I have watched some of the long meetings of the Redistricting Task Force. I have followed as a growing number of organizations, including the League of Women Voters, hardly a radical group, have taken stands against the new lines.
And it’s becoming increasingly clear that almost nobody, except Mayor London Breed, likes the direction the new lines are going.
This is an example of what the mayor’s allies want:
This is a radical departure from the past, when the Task Force has listened to public input, worked to forge consensus, and created very little controversy.
On Wednesday, a broad coalition of LGBTQ groups, including both the Harvey Milk Club and the Alice B. Toklas Club, which are at odds on the state Assembly race (and have disagreed on plenty of other issues), denounced the move to take the Tenderloin out of D6:
The process of redistricting has the potential to alter the fabric of our communities for the next decade—communities that are already crippling under intense pressure from development interests in the city. The Tenderloin represents one of the last vestiges of housing affordability, socio-economic and racial diversity, trans and queer cultural heritage, and a dense concentration of legacy businesses that have been long-lasting community centers for all of San Francisco. Keeping the Tenderloin and SOMA together in District 6 is an urgent and imperative matter—one that if not defended, could displace vulnerable communities that are already fleeing San Francisco at alarming rates,” said Jupiter Peraza, Director of Social Justice and Empowerment Initiatives at The Transgender District.
LGBTQ people are not accurately or adequately counted in the Census. The Redistricting Task Force has to do more to listen and engage with queer and trans people to keep our communities intact. We refuse to be divided, diminished, or disempowered, and the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Demcoratic Club stands united with every other LGBTQ organization calling for this. Harvey Milk was only able to become the first LGBTQ person elected to public office in California because of District elections. These lines matter, and we will not be silent or go backwards,” said Edward Wright, President of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club.
The Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club is thankful for the efforts the Redistricting Task Force has done, and continues to do, in balancing various community needs and voices throughout San Francisco. However, our struggles in the LGBTQ community are far from over – in fact, we’ve seen attacks on our community increase nationwide over the last several years. Locally, our representation on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is at a historic low, with only one openly gay member. We stand united with the Tenderloin and SoMa LGBTQ communities in ensuring our voices and power are not diluted between two separate districts,” stated Gary McCoy, Senior Co-Chair, Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club.
The next day, the Asian Pacific Islander Council held an event opposing the new lines:
Racial justice in our city relies on dismantling barriers to an inclusive democracy – and we cannot risk failing to embed these values in redistricting. Nearly 43 percent of San Francisco residents speak a language other than English at home. We call on the Task Force to take urgent action and make improvements that recognize and respect the input of all residents, no matter what language we use,” said Aarti Kohli, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Asian Law Caucus.
Additionally, there are dire concerns about that trajectory of District 6 where Filipino-American communities are organizing to uplift concerns.
Dividing existing communities obliterates the voting power of marginalized communities; this is where the Redistricting Task Force is taking the South of Market and the Tenderloin,” said Luisa Antonio, Executive Director, Bayanihan Equity Center.
Again: We have never seen this before. Mayor London Breed is the only mayor since the dawn of district elections who has overseen—and I am reliably told—directed, the most divisive redistricting process in history.
A broad coalition of community groups opposed to the direction the Task Force is taking will rally at City Hall Saturday/2 at 9:30am. The Task Force will meet at 10am, and continue the process of drawing lines that must be finalized by April 15.
The coalition is promoting the Community Unity Map, which reflects a really, really broad consensus of how the new lines should be drawn, all of it completely in line with the City Charter.
I don’t know if the Task Force, which appears to be controlled by Breed’s allies, even cares. I do know that this is a type of gerrymandering that Democrats denounce all over the country.
And it’s happening right here in SF.