The process for redistricting districts after the 2020 Census has begun, even though census data has been delayed. The City announced a series of upcoming public in-person workshops, an effort led by the Chula Vista Redistricting Commission.
Chula Vista Redistricting Commission Chair Gloria Hurtado said this is the first round of public meetings in the redistricting process. She said the process began with the appointment of the Commission and its order was to select the demographer and outreach agency for the process. On March 16 the city council hired the commission’s recommendations with National Demographics Corporation as the demographer, and Southwest Strategies, LLC as the public outreach consultant.
“The public outreach it is going to be a bit different because of COVID,” said Hurtado. “This is an opportunity to hear from the public on their thoughts on the council districts and the council districts boundaries.”
Hurtado said the basweline is the existing four districts, but with new Census data hopefully coming in a the end of September, there will be some shifts, especially in the new growth areas. She said National received some early numbers to begin with to begin and adjust when the Census data is received. National will draw the maps beginning with the current district map, adjusting as public input comes in, giving people a chance to utilize software to place their input. Hurtado said Southwest will calculate the numbers to see where adjustments need to be made trying to keep the districts as equal as possible. But she said, the public input is needed to create these maps. Southwest will facilitate the public meetings.
“We want to hear people’s opinions on the current districts, what shifts might take place, communities of interest to make sure that if we can, we keep those communities of interest intact,” she said. “Communities of interest would be like downtown businesses, different ethnic communities, and neighborhood communities. Our job is to ensure that we are unbiased and do the best job allowing for good representation across the community.”
Hurtado retired in Chula Vista over two years ago wanting to live closer to family. She said when she saw that the city needed volunteers for the commission, she thought it would be a great way to get involved with the city. Hurtado has 30 years of experience working for local government, with her last job being deputing city manager for the city of Santa Rosa, CA. “While in Santa Rosa, we moved from an at-large to a district election, so I had experience creating council districts. It is always an interesting process,” she said.
Hurtado said as volunteers, the job of the Commission, based on the new Census data, is to redraw the district lines, which will stay in affect for the next 10 years until the next Census.
“We all live within Chula Vista in different parts of the city. We were vetted by another commission, and they selected four people, and then we selected the last three out of all the people that had applied,” she said.
Hurtado said though it was not a requirement to have every district represented, but that in the selection process it worked out that each district is represented, and that the Commission is diverse, which was important to them as a body.
After the data is received, the Commission will engage through another series of workshops with the public to recommend changes or revisions to council district boundaries. Results will be brought to the Chula Vista City Council for approval in December 2021 and new district boundaries will be implemented in 2022.
For more information visit, www.ChulaVistaCA.gov/redistricting.