OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside City Council wrapped up its redistricting efforts on March 9 after its final vote on a new, population-balanced map of its four electoral districts.
The city started its redistricting process in January following the release of the 2020 U.S. Census data, which determined that the city’s current council districts had fallen out of balance in terms of population.
To prevent having districts that are too large or too small, districts can only have either a negative or positive 5% population variance between each other. Based on the 2020 Census data, District 1 had fallen behind the other districts with a -8.82% population variance. Because of this drop in population, the city needed to move more neighborhoods into District 1 for better balance.
With the final, approved map, the variance in District 1 will only be -0.11% of the ideal population. District 2 will have a 0.22% variance, District 3 will have a 3.66% variance and District 4 will have a -3.78% variance.
The border between Districts 1 and 3 shifted from Oceanside Boulevard to the Sprinter railroad tracks in order to maintain a census block, which cannot be broken as required by law, and to shift some of District 3’s population into District 1 for better balance.
Some community members of the city’s mobile home parks were concerned about certain parks being split or moved out of their current districts. Cavalier Mobile Estates and La Salina Mobile Village remained together in District 3, while Pacific Trailer Park was absorbed into District 1 despite its proximity to the other two parks.
District 1 will also extend to Ivey Ranch Road instead of its previous Rancho Del Oro boundary.
An additional, longer peninsula of land was also added to District 1 at the city’s northernmost border to keep another neighborhood around Rivertree Drive together in the same district. The neighborhood was previously split between Districts 1 and 2.
Demographics between the changed districts have not changed much from before either, according to city staff.
Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez believes the mobile home parks will fare better spread out throughout multiple districts rather than kept all together in the same district, which would increase their power of vote with more city council members representing them.
“If they’re all crowded in one district, it dilutes the vote of the mobile home community,” Rodriguez said.
Councilmember Kori Jensen agreed.
“All it takes is three votes,” Jensen said.
Because there are five members on the City Council, at least three votes in favor are required to pass ordinances and resolutions.
Mayor Esther Sanchez noted that she would have preferred one of the other two of three total draft maps presented to the City Council for consideration, but she was outvoted at the previous council meeting that decided on the finalist map. This time, she gave the finalist map her approval.
“This is the map for the next 10 years until the next census,” the mayor said. “I believe oceanside will be changing a lot within the next 10 years, but certainly this map is going to serve us well.”