SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A San Francisco supervisor would be effectively kicked out of his own district under new proposed boundaries.
Rafael Mandelman represents District 8, which encompasses the Castro, Noe Valley and surrounding neighborhoods. He lives on Valencia Street, which was cut from his district under new maps being proposed by the task force in charge of redrawing the boundaries of San Francisco’s 11 districts.
“I’d like to not be drawn out of my district,” Mandelman told KRON4. The new eastern boundary of the district would be Guerrero Street, excising Valencia Street.
Complicating matters is that Mandelman is already running for re-election in District 8. Supervisors have to live in the districts they represent.
This is one of many issues that Mandelman in particular and San Franciscans in general have expressed about the maps, which are redrawn every decade after U.S. Census data are released.
Since District 6, comprising south of Market and the Tenderloin, saw such population growth between 2010 and 2020, it will have to shrink in size, which will lead to changes in the shapes of other districts.
Mandelman and other LGBTQ local leaders are concerned that the new proposed District 8 will dilute the voice of the community in politics.
“There has been an LGBTQ community of interest in District 8 and it’s important to preserve their ability to elect future queer supervisors,” Mandelman said. “I have that concern the only queer person on any of the boards of supervisors in the Bay Area at the moment.”
The first map the redistricting task force came out with was heavily criticized. It drew the northern border at District 8 at Market Street, effectively splitting the Castro.
“The original map cut the Castro in half,” Mandelman said. “That doesn’t make sense.”
The most recent map proposal restores much of those blocks, but doesn’t include many of the areas around Twin Peaks.
“They appear to be listening,” Mandelman stated, responding to the more recent map. “The most recent map is a step in the right direction toward recognizing and preserving the integrity of the LGBTQ community of interest in District 8.”
Other areas of the city that could see changes: part of south of Market might be joined to District 3, which currently encompasses the Financial District, Chinatown and North Beach, and more of the Inner Sunset might be joined to District 5, which currently encompasses the Haight and Japantown. (The Haight would be in District 1 under at least one new proposal.)
The next task force meeting is April 2 at 10 a.m. The meetings are virtual, and people can call in to address their concerns to the task force, which must have a final decision in a few weeks.
The task force did not initially respond to a request for comment for this report. Ditka Reiner, the vice chair of the task force, returned a KRON4 request for comment Wednesday, saying “I can’t comment on any supervisor or his position. We are now allowed to consider politics in the redistricting process.”
“I didn’t even know the district where he was,” Reiner said. Other than one supervisor who Reiner has known for a long time, she said “I don’t know where any of them live and don’t want to.”
Reiner said that the district populations have to be within 1% of the mean at first, though they can go up to 5% in either direction to accommodate a community of interest.
This means that “it’s a really hard map to square.” Initial maps are as close to the mean as possible, Reiner said, so that accommodations can be made later.
The final map has to be submitted by April 14.