Mission council rejects redistricting proposal for second time

The map on the left illustrates the current Mission ward boundaries. The map on the right was rejected by the city council Wednesday.
The map on the left illustrates the current Mission ward boundaries. The map on the right was rejected by the city council Wednesday.

The redistricting of Mission’s city wards will start again after the city council Wednesday voted for the second time to table a proposal from a city committee charged with coming up with a new proposal.

In October, the council agreed to hold a public hearing on the new maps, but that motion only survived with a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Laura McConwell. The proposed re-alignment was exactly the same that the committee had proposed last year. In December 2012 the council tabled the proposal for the first time and sent it back to committee for review.

Only Councilors Lawrence Andre and Dave Shepard voted against tabling the new ward map this week. Shepard said the committee had gone through the process twice and came back with the same solution. Redistricting, Shepard said, was in the “best interest of the community” and that the city is late in getting it done.

The impetus for the redistricting committee and the new map proposal is that the council districts are unequal in population. Ward 1 exceeds the average by more than 25 percent and Ward 2 is under the average by more than 19 percent.

Several Mission residents have criticized the proposal in public hearings. The predominant complaints are that Countryside, the former municipality that merged with Mission, changes wards and that the future population estimates include apartments on both ends of the city that have yet to be built: in the east Gateway and Aspen Village projects.

Councilor Will Vandenberg told the council before the vote that he had come up with an alternative map which was less disruptive but accomplished the necessary population balance. Amy Miller said the map was a viable solution and urged the council to start over by considering Vandenberg’s proposal.

That will require a new set of public hearings. Since candidates already are filing for the 2014 city council election, redistricting will likely come after the vote.