In the minds of some, City Council will be taking a step back in the redistricting process, holding a special meeting at noon tomorrow to consider four proposals — not the original two agreed upon last week.
“We’re right back in the same position we were in last week,” said Berkeley City Manager Weldon Rucker, dismayed by the recent detour the redistricting process appeared to be taken. “I had hoped that by the end of this meeting, we could come up with — parts of this and parts of that — but that it would equal up to something.”
Rucker cautioned councilmembers last night that unless they narrowed the playing field of possible redistricting plans last night and gave staff some direction it would be a hardship for them to come up with something before the early April deadline.
But in the minds of some, especially students of the University of California, Berkeley and Elliot Cohen, the author of the plan approved last week, the step back was both welcomed and necessary.
“This communication back and forth between two factions of council is exactly what I wanted to achieve when I submitted the Nuclear Free plan. I hope they can resolve whatever differences they have and get to a point where the council can actually adopt a plan and reduce the bickering.”
Last week City Council approved Cohen’s redistricting proposal which featured the least amount of displacement and deviation from census data by a unanimous decision. They also agreed to further discuss a proposal authored by 16-year-old Nick Rizzo, which was glued together more by the community of interest model.
Last night, additional plans were submitted by Councilmember Worthington and there were two other plans that folded the objective of university students the existing plans of Rizzo and Cohen. The fourth plan to be pored over tomorrow will be Cohen’s original redistricting proposal.
Councilmember Dona Spring earlier in the debate over possible proposals expressed her frustration with the fact that council was no closer to agreeing upon a proposal than they had been a week prior, but in the end she too seemed to welcome the possibility for negotiation.
“This is a very political process,” said Councilmember Dona Spring. “And we have to work together to come up with a compromise. We have to do that. You can’t do that for us Mr. City Manager.”
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