Carpinteria City Council Chooses Between Four Potential District Maps

Council Votes 3-2 to Move Forward with Drafted Plans Despite Questions About ‘Zig-Zag’ Boundaries

Credit: Courtesy

Carpinteria is on course to choose its final redistricting map on March 28, and the City Council chose between four potential draft plans at its latest meeting Monday, opting for “Plan A2,” despite questions over the map’s winding boundaries that at least one councilmember feared could be seen as an attempt at gerrymandering.

In what was the fourth out of five public hearings on the matter, the council voted 3-2 in favor of the plan, with Councilmember Natalia Alarcon and Vice Mayor Al Clark dissenting. The plan drew support from the public for its ideal distribution between demographics, but Clark questioned the lines between two districts, which he said had “curlicues and zig-zags that frankly look like gerrymandering.”

Clark said he was originally in favor of the map, but upon deeper inspection he felt that there were some boundaries that seemed to wind and skip suspiciously.  He floated the idea of keeping the same general lines — especially its three pro-Latino districts — but tightening up the borders to clear up any confusion.

Alarcon wondered why the map they were opting for also had the highest population deviation, which measures how different the range of population is between districts; their chosen plan had the highest deviation rate among the four options, and fell just below the minimum of 10 percent.

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Councilmember Roy Lee didn’t think there needed to be any changes, especially since the draft plan had received public support. “I like A2 but I like it the way it is,” he said. “I don’t see any gerrymandering at all.”

The draft plans are a culmination of a collaborative effort that included maps drawn and submitted by members of the public, presented and tinkered with until the city narrowed down the options to the four presented at Monday’s City Council meeting.

There is still time for amendments to the map, but a final version must be posted seven days before the official adoption at the March 28 meeting. In order to have the districts implemented in time for the November 2022 election, the city must officially approve the map, number the districts, and decide the sequencing of elections. Under the current proposed boundaries, none of the current councilmembers would be forced to run against each other, with each falling into a separate district.

Carpinteria has operated with an at-large election system since 1965, and the 2022 election will be the first time that each district will select its own councilmember.

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