On Tuesday December 14, 2021, the County of San Diego Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) adopted the new supervisorial districts map. We are proud to report that the IRC heard our voices and our Latinx community of interest was kept together in a North County district (D5).
The 2021 County of San Diego redistricting process provided us a unique opportunity to learn about county government, to be civically involved and to experience democracy in action. Along with thousands of community members, Universidad Popular stood in front of the County of San Diego IRC, submitted written comments, and called-in to share stories about the places that matter to us, our families, and our neighbors and the values that glue our communities together. We traveled from Fallbrook, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Valley Center, Pauma, Pala, and other North County neighborhoods to participate in every in-person meeting held across the county.
Throughout the process we conveyed the long history of political neglect our Latinx community has experienced in North County. We shared with the Commission that many of us come from farmworker families. Some of our grandparents and parents first came as Braceros or contracted workers brought to work in the fields, orchards, and ranches across North County. Many of them lived in the infamous makeshift migrant camps that were nestled in the canyons hidden from the rest of society. For decades, we were just expected to live and work in silence.
The majority of Latinx settled in urban barrios or neighborhoods in North County cities across the region where apartments and older houses were most affordable. Although there are over 300,000 Latinx living across North County, each city has at least one majority Latinx district where our families have lived for generations. We are a tight community that bands together and helps each other in times of need like during devastating wildfires or most recently during the covid-19 pandemic. We recognize that our community has experienced historic disparities and inequities, with zero to little political representation. Mexicans have lived in San Diego County since before it became part of the United States and Latinxs make up 1.1 million people, the largest non-White group living in the county. Despite the large population, Latinxs have had zero representation in county government for almost 170 years. The institutionalized practice of gerrymandering that has diluted the power of Mexican/Latinx voters is deeply rooted in political structures and institutions but change is inevitable. We had not had representation at the supervisorial level until the most recent election in November 2020 when District One (1) elected Supervisor Vargas.
Unfortunately, North County’s large Latinx and immigrant population remains blatantly and disproportionately underserved and underrepresented. To address this political inequity, we advocated to keep the North County Latinx community of interest under a single North County Supervisorial District that includes the cities and communities of Oceanside, Camp Pendleton, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, and surrounding unincorporated and tribal communities. This clustering of cities and unincorporated communities that comprises the coastal, urban, and rural communities, the transportation corridors, the chambers of commerce, and the vast network of businesses and organizations that make up North County will ensure our San Diego County’s Latinx voters in North County are given a fair opportunity to elect candidates of their choice while protecting our rights under the Voting Rights Act.
By submitting virtual and in-person public comments, our voices were heard throughout the mapping process. Keeping our community of interest together on the new supervisorial map was possible thanks to a broad coalition of individuals and organizations from throughout the County who advocated with a united voice to keep Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, Oceanside, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, and surrounding unincorporated and tribal communities together. Specific individuals and organizations who advocated to unite North County include Universidad Popular, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, Arnulfo Manriquez (President & CEO of MAAC), VOCES de Fallbrook, Leticia Maldonado-Stamos, Proyecto Trans Latina, People Not Places Coalition, Fallbrook Planning Group, Ross L. Pike (Hon. Fallbrook Planning Group Member), Alianza Comunitaria, Lila MacDonald (Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce CEO), Hon. Esther Sanchez (Mayor of Oceanside), Gloria Conejo (People Not Places Coalition (Escondido)), Hon. Maria Nuñez (San Marcos City Councilmember), Lilian Serrano (Universidad Popular & People Not Places Coalition (Escondido)), Hon. Jennifer Jeffries (Fallbrook Regional Health District), Marissa Allen (People Not Places Coalition (Valley Center)), Hon. Michele McCaffery (Fallbrook Planning Group), Victoria Belmart (Proyecto Trans Latina), Jamie Arangue ( Proyecto Trans Latina), Nedy Velazquez (People Not Places Coalition (Escondido)), Justin Domecillo (People Not Places Coalition (Vista)), Hon. Ricardo Favela (Fallbrook Elementary Board Member & Voces de Fallbrook), Hon. Martha Alvarado (Vista Unified School District Board Member), Hon. Eric Joyce (Oceanside School Board Member Trustee), Hon. Stephanie Ortiz (Fallbrook Regional Health District Board Member), Joy Frew (Fallbrook), Tom Frew (Fallbrook), Hon. Consuelo Martinez (Escondido City Councilmember), Hon. Corinna Contreras (Vista City Councilmember), Flor Deluna Alvarez (Universidad Popular & Pillars of the Community), Wayne Godinet (Samoan Community), Pala Band of Mission Indians, Southern CA Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc., Laurie E. Gonzalez (Councilwoman with Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians), Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez (Universidad Popular).Thank you for coming together to represent North County with one voice.
To see more pictures follow this link.
On the news:
Can newly drawn districts in San Diego County protect minorities’ voting blocs? by Deborah Sullivan Brennan (SD Union Tribune)
How should North County fit in new San Diego County supervisor district boundaries? by Deborah Sullivan Brennan (SD Union Tribune)
Final vote on new boundaries for county supervisor districts delayed by John Carroll (KPBS)