ENCINITAS — After a robust process with very little public controversy, the Encinitas City Council adopted its new district map Wednesday night, opting for minimal changes to the previous map.
Following the 2020 census, all jurisdictions were required to look at their electoral maps in relation to the new population data and make changes to bring the map into balance if needed.
The previous map, adopted in 2017, was found to still be compliant based on established Supreme Court case law but the city opted to make small changes to the map.
In a unanimous vote, the council approved map 69847e as its new electoral map for the next 10 years. The city will submit its new map over a month before the statutory deadline of April 17.
“I support (the map) because it has the lightest touch,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “This map causes the least amount of displacement so to me it seems like this one has the lightest touch.”
From the beginning of the process, the council spoke on making minimal changes to the current map and it appears to have done so with the approved map Wednesday night.
Olivenhain Town Council President Mark Mayer spoke in support of a different map prior to council discussion, map 69847c, but told the council the difference between the two was negligible to them.
“We’re kind of splitting hairs here,” Mayer said. “I don’t think it’s a huge issue for us.”
The public hearing on the maps was the fourth in the redistricting process for the city. All of the discussion of the maps has occurred in public sessions.
In the end, the city opted for a map that is almost identical to the map it has used since 2017.
“We have seen some other jurisdictions in our community create quite a bit of upheaval with their redistricting process and I certainly wanted to avoid that,” Councilmember Tony Kranz said.
After the city’s last public hearing on redistricting in January, there were other maps submitted that were eligible for consideration. The maps were viewed by the city council Wednesday night with neither gaining traction.
“Unfortunately both of the late add maps split Old Encinitas and Leucadia in ways I don’t think are acceptable,” Kranz said.
Generally, when it comes to electoral maps the rule of thumb is a total deviation of under 10% from the ideal district population. The previous map, based on the new census data, had a total deviation of 9.69%, just below the guideline.
The newly adopted map will have a total deviation of 7.45%.
“I want to recognize that this has been a remarkably controversy-free process,” Blakespear said. “I appreciate all the maps that were submitted and it seems like people were largely happy basically with the districts we have because this is very similar to what we have and it of course makes the population more equal among the districts.”
The new map will be the one used for incoming council elections later this year and, barring a major change in attitudes on the council, will remain the city’s electoral map for at least the next 10 years.