The City Council voted last night 8-1 in favor of the redistricting plan drafted by the subcommittee on Monday. In the two-hour special meeting, councilmembers grumbled about boundaries, but eventually that compromise had to be the order of the day.
The boundaries of District 4, represented by Dona Spring, the sole dissenter, were the main points of contention. Robert and Barbara Mishell came to protest being moved from District 4 into District 6.
L.A. Wood charged the council with being insensitive to the communities of interest in District 4, despite all their talk about trying to keep neighborhoods together.
“I find when you’re talking about neighborhoods, you’re really talking about voting blocs,” he said.
Spring thanked her constituents for showing up and explained her own revisions to District 4 in the subcommittee plan. Her proposal, one of three revisions submitted, would restore the Oxford tract on the west, shift several blocks south of Vine into District 5 on the north and trade a block on Francisco for all of Ohlone Park on the east.
Rent Board Commissioner Paul Hogarth’s revision similarly tried to keep District 4 truer to its current form, but traded the hilly area at the northern end of Spruce for the Oxford tract. Since Councilmember Miriam Hawley had fought so hard for those blocks at Monday’s subcommittee meeting, few on the council were willing to change the border between 5 and 6.
At one point in the evening, though, the council seemed willing to grant Spring’s main request for the Oxford tract. When Spring seemed unwilling to give up any other blocks in exchange, however, the council gave up trying to reach a unanimous decision.
The council was also friendly to the students who tried to bring more students into District 7 though they eventually decided not to incorporate the two amendments suggested by the Associated Students of the University of California.
ASUC Vice President of External Affairs Josh Fryday came to register student discontent not only with the existing plans, but also with the process.
This controversy made clear that a process controlled by incumbents will never change, he said. While it was not necessarily the fault of the City Council because they were bound by an unjust charter, Fryday insisted, “The process is unfair and undemocratic.”
Spring tried to soothe Fryday. “Every councilmember up here is trying to pitch to you. That must say something to you.”
But hours of wrangling over the borders of District 4 left the councilmembers with little energy to incorporate any changes at all to the subcommittee recommendation.
“I thought when we approved the Cohen plan [on Feb. 19], that was the end of it,” said Margaret Breland. “I’m not one to sit to 2 o’clock. I’m going to leave.”
Other councilmembers murmured their support and Mayor Shirley Dean moved two motions to vote.
The first motion, proposed by Kriss Worthington, would have overlaid Spring’s plan and the first ASUC amendment onto the subcommittee draft. It failed 7-2.
The second motion, proposed by Polly Armstrong, to adopt the subcommittee plan without any revisions, carried.