A new city district map, known as Plan 4, was introduced at the Feb. 7 Hollister City Council meeting, passing with a 4-1 vote. Council member Dolores Morales was opposed. There were no comments on this issue by council members, nor were there public speakers, at this meeting.
The new district map has District 1 bordering Westside Blvd and South streets, gaining residents living on the east side of Westside Blvd. and north of South St and Hillcrest Rd. The map will now have District 3 include residents living on the south side of Hillcrest Rd., westside of Memorial Drive, southside of Sunnyslope and eastside of Valley View roads. All residents living on the westside of West St., and south of South St., will also be in District 3.
Four redistricting plans had been under consideration by the City Council since its first special public hearing on the process on Nov. 13. As required by state law, four public hearings were held by the council in order to receive public comment concerning redistricting maps. The last hearing occurred on Jan. 18.
California law requires each city to adopt new district boundaries every 10 years, after each federal census, so that districts remain relatively equal in population. For the city of Hollister, the deadline for the redistricting process is April 17. A vote to adopt and pass redistricting Plan 4 will take place at the Feb. 22 council meeting.
At the Jan. 18 council meeting, the question of which map to introduce as an ordinance was debated, with Velasquez, Resendiz and Burns voting for Redistricting Plan 4, Morales voting for Plan 1 and Perez undecided, but favoring plan 4. Morales said she was taking emails and phone calls she received from her constituents who favored Plan 1 into consideration.
Burns and Perez asked to look at Plan 1 again at that same meeting. Burns said he “was fine” with Plan 1 or 4, but noticed that Plan 4 factored in growth, and possibly an increased population, in District 4.
“We know that the area off of Fairview is already in development and in the construction phase, and we know that it’s going to increase,” Burns said.
Jeanne Gobalet with Lapkoff & Gobalet Demographic Research, Inc. said that Plan 1 created District 4 as the most populated district, but it became the least populated in Plan 4, “allowing for population growth that’s imminent,” she said.
Velasquez asked Morales to forward the emails to the city clerk so the concerns from her constituents could be recorded, “to make sure we have that information to the record, for anybody who did correspond with a council member regarding this. So for the record, we show that we did take in that information.”
Morales said that unless it was required by the city attorney, she wanted to keep the emails anonymous.
“At least one person said they did not feel comfortable speaking openly because of some of the ways certain City Council members interact,” Morales said. “So that was a point that was made as part of the email, so I do not wish to forward that.”
However, she did read the council the analysis she had received by her constituents.
“Map 1 is the most clean and avoids going into each others’ districts,” she read. “It is the most equitable, in terms of the population mix. It supports the growth in annexation toward the south, east and west.”
“We made an effort to make sure that the public was involved in this,” Velasquez said. “Plan 4 seems to take into consideration the growth that is going to happen in that area. It gave it clean lines, it didn’t disrupt the current configuration of the different districts. I received zero emails, zero calls, on this process, which tells me that those that are watching online, or who have viewed it in different ways, like the process that we are going through.”
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