FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 6, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO — Three appointees to the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force will be considered for removal, after the Elections Commission voted Wednesday evening to schedule a special meeting this Sunday to review the actions taken by their appointees. Their appointees are Vice Chair Ditka Reiner, Chasel Lee, and Raynell Cooper.
“San Franciscans deserve a redistricting process that is fair, impartial and led by public input,” said David Woo of SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District. “Instead, what this Task Force has done is political gerrymandering that completely ignores hundreds of hours of public comment. I applaud the Elections Commission for taking steps to ensure their appointees are acting without undue influence and in keeping with their duty.”
Tasked with redrawing the boundaries of San Francisco’s 11 Supervisorial Districts when new census data is released, the Redistricting Task Force is comprised of nine members, three appointed by the Board of Supervisors, three by the Mayor, and three by the Elections Commission.
The conduct of the Task Force to date has raised questions about political influence and disregard for public input.
After months of public input, the Task Force finally started mapping in mid March, despite many advocates calling for draft maps much earlier in the process, as was the practice in many other localities.
The Task Force delayed the release of draft maps against the recommendations made by public commenters and the precedent of neighboring jurisdictions to release the first draft map 3-4 months before the final deadline. The reason Task Force members gave for this delay was that they needed to hear from community members in every district. Yet the initial draft maps that have been considered disregard the majority of public input about communities of interest.
At a Task Force meeting this past Saturday, nearly 120 public commenters called on the Task Force to back away from a map that would split the Tenderloin from SOMA, move it out of D6, and cause dramatic changes to surrounding districts. At that meeting, the Task Force shifted course and voted 8-1, to move forward working off of map 4D, which kept the Tenderloin in District 6. However, two days later the Task Force, with the votes of all of the Elections Commission appointees, made a complete about-face, voting at 3AM to abandon Map 4D entirely, and instead move forward with Map 4B.
“After a half-hearted and disingenuous attempt to work on Map 4D, the Task Force reversed its decision and while we were all sleeping, voted to move forward with a map that no one asked for, in direct defiance of neighborhood needs and public input,” said Jupiter Peraza of the Transgender District. “It was a profoundly undemocratic decision, and we are demanding answers before this dishonest process moves forward. We must fix this because the lives of countless vulnerable and marginalized communities will be impacted for the next 10 years.”
On Wednesday evening, nearly 100 public commenters asked the Elections Commission to look into the conduct and motivations of their appointees. The Commission responded by scheduling a special meeting for Sunday, April 10 at 3pm, at which time they will consider removing some or all three members appointed by the Commission. Applause broke out across the room.