Fresno residents share opinions, ideas at City Council’s redistricting meeting

CBS47 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – With the 2020 census, Fresno City Council districts will be re-drawn after the council votes on new district boundaries in December. 

But first, an important part of the process includes Fresno residents and community organizations making their voices heard. 

Council President Luis Chavez said Thursday night’s meeting was about listening to members of the community and what they hope to see from the redistricting process.

“These are all just options we’re not going to vote on any of these today. We’re just vetting the process, and getting input from the community, the residents and all the stakeholders,” he said.

According to city demographic data, there needs to be the same number of residents per district. 

This totals about 77,800 members in each of the seven districts. Since the summer, the council has been reviewing maps drawn by the public, and nonpartisan demographics groups. At Thursday’s public hearing residents spoke up about the need to form new districts with Fresno’s diversity in mind. 

Eric Payne from the Central Valley Urban Institute was one resident asking the council to remember the importance of diversity in the redistricting process.

“We are asking that there be no retrogression in the African-American voting population within the city’s sphere of influence,” Payne said.

One proposed map that gained some attention during public comment was a map submitted by the Inclusive Families Coalition, a group made up of civil rights and community-based organizations in Fresno. The highlight of this map, according to the coalition, is keeping all residents in any given district within the same school district as well. 

“It uses school district boundaries as a guide, considering families who send their children and youth to a given school,” Pedro Cruz from the CNC Education Fund said. “It also takes into consideration many communities from different racial and ethnic backgrounds that our coalition has direct relationships with.”

Other public comments saw residents calling on the city council to do a better job publicizing the public hearings about re-districting. 

 The next meeting will be held on Dec. 2 for more public comment.

 The city council will then vote on new district boundaries on Dec 9.

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