Analysis: Antioch School Board should scrap the maps for redistricting at Wednesday meeting

Proposed Antioch School Board Trustee Areas Redistricting Map Scenario 2A. Source: AUSD

All 3 gerrymandered to protect incumbents, except for one trustee; very few changes from 2019 map based on 2010 Census with 13,400 fewer residents

Board should start over and allow more public input with online mapping tool

By Allen Payton

Official Notice

Subject: Post Census Redistricting

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 (During the Regular Board of Education Meeting)

Time: Open Session 7:00 p.m.

Location: Deer Valley High School Theater 4700 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA 94531

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Governing Board of the Antioch Unified School District will hold a public hearing during its Regular Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, to receive community feedback regarding post census redistricting. To ensure Trustee Areas are in compliance with Education Code 5019.5, the District must review and potentially adjust its electoral map. This hearing will provide the AUSD Board of Education an opportunity to review initial draft scenarios adjusting the boundaries for trustee areas and to accept feedback from the community regarding the proposed changes. Proposed maps can be viewed at https://www.antiochschools.net/domain/3540.

Proposed Antioch School Board Trustee Areas Redistricting Map Scenario1. Source: AUSD

Analysis

During their next regularly scheduled Antioch School Board meeting tonight, Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the Antioch School Board will consider three maps that are very similar to their current map. That’s in spite of a population growth of 13,386 in the district during the decade of 2010 to 2020. The current trustee area map was approved by the board in 2019 based on the 2010 Census. (See related article)

The three proposed maps, drawn by a consultant and labeled Scenario 1, 2 and 3, all show where the current trustees live, which is a political matter and is not a required criteria for the board to consider, based on either federal or state law. The trustee area boundary lines don’t make much sense other than protecting incumbents. The only exception is Trustee Ellie Householder who moved from the current Area 2 to Area 1, last year. The map only uses major roads as boundaries between Areas 1 and 2. For example, both Trustee Mary Rocha barely lives inside Area 5 and Trustee Clyde Lewis, Jr. barely lives inside Area 3.

Plus, the maps don’t respect communities of interest, a basic principle of redistricting, splitting the Mira Vista Hills area south of James Donlon Blvd. into Areas 2 and 4. In addition, the maps don’t primarily use major roads as dividing lines, especially between Areas 3 and 4 and between Areas 2 and 3.

Also, the current map and all three proposed maps unnecessarily have the area bounded by Lone Tree Way, Deer Valley Road and Country Hills Drive, where no one lives, included in Area 4 instead of Area 2 creating a strange shape. That area is one Census Tract and can easily be moved between trustee areas.

Trust areas are legally allowed to have a maximum population deviation from average of 5% or 10% maximum between areas. Scenario 1 has a deviation of 8.3% between trustee areas, Scenario 2 offers a deviation of 1.2% and Scenario 3 has a deviation of 4.0%.

Scrap Proposed Maps, Offer Public Online Mapping Tool

What the board should do is scrap the three proposed consultant’s maps and start over by opening the process to the public – putting we the people in charge of choosing who it is will represent us, not the other way around – and provide an online mapping tool like the Antioch City Council and other cities have done. But the board should use the same tool as on the City of Brentwood’s city council redistricting website, since it’s the easiest to use of those in the county and BART’s that I’ve tried.

What the board and council should have done is form independent citizen redistricting commissions, like both the city councils of Brentwood and Martinez have done, to truly put the process in the hands of the public and take the politics out of it. (See related article)

While the board must have a final map approved by March 1, that gives them the two meetings in February, and if necessary, they could hold a separate redistricting workshop, to consider maps drawn and submitted by the public. They need to direct their redistricting consultant to get the online mapping tool up by Friday.

We shall see if they’re interested in doing what’s best for the people they were elected to represent or what will protect their own political interests.

The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed in-person or online at https://youtu.be/VFJxu3aBpYw. Public comments can only be made in person at the meeting by completing and submitting a speaker card.

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AUSD Proposed Redistricting Map Scenario 2A


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