After weeks of heated debate and threats of lawsuits the nine-member San Francisco Redistricting Task Force adopted a final draft map for supervisorial districts last month. Under the plan Bayview, Dogpatch and Potrero Hill will remain in District 10. The Tenderloin, formerly in District 6, will shift to District 5, alongside the Haight. Mission Bay is split between Districts 10 and 6 at Chase Center. The map will define November election boundaries for the District 6 seat formerly held by District 17 California Assemblymember Matt Haney.
Portions of the Tenderloin and South-of-Market encompass the “Transgender District,” which advocates wanted to remain in the same district under the theory that minority communities achieve greater political power if they can vote as a block. The Task Force was required to adhere to the Voting Rights Act, which seeks to protect the influence of minorities and vulnerable groups.
“Approximately 30 community members met with the Task Force every Saturday at the Potrero Hill or Bayview Branch Library between February and April. We advised members on how to draw a map that would keep historical voting blocks together. The Task Force needed to listen to us more,” said Cheryl Thornton, a Bayview resident who serves as a youth advisor for the NAACP’s San Francisco branch.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years to modify the political boundaries of supervisorial districts as needed to sync with revised population data.
“If we all had not stood up for what was right, to keep Bayview with Potrero Hill and not to divide the Mission, they would have screwed all of us,” said Uzuri Pease-Greene, a Hill resident. “With this map, they just screw half the people, which is really sad. Separating the Tenderloin from SoMa has an effect on funding. There were other maps presented that would have made nearly everyone happy.”
Geoffrea Morris, granddaughter of civil rights advocate Charlie Walker, said the new map pits vulnerable citizens against each other while the City’s west side “just watches.”
According to Kevin Ortiz, vice president of political affairs for the San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club, real estate speculation influenced the process.
“This is why Mary Jung, government affairs and community relations director for the San Francisco Association of Realtors, was present at earlier Task Force meetings. The current iteration of the map makes the districts more conservative and more white. It’s really kind of a mess,” said Ortiz.
Task Force Chair Reverend Arnold Townsend and members Lily Ho, Chasel Lee, Ditka Reiner, and Matthew Castillon supported the map. Raynell Cooper, José María (Chema) Hernandez Gil, Jeremy Lee, and J. Michelle Pierce voted against it. Castillon, Ho, and Townsend were appointed by Mayor London Breed; Cooper, Chasel Lee, and Reiner by the City Elections Commission; Gil, Jeremy Lee, and Pierce by the Board of Supervisors.