In late 2013 as the city’s redistricting process began to wind down, several organizations involved in the Oakland Votes Coalition and city officials began talking about the possibility of creating a Citizens Redistricting Commission to avoid the usual politicized process in Oakland every 10 years. The commission concept has been discussed as being somewhat aligned to the structures of those used in the California State Redistricting and the model that Austin implemented (based on California’s).
The main components for consideration in creating such a commission are:
- Independently appointed citizen commissioners;
- Diversity amongst commissioners;
- Size of commission;
- Budget & staffing support;
- Authority & Process;
- Cycle- Oakland is on a strange cycle, a year or two behind other cities/states, we can correct that;
- Disqualifying factors for commissioners;
- Who gets to appoint or nominate; and
- Timeframe for existence- an ad-hoc committee can form the year of a redistricting process and be terminated after the process and any court cases are complete.
The groups present in the discussions so far include: Council Members Schaaf and Kalb, The League of Women Voters, Urban Strategies Council. ACCE, Oakland Rising and the Greenlining Institute. This is not a formal body of any kind and the group is not limited to these organizations.
To get broader feedback on this concept the city and the coalition are seeking your ideas, you can respond in the survey here.
The current intention is that this could be passed by City Council for inclusion in the November election as a ballot measure. This will require Council to hear and approve this starting in May 2014. it will result in a Charter Amendment to create such a commission if the ballot were to pass.
Those who would like to be involved organizationally can contact the Oakland Votes Coalition or Council Member Kalb or Schaaf’s offices.
In 2013 we created a number of resources to inform our community about redistricting and voting patterns in Oakland, check out our dynamic voting outcomes map tool and our summary of the redistricting outcomes here.