San Diego | San Diego County
Dennis Ridz, Chair, Torrey Pines Community Planning Board
Following the 2010 census, San Diego City Council districts will be redrawn to equalize represented populations. But last year’s ballot measure related to the Strong Mayor form of government created a new ninth council district, causing a possible ‘sea change’ in the everyday life of many San Diego constituents including residents in Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Terrace and Carmel Valley. This radical transformation of government also created an independent redistricting committee selected by a panel of retired judges. It will have the final say on what the City of San Diego’s representation will look like without final approval from either the City Council or the Mayor.
Interestingly Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s District 1 that includes the Heights, Terrace and Carmel Valley (all partners with Del Mar in many areas of mutual interest including the Cal-Trans I-5 expansion and the Fairgrounds Master Plan) has no representative on this committee. Many groups have presented their redistricting proposals to the committee. One of the submitted proposals would place La Jolla, where Councilmember Lightner lives, in another District breaking up established relationships between local planning boards and city governments and creating a steep learning curve for a new council member.
As a result, a working coalition of communities in District 1 is supporting a “Coast to Canyon” plan in an effort to keep working relationships intact. The Torrey Pines Planning Board, the Carmel Valley Planning Board and La Jolla Town Council are supporting a “Coast to Canyon” plan that aligns our communities with Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, and University City within District 1. By reassigning the more easterly communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Black Mountain Ranch, and Torrey Highlands to another council district with similar “communities of interest,” we feel the census goal of approximately equal Council districts will be achieved and existing relationships maintained.
It is unclear what the final realignment of District 1 and the creation of District 9 will look like other than very different than today’s map. The bigger issue is should a committee of seven with no true oversight have this much power? Do the special interest groups involved in this process speak for us all? If we don’t like the results our only option is another ballot measure to overturn the committee’s mapping. Keep tuned to the Committee’s next step: their draft proposal!