By a 5-4 vote, the Redistricting Task Force adopted a final map today that will determine the city’s supervisorial districts for the next ten years.
The new map is effective today, according to a deputy city attorney advising the task force. Task Force members appointed by the Board of Supervisors—José María Hernandez Gil, Jeremy Lee, and J. Michelle Pierce—along with Elections Commission appointee Raynell Cooper, voted against the final map.
The most important and controversial change to the map moves the Tenderloin neighborhood from District 6 to District 5. Additionally:
- Neighborhoods south of the Presidio, including Seacliff, are moved to District 1
- The Lakeshore and Merced Manor neighborhoods are moved to District 4
- More of Russian Hill is brought into District 3
- The Inner Sunset is moved to District 7, among other changes.
Even after 100-plus hours of public comment throughout this process, San Franciscans still had more to say, with sharp disagreements in particular over where to place the Tenderloin and Portola. Virtually all the speakers were critical of the redistricting process, which dragged past a deadline of April 15 mandated in the city charter.
Here’s what key task force members had to say moments before the vote:
Supervisors’ appointee José María Hernandez Gil criticized the final map as a product of “intentional gerrymandering” that “dilutes the power of many vulnerable communities of interest.” He also predicted the map would face legal challenges.
Elections Commission appointee Raynell Cooper commented that while most of the process “met the overall bar of public input,” he described the decision to move the Tenderloin as “unexplained, and indefensible” and said that the shift is “a central choice of this map which remains not appropriate based on public input.”
Elections Commission appointee Chasel Lee voiced regret over issues around the Asian community in Portola and Visitacion Valley, which remains divided between two districts. “The high horse looks less impressive from south of 280,” Lee said. “These divisions have always existed…government chose to not see these divisions for the longest time.” He nevertheless described the final map “as a normative decision” in the end.
Mayoral appointee Lily Ho criticized the divisive language used by some task force members and activists. “This process did not have to come to such hostility. I’ve never seen more racial crap than in this process… the map is painful to me as well. Portola continues to be disenfranchised. We have done the best we could.”
Supervisors’ appointee J. Michelle Pierce, who is also Executive Director at Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, defended the sentiment behind the divisive language used by some in the process. “The vitriol is because we are under threat and being pushed out. People are lashing out because they are terrified.”
Chair and San Francisco NAACP Vice-President Arnold Townsend defended his support for moving the Tenderloin to District 5, noting what he saw as continued and inevitable dilution of the African American community in District 10 by development. “You’re all trying to grow; we’re just trying to stay here,'' said Townsend. “As far as San Francisco is concerned, Black people are inconvenient.”
Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected]