REDWOOD CITY: Voting Districts Coming Soon

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 22: Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on October 22, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Florida voters head to the polls to cast their early ballots in the race for the Senate as well as the Governors seats. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

When I heard that the City was moving towards creating voting districts for our City Council, I thought this was a good idea. Redwood City is a very diverse town culturally and socioeconomically. We do have many underrepresented areas in the City that have their own unique needs and have not had a strong enough voice in the past. Under the current at-large system, anyone from any section of Redwood City can just run for the available empty council seats.

What I didn’t realize was that this move is not voluntary. The City was actually threatened with a lawsuit in 2018. The claim was that the current system of selecting City council members violates the California Voting Rights Act. I guess the City must have agreed that it was in violation since it is moving forward with creating districts where each section will select its own councilperson to represent them.

Various different ways have been proposed for how to carve out Redwood City and one such proposal is shown below. This process is still ongoing. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. I’m not sure if all of it makes sense to me. Both the current proposed maps appear to show Edgewood Park and the West of the El Camino areas all in District 2? These are very different parts of our community that likely have different priorities. In addition, as small as Edgewood Park is compared to the remainder of District 2 in the maps, I suspect that a person from Edgewood Park wanting to run for City Council will have greater economic resources than other candidates from District 2? Well, I guess this is yet another step forward for Redwood City as we modernize out town.

For more information on Districts visit this link: https://www.redwoodcity.org/departments/city-clerk/district-elections