Mayor Barich opened the public hearing and called on Development Services Director Desatnik who explained the Council must adopt, by April 17, 2022, boundaries for the five City Council Member election districts based on 2020 U.S. Census data. The data within the five districts must be substantially equal in population and comply with Federal and State laws with regard to drawing district election boundaries. This was the 4th public hearing and provided the Council an opportunity to select a preferred map and introduce Ordinance No. 2931 amending Chapter 2.03.030 of the Redlands Municipal Code related to the adjustment of election district boundaries. Todd Tatum, of National Demographics Corporation (NDC), presented a brief recap of the redistricting process, reviewed the eight draft maps and the demographic data associated with each one, including those from NDC and the public (listed as: NDC 101, 102, 102b, 102c and 103, Public 1, Public 1b and Public 2).
As public comment, Dennis Bell did not see marked differences between the maps, and he recommended District 5 should be adjusted to include part of the downtown area. Michael Tamony participated in drawing one of the public maps and appreciated the website's user-friendly tools. He advocated for Public Map 1 but found Public Map 1b to be an acceptable second option. Randall Morris voiced his disappointment that Council Members were not working for the community as a whole, and he suggested the City move back to at-large elections. Brian Seghers wasn't convinced of the need to change the existing boundaries but of all the proposed options, he suggested Public Map 1b was the best choice. S. Garcia and Sawn M, residents of District 1, complained that much of the agricultural land of District 1 was being consumed by warehouses. They thought Map 102 best addressed their concerns by bringing apartment communities into a larger diverse region so as not to be overshadowed by business development. Lorraine Enriquez liked Public Map 1, stating it offered more equity across boundaries, and it didn't favor one voting block over another.
Mayor Pro Tem Tejeda supported Public Map 1, as he thought it did the best job of creating compact, clean lines, and he also saw the advantages of Map 1b, which offered a lower deviation number and provided for equal representation. Council Member Guzman-Lowery supported Public Map 1 because it maintained communities of interest while increasing equity and accessibility to all citizens. Council Member Davis said this was a very difficult choice, and she saw the pros and cons of each one presented, but her preference was for Public Map 1, Map 1b or even the current map. She expressed concerns, as did members of the public, about the growing number of warehouses, but said it was not simply a district issue but an issue facing the whole City. Mayor Barich and Council Member Gallagher were comfortable keeping the current map, appreciated how the existing boundaries cut across the north-south divide and pointed out the public was already familiar with the existing district boundaries.
On motion of Council Member Mick Gallagher, seconded by Mayor Paul Barich, the City Council failed to approve the existing district boundary map as the preferred map, due to lack of a majority.
Vote: 2 -3 Failed
Nay: Mayor Pro Tempore Eddie Tejeda, Council Member Denise Davis, Council Member Jenna Guzman-Lowery
On motion of Council Member Jenna Guzman-Lowery, seconded by Council Member Denise Davis, the City Council unanimously approved the selection of Public Map 1 as the Preferred Map; and on motion of Mayor Pro Tempore Eddie Tejeda, seconded by Council Member Jenna Guzman-Lowery, the City Council unanimously introduced Ordinance No. 2931 amending Chapter 2.03.030 of the Redlands Municipal Code relating to the adjustment of current City Council Member Election District Boundaries, with the second reading of the ordinance to occur on March 15, 2022.
Vote: 5 - 0 Passed