Some in Pacific Beach Not Happy With Redistricting Map: Want to Keep PB Together With Mission Beach and Mission Bay

by on November 29, 2021 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Some folks in Pacific Beach are not happy with the latest redistricting map being proposed for the new boundaries of San Diego’s council districts.

Specifically, they are not pleased with the prospect of being separated off from Mission Bay and Mission Beach and being attached to La Jolla in District 1. They are also very against any map that divides Pacific Beach up into different council districts.

Currently, PB sits in Council District 2, along with Mission Beach, OB, the Peninsula and western Clairemont. An article in the PB Monthly reported on the problems with the current District 2 boundaries:

Although the district’s population increased by 3.3 percent in the 2020 census, it fell short of the target 154,000 residents per district by 4.5 percent.

Five criteria guide the redistricting process: the districts must be contiguous, geographically compact, share common interests, use physical boundaries such as canyons or interstate highways, and have equal population within a 2 percent margin.

The commission considered six previous maps before voting 7-2 to approve the final preliminary map that consolidates the approximately 80,000 residents of Clairemont into District 2, thereby sending the 45,000 Pacific Beach residents into District 1.

Opposition to the redistricting map was expressed during the November 17 meeting of the PB Town Council. Town Council member Eve Anderson expressed her concerns that issues such as homelessness, which PB shares with the other beach communities in District 2, will get short shrift in a district dominated by the more affluent and influential La Jolla community, where such problems aren’t prevalent. Anderson was quoted:

“La Jolla is going to rule. We’re going to be the orphans. We’re the people who have ‘those’ kinds of problems, like lots of homeless and all the other things. … So we’re going to be kind of the poor folks at the end of the line.”

People at the meeting were adamant that PB stayed together in one district. This concept, however, is reportedly being challenged by a group called “D1 United.” The PB Monthly explained:

PB Town Council President Marcella Bothwell read from a Nov. 16 La Jolla Light article in which the group proposed “tweaking” the adopted preliminary map by adding the territory north of Grand Avenue to District 1, thereby keeping La Jolla in tact by dividing Pacific Beach.

“These minor tweaks, they affect us a lot; completely divides our community,” Bothwell said. “The whole idea was to unite Clairemont, unite Linda Vista, unite; and then to just divide us in half. I can’t imagine.”

Council member Jim Marshall expressed outrage, suggesting the concept was akin to turning PB into an accessory for La Jolla. “What they’re looking to do is have a Baja La Jolla included in La Jolla,” he said. “It’s absurd.”

“I still think with La Jollans in charge, we’re going to lose and I don’t see a way out of that one,” added Anderson. “But we’ll lose big time if we’re divided in half. I’m not looking forward to being part of them. That may sound awful, but I’m trying to be practical. … Having observed La Jollans, I don’t want to get stepped on.”

Debate at the meeting also was focused on how PB could remain in District 2 and that Mission Bay and Mission Beach needed to be included with PB.

“We have to include Mission Bay,” said council Treasurer Denise Friedman. “We’re talking about land. We’re not talking about population. Mission Bay is us, not Clairemont.”

However, Karl Rand, PBTC vice president and chair of the PB Planning Group cautioned those at the meeting that the redistricting process was too far advanced, and the deadline fast approaching, for the commission to reconsider its final preliminary map. He was quoted:

“There might be prior maps or other maps that we would have preferred, but we’re past that stage. You can’t go back to a whole completely different map. … The current map is acceptable. It’s not ideal because we’re split from Mission Beach. But it’s acceptable because it keeps us whole.”

Rand also commented on the current preliminary map:

“The Clairemont people want to have District 2, and they kind of want to separate from Pacific Beach and then have the Peninsula and all that. So this is kind of their map.”

PB Monthly:

The council agreed to blitz the commission with emails and phone calls in order to make the members’ position clear. Most importantly, residents were encouraged to attend the remaining public meetings in droves.

“We need to speak up with lots of people doing two-minute comments, not trying to do a group presentation,” Friedman said. “It’s far more powerful if you have 20, 30, 40 people say you can’t divide our community.”

Bothwell said she would write a template letter that residents could cut and paste into their messages to the commission. The template will be available on the town council’s Facebook page.

“We could all just bounce that same message off the same people over and over again and repeat it endlessly,” said council member Iain Richardson. “I think that may be helpful if that’s where we want to end up, which is to keep PB together, support the current tentative map and resist anyone’s attempt to subdivide PB.”

PBTC president Marcella Bothwell wrote a letter to the independent nine-member redistricting commission. Here’s an excerpt:

“We strongly oppose any map that divides us between districts. We do have a small ask that Mission Beach planning area be included with Pacific Beach in District 1. Pacific Beach and Mission Beach have long been contiguous and have worked closely together on many issues. The stewardship of Mission Bay by both Pacific and Mission Beach residents is vital for the well-being of Mission Bay. So we respectfully request that Mission Bay be included in District 1 with us so we may continue our important work.”

Lora Fleming, chief of staff for the San Diego Redistricting Commission, reported:

“On Nov. 13, the commission voted 7-2 to approve Map 74956 as the Preliminary Map submitted to the City Clerk on Nov. 15. Once the preliminary map was approved, that triggered another five public-input meetings. The commission has heard from thousands of residents throughout the city, and we expect public participation to remain high in the final half dozen meetings.”

“The Redistricting Commission will vote on the final map on Dec. 15. The commission is completely independent, so the City Council and mayor do not have the authority to approve or reject the plan. This is the time for residents to suggest minor and major changes to the preliminary map.”



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