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Time is limited for Pacific Beach residents to have a say on new council map

redistricting
(Richelle / stock.adobe.com)

Pacific Beach community leaders are saying residents need to express their views on new San Diego City Council district boundaries before a Dec. 15 vote sets the lines for the next decade.

The current favored map proposal — dubbed Clairemont United compromise map — moves Pacific Beach from District 2 (which it shares with Mission Beach and Point Loma), and make PB part of District 1 with La Jolla.

“Once these districts are set, we’ll have these maps for 10 years,” said Marcella Bothwell, PB Town Council president. “People need to get involved in these Zoom meetings and voice their concerns. I want people to be aware that this is not a done deal yet.”

A final draft is expected to be decided by Dec. 15, per the San Diego Redistricting Commission’s schedule. New district boundaries will not go into effect until after the November 2022 election.

The last opportunity for residents to weigh in is during a special meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7. The Zoom link, maps and other information is at sandiego.gov/redistricting-commission.

Karl Rand, PB Planning Group chair, says the redistricting process is similar to a game of “Whack-a-Mole.”

“Issues pop up and get attention, and they deal with that, and in the process of dealing with that, another issue pops up.” Rand said. “This whole city is so interconnected.”

Pacific Beach leadership favored a map that joined PB with West Clairemont as part of District 2. But that map lost during the commission’s Nov. 13 meeting when a 7-2 vote favored the Clairemont United map,

“The I-5 is an artificial boundary,” Bothwell said. “West Clairemont and PB have a lot of traffic getting on the 5 in that corridor area. It’s an extremely important area for both communities, it’s how we commute. Being able to work with Clairemont in one council district would facilitate a good interaction.”

Rand said keeping the district in which Pacific Beach currently sits would make for a smoother transition than being sent to a different district.

“Under the collaboration map we’d have a new council member in District 1,” Rand said. “We already have existing relations with (Joe LaCava), so it’s not as though he is a complete stranger, but when you get to the level of knowing your district, that’s another story.

“By maintaining the districts similar to how they are now is great for us, because there wouldn’t be any transition issues,” Rand said. “It would be a smooth transition into this because it’s so similar to what we already have.”

While the transition would be smoother to keep the same district and same relationships with council representatives, Bothwell said it wouldn’t necessarily be detrimental to achieving PB leaders’ goals at the district level.

“The districts are themselves semi-artificial,” Bothwell said. “We could still work with a representative from District 1 or 6, but the relationship we’ve forged with our representative from councilmember (Jennifer) Campbell’s office has been really strong. Not having to catch someone up to speed all the time or fill in the background is enviable.”

“Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are two communities that are directly connected with Mission Bay,” Rand said. “This is really the first time that there’s been proposals to separate Pacific Beach and Mission Beach from each other. If you asked people in Mission Beach which community they had the closest connection to, they would probably say Pacific Beach.”


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