The California Citizens Redistricting Commission Tuesday was considering a plan that was announced late Friday that would split San Jose into four congressional districts, making San Jose the only major city in California to not have at least one member of Congress representing the majority of its over 1 million residents.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on Monday released a letter sharply critical of the plan.
“The proposed Congressional maps would divide my city of San José into four parts, and dramatically dilute the vote of our 1 million residents,” Liccardo wrote in the letter.
“None of the four San José districts would have a majority of San José residents, so California’s third-largest city would become the only major city without a Congressperson primarily representing the city’s collective interests. This undermines the voice of San José’s diverse neighborhoods—three-quarters of us are people of color--relative to more affluent and often disproportionately influential suburbs.”
“Big cities’ needs inevitably create a uniquely diverse and heavy set of demands on their representatives,” Liccardo wrote in the letter. “San Francisco and Oakland, the other two large cities in the Bay Area—both which are substantially smaller in population than San José---have proposed districts that will ensure their representatives in Congress will overwhelmingly represent their city. San Joseans certainly deserve this much.”
“I understand that a key concern of several commissioners is the creation of Latino/-a/-x and Asian-American opportunity districts within parts of my city and surrounding areas,” the mayor wrote.
“I will leave it to the legal experts to assess whether and how to create a Latino/-a/-x opportunity district—our understanding is that the Commission’s consultant, David Becker, already concluded that there is no protected need under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act due to insufficient polarization in the voting data, because San José’s majority and Latino/-a/-x voters are heavily aligned in past presidential and congressional races,” Liccardo wrote.
The mayor said the commission can achieve the goal of maintaining separate Latino/-a/-x and Asian-American opportunity districts and create a San José-majority district by consolidating the two remaining districts in the west, south, and southeast of San José.
This alternative, he wrote, would “preserve Latino/-a/-x and Asian-American opportunity districts in our city while still ensuring that San José has a representative in Congress who serves a district with a majority of San José residents.”
“This call for a member of Congress to primarily represent San José is not merely imperative for my city,” he added.
“Farmworkers in the Salinas Valley and coastal residents of Monterey should also have strong representation, and deserve the full attention of a Congressperson who does not need to drive an hour north to a district office located near the world headquarters of Adobe, Western Digital, or Zoom.”
The meeting begins at 1 p.m. today, to watch it live, visit here.
Public can submit written comments here.
For more information, visit https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/
To give public comment during the meeting, residents can call (877)853-5247. Enter code: 811 4925 9556, followed by the pound # symbol. Press *9 to raise your hand for public speaking.