Mission redistricting proposal could face bumpy road

A redistricting of the four city wards from which Mission’s city council members are elected may run into some turbulence at this week’s council meeting.

The report of a redistricting committee recommending a change in the boundaries of the four wards moved out of the Finance and Administration Committee on a 2-2 vote and at least one council member not on the committee has voiced substantial reservations about the maps.

The redistricting committee, chaired by planning commission member Mike Lee, was appointed by Mayor Laura McConwell to look at the ward adjustments that could put the population distribution between wards more in line. The current wards have significant percentage deviations in population: Ward 1- 2,928, Ward 2- 1,875, Ward 3 – 2,355 and Ward 4 – 2,165. Ward 1 now has 25 percent more than the four-ward average and Ward 2 contains nearly 20 percent less than the average ward population.

The committee met several times over the summer to consider how to balance the population so the total deviation was less than 10 percent.

The committee report showed five maps that had been considered, but its final selection had all of the wards above 2,300 and the most populated at 2,545 with the largest deviation at 5.81 percent below the average.

However, the committee used population projections that included new residential development planned for the Gateway projects at each end of the city to balance the new map. The use of those projections drew objections from some council members. Another objection, raised by Councilor Lawrence Andre, is that the proposed map may be imbalanced by multi-family units. “I think it hurts the city to have that imbalance,” he said.

The biggest change in the proposed map, the finance committee was told, is that Countryside, which was its own municipality before a merger with Mission, is moved from Ward 4 into Ward 2. The recommended map meets the goals of compactness, contiguity, preserving the basic shape of existing districts and avoiding pairing of incumbents in the same district.

The series of maps considered by the committee can be viewed on the city’s website. The council meets Wednesday at 7 p.m.