The San Jose City Council made official a proposed plan for redrawing council district boundaries with an 11-1 vote and criticism from Councilman Pete Constant.
The Redistricting Advisory Commission, a committee of volunteers representing each district, offered the council a plan the commission had approved in May that equalizes the populations in the districts to within 9.7 percent of the 95,621 target. The plan, which was created during three months and 16 public meetings, resulted in about 22,000 people being shifted into new districts.
The redistricting process is undertaken every 10 years after Census data is released in an attempt to keep district populations similar. The advisory commission’s mission was to find ways to increase the populations of Districts 1, 9 and 10 while lowering populations for Districts 4, 6 and 8. Districts 2, 3, 5 and 7 met population requirements, but the approved plan changes boundaries in all but District 5.
Before the vote on August 23, most council members expressed gratitude and relief that the changes in boundary lines were not severe. Constant, who represents District 1 in West San Jose, was happy with the changes in his district, but thought the commission could have achieved a tighter deviation overall.
“I don’t think we’ve achieved the best redistricting we can,” Constant said before casting his “no” vote. “I really think we’re making it much more difficult for the redistricting commission that’s going to deal with this in 10 years.”
Commission Chairman Rich De La Rosa agreed, but said the commission was constrained by guidelines given to them by the council and swayed by testimony from the public.
“I think we could have gotten to 1 percent (deviation),” said Commissioner Dave Fadness. “We have the technology, we have the staff. We could have done this, but it came down to politics and that’s unfortunate. “
Mayor Chuck Reed said none of the direction given to the commission said the districts had to be equal or that this commission had to make it easy for the next one.
“You got the job done within the framework and guidelines we gave you,” Reed said.