CARLSBAD — The City of Carlsbad Independent Redistricting Commission voted to provide their preferences on the different draft maps during its Jan. 13 meeting submitted from the public through Jan. 3.
Residents submitted 60 maps in total, although 18 were either withdrawn or dismissed for non-compliance. After more than two hours of intense discussion, the commission opted for each commissioner to select two to four maps.
However, Commissioner Gretchen Ashton declined to pick a set of maps, spending much of her time lobbying to give residents more time to submit maps since there was a delay in census data due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ashton argued for another meeting to give residents an extra week, but the commission wanted to move forward. Commissioner Aaron Harris said he wanted the commission to whittle down the maps to only include those, or future ones submitted, with only four coastal districts.
The commission reconvenes at 4 p.m. Jan. 27.
“The easiest way to do this is to just vote on how many coastal districts we want,” Harris said. “This will give us better guidance going forward. We need to take in the correspondence and public input we’ve received.”
Of the total maps submitted, 22 were with two coastal districts and 14 with four coastal districts, while the rest were one and three.
As for the public, most of those who submitted letters or spoke to the commission also lobbied for four coastal districts and urged small tweaks to the current maps. Many on the commission agreed, and some previously said they preferred four coastal districts.
The commission, though, engaged in a lengthy debate about moving forward. Ashton was adamant about adding a meeting between Jan. 17 and Feb. 17 (the final scheduled meeting) to allow the public more time to submit maps.
However, scheduling a meeting was “easier said than done,” City Attorney Cindie McMahon said, noting she and City Clerk Services Manager Faviola Medina have other responsibilities that cannot be easily moved.
Still, Ashton was not willing to move in line with the rest of the commission. As a result, chairman Michael Fabiano suggested each commissioner pick two to four maps.
The caveat, though, was the commission still urges residents to submit maps before the Jan. 27 or Feb. 17 meetings.
“Yes, we have a timeline … but that doesn’t mean we have to shortchange our public,” Ashton said. “Coastal districts are arbitrary, why would we do that? Why would we say we don’t want to consider two coastal districts?”
In total, the commissioners selected 14 maps of varying coastal districts. Like Harris, though, other commissioners such as Gayle Cadwallader and Nancy Arndt preferred four coastal districts.
Once the maps were selected, the commission also directed the city’s contracted demographer, Shannon Kelly of the National Demographics Corporation, to look at some adjustments, specifically to District 1.
Arndt asked for a map boundary to run from the coast, along Tamarack Avenue and continue east to College Avenue near state Route 78. She said she preferred residents south of Tamarack Avenue to be in District 2.
Note: The author is an alternate and non-voting member of the commission. He submitted a map, although it was not selected during the Jan. 13 meeting.