Every 10 years, local governments use new census data to redraw their district lines to reflect how local populations have changed. This process, called redistricting, is the legal process for ensuring that each City Councilmember represents about the same number of residents. Redistricting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a Councilmember.
Earlier this year, the City Council formed an Advisory Redistricting Committee (ARC) to lead public engagement activities and present the City Council with a draft map for consideration by December 6, 2021. In Redwood City, the City Council has the responsibility of adopting the final district map and the process must be complete by April 17, 2022.
Why does redistricting matter to me?
Redistricting is an opportunity for you and other community members to engage in the process of defining how your representatives are elected and which communities are included in each district. The California Fair Maps Act, passed in 2019, requires extensive community involvement throughout the redistricting process. The legislation requires cities to hold a minimum of four public hearings and offer community workshops to encourage community members to give public testimony that will be considered as part of the process. Community participation in the redistricting process has the potential to provide greater transparency and enhance community trust in a process that will impact political representation for the next 10 years.
How can I get involved?
Redistricting is a community-driven process and there are many ways to get involved, starting now!
Take a short survey and tell us about your community — Community involvement in the redistricting process begins with identifying “Communities of Interest”. A Community of Interest is a group of people that share common cultural, demographic, economic, geographic, or social interests. Keeping these communities together is a high-ranking criterion in the redistricting process.
Some examples of Communities of Interest include:
- Senior citizens
- Residents who share a common language
- Members of Neighborhood Associations
- People associated with neighborhood schools
- College students living near campus
- People who live downtown or in a neighborhood
- People that use the same transportation systems
- Dog park community
Take the Community of Interest survey and tell us about your community. This short 4-question survey will help the ARC and City Council better understand your community and why it should be considered in the redistricting process. The survey is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese and can be completed online or on paper.
Submit a draft map for consideration — In addition to the survey, you can submit visual feedback in the form of draft maps. Prior to census data availability, mapping tools can be used to submit a visual representation of Communities of Interest. Once data becomes available, mapping tools can be used to draft maps based on population information.
Maps can be submitted online using the DistrictR mapping tool. Maps can also be submitted using a paper map available here and available at City facilities. The paper map will be published in several local newspapers and you can submit your map by emailing a picture of it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maps can be submitted throughout the redistricting process until the City Council votes to adopt a new district map.
Attend district workshops — Between now and early October, the ARC and City staff will host a series of district workshops throughout the City. At each workshop the City’s demographer, Redistricting Partners, will give a presentation and demonstrate how to draw your own district map for consideration. Workshops will also be an opportunity to give public testimony about how you think districts should be formed based on your communities of interest.
Workshops will be held virtually via Zoom and livestreamed on the Redwood City YouTube Channel. Spanish interpretation will be provided at all meetings and all other translation requests will be honored by the City Clerk’s office with 72-hour advanced request. You are invited to attend as many workshops as you’d like — not the just one held in your district.
Attend public hearings — Beginning in the fall, the ARC and the City Council will hold several public hearings to discuss draft maps and take public testimony. Public hearings will likely be held in person and will offer a virtual component for community members who prefer to attend remotely. Public hearings will be noticed at least 10 days in advance and all maps that will be considered during each hearing will be published 7 days in advance, allowing time for community review and feedback.
Submit comments in writing — Throughout the process, we want to hear from you. In addition to the activities above, you can send comments, questions, and draft maps to email@example.com. Correspondence received will be forwarded to the ARC and the City Council. All correspondence will be included as part of the public record including any contact information provided.