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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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News + PoliticsThe new draft district supes maps: WTF?

The new draft district supes maps: WTF?

Critics—and there are plenty—say the plan would undermine LGBT, Black, and progressive representation on the board.

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The San Francisco Redistricting Task Force just published its first draft of a map for new supervisorial districts, and the general response I am hearing is: Huh?

Or better: WTF?

A whole lot of changes that seem more political than necessary.

The challenge facing the task force isn’t all that difficult. Districts 2, 5, 8, 9, and 11 have not seen much in the way of population changes, which means the districts in the center of the city don’t need to change much.

Districts 1, 3, 4, and 7 have to grow in geographic size to make up for comparative population declines, and 6 and 10 have to shrink.

It’s entirely possible to make a map that preserves the current communities of interest and makes minor adjustments around the edges.

That’s not what the task force has done.

“It’s absurd,” Sup. Aaron Peskin told me. “It would certainly appear that are playing politics.”

Peskin will be termed out in two years anyway, and won’t have to run from the new, reconfigured D3.

Among the most significant changes:

District 8 would move west into areas that are now in D7—and would lose the Duboce Park area, which would move into D5.

“It will be a much straighter and more conservative district,” Sup. Rafael Mandelman, who currently represents D8, told me. “This district has reliably elected and LGBGT person since Harvey Milk and the first days of district elections, but I don’t think that would be the case any more.”

Parts of the very conservative Lake Street/Seacliff area would move into D1, making what is now a district that progressives have won in a serious of very close races more likely to favor a conservative.

District 6, much smaller geographically, will now include The Hub, the area around Van Ness and Market that is filling up with luxury condos (including very little affordable housing).

Parts of North Beach move out of D3 and into D2, which is just strange.

District 10 would lose parts of Vis Valley and move all the way north to include Mission Bay, which is much whiter and richer.

It adds some very conservative districts south of Sloat to D4.

It separates Japantown from the Western Addition.

In other words: A lot of changes that really weren’t necessary and could make it more difficult for Black, LGBT, and overall progressive candidates to win representation on the board.

This is the community map.

SF Rising and other community groups have proposed a Unity Map, above, that makes far less profound changes and keeps intact most communities of interest. It also is just a draft, which will change as community input and discussion continues.

This is how the community alternative deals with communities of interest.

Again, what the task force put out is a first draft. There will be hearing and discussion.

“I have been through this three times, and up until now everybody tried to play by the book,” Peskin told me. “If they approve this, I suspect they will wind up in front of a judge.”

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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