to Guide the 2011 Redistricting Process
San Jose City Charter, Section 403 (Elections by Districts),
requires that in any redistricting, the Council “shall
make the Districts as nearly equal in population as may be
practicable, and may, in establishing the boundaries of the
Districts, give consideration to (a) natural boundaries, street
lines and/or City boundaries; (b) geography; (c) cohesiveness,
contiguity, integrity and compactness of territory; and (d)
community of interests within each District.”
Further, in a memo
sent to the City Council on January 11, 2011, Mayor Chuck
Reed recommended that the 2011 Redistricting Advisory Commission
“look at redistricting criteria established by the last
Advisory Commission and maintain continuity of existing Council
Districts to the extent possible.” The criteria of the
last Redistricting Advisory Commission are listed below, with
no priority or ranking implied by the order:
1. Comply with all applicable laws, including the avoidance
2. Equalize the population count in each District within 10%.
3. Where boundaries meet charter requirements, maintain continuity
of existing Council Districts as much as possible.
4. Minimize the dilution of votes, and avoid the fragmentation
or the overcompaction of ethnic communities.
5. Maintain cohesive neighborhoods within Districts and, where
possible, keep neighborhood associations within a single District.
6. Avoid unseating current City Council members.
7. To the extent possible, recognize the importance of parks
and public facilities in Districts.
8. Where possible, do not divide school districts between
separate Council Districts.
9. To the extent possible, provide income diversity within
10. Strive to balance District interests with City-wide interests,
but not at the expense or exclusion of individual Districts.
Finally, included in the City Council’s motion on the
memo referenced above, the Council suggested the 2011 Redistricting
Advisory Commission consider redistricting criteria established
by voter passage of California Proposition 11 in 2008 and
Proposition 20 in 2010. Most of the criteria established in
Propositions 11 and 20 are duplicative of the criteria required
by the City Charter and the recommendations of the 2001 Redistricting
Advisory Commission. However, Proposition 20 included a definition
of “community of interest”:
A community of interest is a contiguous population which
shares common social and economic interests that should be
included within a single district for purposes of its effective
and fair representation. Examples of such shared interests
are those common to an urban area, a rural area, an industrial
area, or an agricultural area, and those common to areas in
which the people share similar living standards, use the same
transportation facilities, have similar work opportunities,
or have access to the same media of communication relevant
to the election process. Communities of interest shall not
include relationships with political parties, incumbents,
or political candidates.
In light of the above, on March 28, 2011, the 2011 Redistricting
Commission adopted Mandatory and
Other Guidelines for Consideration. For ease of reference,
these guidelines are organized according to the previously-cited
sources. The two mandatory guidelines are as follows:
1. Make the Districts as nearly equal in population as may
2. Comply with Federal Voting Rights Act