SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is blasting a decision of the city’s elections commission that it will reconsider its appointments to the Redistricting Task Force amid protests over proposals to drastically change the maps of supervisorial districts.
“On Wednesday night, the Elections Commission — a non-political body that, per the San Francisco Charter, appoints three of the nine Redistricting Task Force members — took the shocking and unprecedented step of scheduling a last-minute late Sunday afternoon meeting to consider replacing its three redistricting appointees, whom it appointed months ago after an open and public application process,” Wiener stated. “If the Commission makes this move and replaces its appointees, those appointees will take their seats under a shadow, literally the day before the Task Force is required to publish its final map.”
There are 11 districts in San Francisco, each represented by a single supervisor. Every 10 years, these districts are re-drawn based on census results. The task force has until April 14 to submit a final map.
The task force is made up of members appointed by the mayor, the elections commission, and the board of supervisors itself.
As KRON4 previously reported, people are protesting that one map splits up two heavily LGBTQ neighborhoods, namely south of Market and the Tenderloin, leading to a rally against the proposed changes just yesterday.
In addition to complaints over new proposed boundaries for District 6 and District 8, others have complained about a new District 5 map that would remove Haight-Ashbury.
Wiener said he doesn’t agree with some of the maps that have been proposed, either.
“I have my own opinions,” Wiener stated. “Indeed, there are aspects of the current draft map that are very frustrating to me, for example, negative changes to District 8’s eastern border and the failure to unify the Tenderloin/SOMA cultural districts.”
Wiener, who used to represent the Castro neighborhood on the city’s board of supervisors, called the move to consider replacing members of the task force “shady.”
“Let’s be clear: The Elections Commission’s move, under political pressure, to replace its appointees would send a clear signal that San Francisco’s redistricting process is about raw, hardball political power and nothing else,” Wiener stated. “The public will understandably and reasonably view the redistricting process as hyper-politicized, which is exactly what the voters’ creation of an independent redistricting task force was supposed to avoid.”
Wiener compared the move to “how Republicans are acting in other states regarding local election boards that certify elections — specifically, if you don’t like the result of a legally created, structured democratic process, just change who’s allowed to make those decisions so that you get the political result you want.”
Edward Wright of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club told KRON4 he is thankful for the elections commission’s decision to consider replacing their appointments.
“The LGBTQ community has been clear, consistent, and united in calling to protect our communities of interest by keeping the Transgender District and Leather District together in District 6,” Wright stated. “The task force has flagrantly ignored queer and trans voices, communities, neighborhoods, and cultural institutions — from all political sides. This is about ensuring our communities and our minority voting rights are not illegally disenfranchised or diminished. The integrity and independence of this process has already been damaged by task force members ignoring their legal obligations and public input. The Elections Commission has a responsibility to defend our democracy, and I’m glad to see they’re taking that responsibility seriously.”
The task force did not respond to an immediate request for comment.