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San Dieguito district map proposal known as Scenario 1C
A portion of a proposed district electoral map, known as "Scenario 1C," for the San Dieguito Union High School District. See full map below. Courtesy graphic
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San Dieguito trustees squabble over district map finalists

ENCINITAS — When the San Dieguito Union High School District began its redistricting process last month, many expected only a few minor adjustments to the trustee areas. 

But the school board recently selected three maps with significant changes to the school district’s previous electoral boundaries, prompting a clash over gerrymandering concerns and a possible union lawsuit. 

During a special meeting on Thursday afternoon, the board approved three district maps as finalists, two of which — Scenario 7 and Scenario 8 would leave both Trustee Area 2 and Trustee Area 4 without an elected representative. 

The third map, Scenario 1C, leaves Trustee Area 3 without an elected representative.  

In addition to the displacement of multiple trustees, two maps (Scenario 7 and Scenario 8) swap Trustee Area 1, previously on the northern coast of the district, and Trustee Area 2, the northern inland part of the district, but the reason for the change is unclear. 

The decision of the finalists came after minimal public board discussion of the possible options despite the agenda item stating district staff “will present all maps to the Board for consideration.” 

President Maureen “Mo” Muir said the board spoke at length during closed session about the maps but an agendized item on that topic was not located. 

Directly after the public comment portion of the meeting, Trustee Michael Allman made a motion calling for three maps — a community drawn map along with Scenario 7 and Scenario 8 — to return to the demographer with a request to draw new maps using them as a base. 

After being informed the district’s demographer had not approved the community map submission and was therefore ineligible, Allman rescinded his motion, instead requesting Scenario 7 and Scenario 8 be named as finalists. 

San Dieguito redistricting maps
A proposed district map known as Scenario 1C. Courtesy graphic

Trustee Katrina Young separately made the motion to include Scenario 1C as a finalist but only after much frustration with how the process was playing out.

“We’re being railroaded, Mo,” said Trustee Julie Bronstein. “We’re being railroaded.”

In January, Jonathan Salt, of Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, a law firm hired by the district in 2017 to help its transition from at-large to district elections, explained the redistricting process would not include significant redrawing of area lines. 

“This is not a clean redraw from scratch,” Salt previously told the school board. “This is going to be taking the current map and moving it a little bit to get it into balance.”

Bronstein used Salt’s words to express her feelings about how the process played out Thursday night. 

“I’m not comfortable with the current approach at all,” Bronstein said. “It’s in direct contradiction to the process that we were informed to go through.”

Lawyers from ​​Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost did not immediately respond to requests for clarification from The Coast News. 

The meeting grew more contentious as board members continued to spar over the proposed maps. Allman and Muir kept pushing for Scenario 7 and Scenario 8, but Bronstein and Trustee Katrina Young insisted on sharing their thoughts on all possible maps.

At one point during the meeting, tensions nearly boiled over after Allman called for the official censure of Bronstein, who kept interrupting him while he had the floor. In another moment, Muir accused Young of “browbeating” the board. 

“I’m not browbeating you,” Young responded. “I’m just angry.”

Allman defended his reasoning for choosing Scenario 7 and Scenario 8, explaining those maps better represent the coastal and inland regions of the district, which are the communities of most interest.

“I think the obvious communities of interest are beach and inland and I think these maps represent the best,” Allman said. 

However, in the two maps Allman named as finalists, Trustee Area 3, the area representing the south coastal region, also extends inland far enough to wrap around Bronstein’s home, drawing her out of her current district. 

“I know it’s intentional,” Bronstein said. 

Young and Bronstein questioned whether the proposed maps were legal under the California Voting Rights Act. According to Duncan Brown, president of the San Dieguito Faculty Association, the teacher’s union is looking into possible legal action over the proposed maps. 

“I’m looking into it,” Brown told The Coast News. “I’m definitely, as of this morning, in contact with our legal team looking into what we need to do.” 

The deadline for the district to approve new maps is March 1. Brown said if there will be legal action taken against the proposed new maps then it would likely happen before that date. 

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1 comment

RussJ February 14, 2022 at 6:33 pm

Id trust anyone making a map over some union bought and paid for woke brainwashers. Arent we supposed to be “accepting” and understanding.. You lost so understand and accept it. Nobody is losing the right to vote. Making a map is 10 minutes worth of work. Typical government waste of time and money. No wonder why nothing gets done.

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