Santa Clara County’s political districts are about to undergo some major changes after a key Board of Supervisors vote Tuesday. Redistricting happens every ten years, after the U.S. census. The board voted 3-2 to adopt a new district boundary map called the ‘90195’ which was being pushed by Supervisors Cindy Chavez, Susan Ellenberg, and Otto Lee, who all voted in favor. Supervisors Joe Simitian and Mike Wasserman voted against it. One of the biggest changes you will notice, according to the Mercury News, is that the entire city of Sunnyvale will now sit in District 3. It had previously been a part of both districts 3 and 5.
Another big change involves Los Gatos, Lexington Hills, San Jose’s Almaden Valley, and cities in the southern portion of the county like Gilroy. They will move from District 1 to District 5. According to San Jose Spotlight, this portion of the map had been contentious and prompted legal complaints from conservatives earlier in the approval process. Critics argued that the 90195 Map was being used to manipulate the upcoming District 1 race.
They claim it forces former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis and Los Gatos Vice Mayor Rob Rennie out of the race because they no longer live in the district. The two other candidates in the District 1 race are progressive and supported by Chavez. Khamis has threatened possible legal action. “It still doesn’t smell right. This is a political move in my eyes. Clear and simple. And I’m really disappointed,” Morgan Hill resident Swanee Edwards told Mercury News.
With a population deviation of 4.1%, the 90195 Map does have a pretty balanced number of people living in each of the five districts. “Every time you touch a census tract it has a ripple effect on another area. So these were really challenging to put together,” Chavez told San Jose Spotlight. The Spotlight also reports that the 90195 Map also creates a “majority-minority Asian-Pacific Islander district in District 3, and maintains a Latino influence district in District 2. 49.5% of District 2 will remain Latino and 50.6% of District 3 Asian American.”
Santa Clara County will publicly release the map by the end of the week. After 3 days of public review, it will be officially adopted on December 14. The new boundaries will actually go into effect about a month later, on January 13th.