The city of Santa Rosa is undergoing another redistricting effort; it’s required to adopt new political maps following results of the US census. City officials spoke this week with a mapping expert about potential new lines.
For years Santa Rosa residents elected their city council representatives on a city-wide basis. That all changed in 2018 when the city transitioned to a district-based election system. With new numbers from the 2020 US census, Santa Rosa is compelled to redraw those district lines. Under California’s 2019 FAIR Maps Act that process has been brought into public view.
Sophia Garcia is a Geographic Information System expert from Redistricting Partners, whom the city hired to guide the process.
“Under the Fair Maps Act these are the criteria or best practices that we use,” Garcia told the Santa Rosa city council. “The first one is districts of relatively equal size. We look at districts that are contiguous, maintaining communities of interest, and then finally looking at districts to keep them compact. We really believe that this is a publicly driven process and that there should be multiple ways to engage under that first criteria.”
Under state law, each district must be within a population difference of under ten percent.
“Currently with your existing lines, you are at 20.6,” Garcia said.
Garcia presented the city council with three draft maps. Developed by Redistricting Partners with input from residents, the three maps follow roughly along the current neighborhood and community groupings. Residents can still submit draft maps before final selection at the council meeting on March 29. Maps can be submitted online at the city website using the DistrictR web tool or in person on February 17 at Santa Rosa’s Finley Community Center.