FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5th, 2022
CONTACT: Sana Sethi, email@example.com,
SF Redistricting Task Force sneaks in 3am vote to use draft map that divides communities
After agreeing to listen to the public and use draft map 4D, the Redistricting Task Force snuck in a vote to reverse course and use a completely different draft map at 3am last night
Three days ago, at Saturday’s Redistricting Task Force meeting, nearly 200 people waited hours to testify before the Task Force and urge them to keep neighborhoods and communities with shared histories, needs, and culture together. The overwhelming majority of residents outside and inside City Hall on Saturday voiced support for draft map 4D, even as they called on the Task Force to make necessary tweaks to the map that would ensure resources and representation to uplift the city’s most marginalized communities. San Franciscans were gratified to see the Task Force listen to their testimony and vote 8-1 to move forward with draft map 4D. On Monday, residents expected the Task Force would continue its important work to fulfill the promise of democracy and pass a map that has community support and input.
Under the cloak of a 3am vote, the Task Force reneged on that promise and undid its Saturday vote, voting to scrap plans of using draft map 4D, and use 4B instead. Most San Franciscans waking up this morning have no idea of the events that unfolded last night, and are in the dark as to why the Task Force decided to ignore the calls of the community.
In just the past week, San Francisco neighborhoods and cultural districts have raised alarm over how the proposed maps divided LGBTQ+ communities, Asian American communities, and other residents with a long history of shared organizing in the Tenderloin and SOMA. Residents of the Haight, NOPA, Japantown, Sunset and Richmond as well as the Transgender District and Castro LGBTQ Cultural District also spoke out against the maps which split their neighborhoods from historical communities of interest. However, it remains unclear why the Task Force encouraged people to wait up to 8 hours to give public comment when they reversed their previous vote in the early hours of the morning.
Going against months of recommendation to start mapping earlier, the Task Force claimed they wanted to hear from all districts before mapping, delaying the process and leaving just weeks from the first draft map to the final deadline. Clearly the shortened timeline has caught up with the Task Force, as last night’s 10 hour meeting saw emotions high and the atmosphere growing tense.
The SF Redistricting Task Force must finalize its new maps for the next 10 years by Friday, April 15, leaving the public just days to respond to the change in course that the Task Force took last night.
“Map 4B decimates the Black Community’s voting power and ability to elect a Black supervisor in District 10. It consolidates four Black neighborhoods spanning across four supervisorial districts (D5, D6, D10, and D11) and reduces them into three districts (D5, D10, D11). Map 4B finishes the work of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency in the Western Addition by removing countless Black churches in District 5 at the expense of San Francisco’s most disfranchised ethnic group to favor the wealthy. San Francisco should be ashamed of itself.” -Geoffrea Morris, INVEST Black Coalition
“We established our cultural districts to unite and strengthen historically marginalized communities against the forces of gentrification. That’s why it’s so hurtful to see District 6 on the chopping block in this redistricting process all to the advantage of more affluent neighborhoods. Any map that centers the voice of the most privileged in our city, instead of vulnerable populations and communities sets us back and does not live up to San Francisco’s legacy of fighting for racial equity and equality.” -Raquel Redondiez, SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural District
“From listening to the live mapping session around 2 am, it appeared that several Task Force members were frustrated with the shape of District 6. After moving on to District 3 and hitting an impasse around Russian Hill, the decision to pull Map 4B out of the dust bin was done out of desperation or perhaps delirium. In any case it was shocking and a huge disappointment that we hope can be corrected in the final 5 meetings.” – Matthias Mormino, Chinatown Community Development Center
“There’s no better illustration of truly undermining and disenfranchising vulnerable communities than map 4B, where the Redistricting Task Force ended up last night. I don’t know what else the community can do – we turned out hundreds of people, including 117 public comments on the record for map 4D, and it’s not enough. The time for playing around and being exploratory with the map is way over.” – Emily Lee, San Francisco Rising