San Francisco supervisor districts poised to change now that census data is released 

With new census data come new population counts. And with new population counts comes redistricting. And with redistricting comes politics.

Click on the photo to the right for more census data.

Let the line-drawing begin.

City elections chief John Arntz informed supervisors this week that he’ll be looking at population changes within their districts.

The City’s charter now gives him 60 days to decide whether populations have changed substantially. If they have, the board convenes a committee to redraw districts for the 2012 elections.

Observers are already eyeing the process, and considering how it could change The City’s balance of power.

An analysis of census data shows that some districts will change substantially. The most striking change occurred in District 6 in the South of Market and Civic Center areas, which grew from about 74,605 to 99,549.

Some eastern and southeast districts also saw expansion, including District 10 and District 11. But several districts shrunk slightly, most notably District 9.

The last redistricting became quite political, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Jim Lazarus said. For example, a wealthy portion of the Richmond district was diverted to District 2, which encompassed the Marina and Pacific Heights. That created one moderate district and one that could swing progressive.

Lazarus wondered if the growth in Supervisor John Avalos’ district, or shrinkage in David Campos’ district, could inspire changes that would make those progressive districts more moderate. He noted that growth South of Market is likely to reverberate throughout The City.

 “You don’t just take people from one district and put them in another; you end up moving lines all over The City to some degree,” he said.

Former mayoral candidate Quintin Mecke sat on the last committee, and said the process got political very quickly. He remembered sitting in emotional and angry meetings that lasted until 2 a.m.

Arntz said he will try to provide support and guidance about the process that will limit the drama this time.

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Katie Worth

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