SOLANA BEACH — The Solana Beach City Council met last week and held its second public hearing on the redistricting process. The council also voted to extend virtual meetings for another 30 days.
The city moved from five at-large council members to four council members who each represent a district and a separately elected mayor a few years ago. The first council and mayoral elections under the new process took place last year.
The current districts were drawn in 2018 and were based on the 2010 census data, which was the most recent available at the time. State law requires redistricting after the decennial census.
Shannon Kelly from National Demographics Corporation, who is assisting the city with the process, pointed out that the least populated district is District 2, suggesting adding more population from District 4.
The population of Solana Beach is about 12,941, according to the 2020 census data, compared to a count of 12,867 in the 2010 census. The ideal population in each district is 3,238, according to Kelly.
The council members agreed, however, that they should be taking from District 3, the most populated district, and adding to District 2, the least populated district.
“My preference is also to take a look at doing as minimal changes as possible. The ones that are out of balance are 3 and 2, and taking a look at that it might be a much simpler exercise, although I’m certainly open to seeing any other maps that do come in,” Mayor Lesa Heebner said.
A couple of council members also reiterated a public comment from Solana Beach resident Vickie Driver who emphasized the importance of keeping HOAs in the same districts.
“I think it’s important to remind residents why Solana Beach formed districts in 2018. Districting was not the desire of our community, it was done in response to a demand letter that the city received from an attorney,” said Councilmember Jewel Edson. “We hired experts, held meetings and did what I’d consider a really good job of listening to the community when creating the four districts we have today.”
The council encouraged the public to follow along with the process and to draw and submit their own map ideas on the city’s website.
The third redistricting meeting was pushed back to Feb. 23. The last meeting is yet to be determined. The deadline to adopt the new map of districts is in April.
The City Council also reauthorized virtual meetings for the next 30 days due to COVID-19.