San Dieguito board selects three final maps in redistricting process
Final map to be selected at Feb. 17 meeting
What was first billed as a simple map rebalancing and adjustment has morphed into a complex debate, once again splitting the San Dieguito Union High School District board and community members.
As the board continues its California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) redistricting efforts, on Feb. 10 the board narrowed its map choices to three finalists: titled 1C, 7 and 8.
The 1C map remains largely the same as the district’s existing area map while balancing the significant population growth in Pacific Highlands Ranch, keeping feeder districts together. The map would leave two incumbent trustees in Area 4 with none in Area 3.
Maps 7 and 8 re-organize the district into coastal and inland areas, reflecting communities of interest and not necessarily feeder districts. The new map would displace sitting board members and leaves two areas with no current representative.
“When people look at our community, the obvious communities of interest are beach and inland...It makes no sense what we have today, the maps I proposed are much more consistent with communities of interest,” said SDUHSD Vice President Michael Allman of having two beach community areas north and south then three inland community areas.
A final decision on the district’s map is expected at the Feb. 17 board meeting in order to meet a March 1 deadline.
San Dieguito’s task is to adjust its trustee area election maps to reflect new data from the 2020 count, ensuring a balanced population in each area without splitting up a protected class.
The Feb. 10 special board meeting was contentious— President Mo Muir cautioned both Allman and Trustee Julie Bronstein about respecting each other; Allman requested Bronstein be censured for interrupting him while he had the floor; Muir claimed Trustee Katrina Young was “browbeating” the board with her opinion; and Bronstein said she felt the minority board members were being “railroaded” by the majority.
“I’m finding this process frustrating and imperfect,” remarked Clerk Melisse Mossy, who saw the value in both the concept of keeping feeder districts together but also of the proposed new areas reflecting the north coastal’s and south coastal’s unique community cultures. “It’s not just a numbers game, there’s a lot more to this.”
On Feb. 10, the board went into closed session for four hours to have “extensive discussion” on 12 potential map options and when they returned to open session, Allman made a motion on the final maps. Bronstein had requested the board hear first from attorney Milton Foster but Muir said they already heard from him at length in closed session.
Bronstein and Young voted against the inclusion of maps 7 and 8 , which they viewed as a re-drawing of the district that was in conflict with the process they were informed to go through.
According to Foster, to re-draw the map from scratch would require a separate process and county approval, similar to the one they embarked on five years ago when they made the switch from an at-large to by-trustee voting areas.
Young said the map options 7 and 8 seemed like gerrymandering, “fragmenting and diluting the voice of the communities they serve.”
She moved to include map 1C in the final options, which was accepted by the board in a 5-0 vote.
“(Map 1C) maintains the integrity of what we currently have, there’s no sudden moves or re-creating the wheel, it’s more just making sure that everything is balanced properly,” Bronstein said.
Opponents of map 1C have said they believe it to be gerrymandered in favor of the San Dieguito Faculty Association interests.
To view the map options, visit the CVRA tab on sduhsd.net.
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