A group of UC San Diego students is lobbying city officials to sever the university’s longtime political and social ties to La Jolla, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Supporters want the school to align with the Convoy District and nearby areas with significant Asian populations.
Census data received last month show that there have been large enough population shifts since 2011 to require boundary changes for some of San Diego’s nine council districts. If the lines were left alone, the most populated district—northern coastal District 1—would be 13% larger than the least populated district—southeastern District 4.
Based on recent court cases focused on voting rights, the difference between the largest and smallest district must be smaller than 10%. The last time San Diego drew its boundaries, the largest difference was less than 4.6%.
Thus, the need to shrink District 1 is helping to propel the campaign to remove UCSD, University City and Carmel Valley, which are now included in that district with La Jolla.
The UCSD students contend that they have more in common with inland areas than high-income La Jolla regarding concerns about affordable housing, transportation, jobs, The UCSD Guardian reports. A One-Page Guide on SD Redistricting 2021 compiled by Associated Students AVP of Local Affairs Aidan Lin states that, “La Jolla dominates the political sphere of District 1, cutting out student needs, i.e. affordable housing, to prioritize their own.”
“We have a large percentage of students that are AAPI,” Lin said. “This diversity and AAPI focus met itself better with District 6, which is an AAPI-empowerment District. That’s the kind of diversity and shared interests of students to really speak up and get support.”
Asians make up 29% of UCSD’s population. If the proposal were to go through, the population of newly drawn north central District 6 would total in at more than 42% Asian. These potential changes have drawn in support from Asian community leaders.
Kathleen Dang, vice president of a nonprofit Asian advocacy group, told The San Diego Union-Tribune, “This district would reflect the breadth and diversity of our community, from the cultural hub in the Convoy District, through residential neighborhoods of all income levels and housing types, to the academic institution that brought so many of us to the region and continues to provide opportunity.”
However, many have argued that the way District 1 is currently set up is already beneficial. Kathryn Burton, an attorney with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office said that Torrey Hills and District 1 were bound for 30 years. She argued that the school, neighborhood, and recreation facilities in District 1 were already a complete system that serves community interests.
“Separating Carmel Valley and District 1 is like separating twins at birth,” Burton said in the public commission hearing.
A volunteer panel helping to redraw the lines is scheduled to decide what direction to give a demographic consulting company that will draw up two or three proposed maps and unveil them Oct. 18. The nine-member panel is scheduled to approve a preliminary map.
For details on the boundary drawing process, visit the redistricting commission website.
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