group, or splitting a minority group like what's (happening) right now, and that's why voting rights for citizens are a major concern in the process,” said Dr. Allen Chan of the Asian Pacific Island Association.

The commission also split Little Italy and the airport from Downtown, and split the College area on both sides of Interstate 8.

Meantime, APAC has hired a legal team to bolster its case before the commission.

“Our legal counsel is studying all the documents that we have presented and all that's going on in the commission for further action,” Dr. Chan said.

There is still time for APAC to sway the commission, but major changes are unlikely.

“We're asking the commission to please not defer and deny Asian representation in the city for another 10 years,” said Cindy Chan.

“I don't want to see 10 years from now I have to bring my grandchildren to the redistricting commission and asking for the same thing again,” Dr. Chan said.

Asian Pacific Islanders are 17 percent of the population.  By contrast, African Americans are 6.2 percent, and the LGBT community is 4.8 percent.   Both groups are represented on the council.

The public will have a chance to comment on this preliminary map over the course of five public hearings. The first of which is next week. The final map isn't due until the latter part of next month.

Categories: KUSI