Fresno, California 2021-07-22 13:08:25 –
A diverse coalition of community groups says Fresno government leaders are looking for themselves rather than voters as they are pushing the boundaries of the new district of elected offices.
They question the government’s decision to hire a Los Angeles demographic company to support the local constituency change process.
“Unfortunately, government officials at both levels are afraid that they may use the constituency change process to maintain their power,” said Kayaheron of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. Said. A member of the coalition. “We believe voters should choose their own politicians. Politicians should not choose their own voters.”
The Fresno Redistricting Coalition represents six organizations. According to the group, consulting firm National Demographic Corporation has a history of mapping city councils and supervisory districts and has a reputation for drawing lines to maintain the power of incumbents.
NDC is one of the most prolific demographic consultants in the country. Quote hundreds of clientsIncludes several local counties, cities and school districts.
“We will notify them and place elected officials on both sides of the county and city, recognizing that you have chosen a group that prioritizes you,” said Dillon Savory, a spokesman for the coalition. I’ll let you know what you’re doing. ” Said.
NDC did not respond to GVWire’s comment request.But they dealt with their critics Proposal to Fresno City..
“Companies are usually criticized by people outside the client’s jurisdiction that these outsiders are not acting as advocates or converts of what they consider to be” right “for the client,” the company said. Written by Douglas Johnson, President of the Company. “But the members of the NDC team are expert advisors, not converts. The NDC seeks clients through a process to map that meets all legal and client goals, not the goals of outside critics. I will guide you. “
At a meeting of the Fresno County Supervisory Board on April 13, Johnson said the proposed subdivision map had never been overturned by a judge.
Fresno county makes final decision on change
Ultimately, the Fresno County Supervisory Board and the entire Fresno City Council will approve the final district map of the jurisdiction.
That shouldn’t be the case, Savory said.
“All jurisdictions that elected civil servants should be required to undergo an independent process in which the elected civil servants have nothing to do with the obvious consequences for all voters,” Savory said.
Common Causes of California Shows the jurisdiction of a few regions that draw lines using independent committees, such as San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego.
Councilors and supervisors defend the choice
The Fresno City Council approved the contract with the NDC by voting 7-0 on the agenda at the parliamentary meeting on June 24. It was based on a recommendation from the constituency change subcommittee, which consists of three members, councilors Miguel Arias, Nelson Espalza, and Tyler Maxwell.
In a joint statement, members of the committee said the NDC was selected by the open bidding process.
“NDC’s professional experience in developing maps under federal and state law is unrivaled. Our city council also conducts additional community outreach independently of the NDC. We funded and published a request for proposal from another company, “said the councilor. “We are confident that our outreach activities will create a record level of community engagement and invite city residents directly, online or, in effect, to numerous upcoming community meetings. “
Maxwell estimates that contracts can be up to $ 200,000, depending on the number of extras the city uses, such as mapping and outreach services.
Fresno County managers have approved a $ 93,500 contract with NDC without a supervisor’s vote. The value of the contract was below the $ 100,000 required to vote.
“Fresno County is confident in its nonpartisan work and NDC track record,” a county spokesman said in an email. “Their team covers the entire political spectrum, from former Democratic Central Committee members to retired Republican state legislatures,” no party-favorite “team members, to liberals. “
Members of the coalition did not speak at the Fresno City Council meeting on June 24th.
Savory explained that his group had met with the Subdivision Subcommittee several times and was guaranteed a public meeting at a convenient time, in multiple locations and at translation services.
But when it was time to talk about demographers, the meeting stopped.
“We thought we had influenced the process of demographers. We were surprised at the fact that they were doing this, but it disciplined them by attending the council. It wasn’t about the response … we couldn’t get so much information in the 3-minute segment at the city hall or zoom, “said Savory.
Rubber stamping map?
Savory is skeptical about how fair the NDC offers cities and counties, respectively.
“(NDC) takes their line to rubber stamp elected officials, knowing that it is very difficult for community groups … a lot for them to sue the city and NDC on the matter. You can’t make money, “said Savory.
Fresno County has appointed an advisory board of 11 members. They held one official meeting and one workshop in Riverdale, with about 20 participants. Four meetings are scheduled for August alone.
The Fresno city council discussed three constituency changes this year. The July 15 meeting was the first time that the general public could attend the meeting room directly. Only two did.
Several more meetings and workshops are planned from now until December 15th, when map approval is required.
The coalition consists of the New California community, the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, the Jakara Movement, Mon Innovation Politics, CAIR, and the Central Valley Partnership.
“We wanted to create a diverse coalition that included many communities marginalized and subdivided by the census. Community change, along with other aspects of civic participation in everything we do. “We are trying to influence the community,” said Savory.
Savor said the coalition is an extension of the group’s census outreach.
“We are working together to ensure that everything we do in the census is accurately reflected in the elected representatives,” said Savory.
‘Thumb on the Scale’ — Groups Criticize Local Leaders on Political Map Update – GV Wire Source link ‘Thumb on the Scale’ — Groups Criticize Local Leaders on Political Map Update – GV Wire