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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

After the Federal Census was performed in the Spring of 2020 a mandate to redraw political district lines applies. In Arizona that is for congressional districts, state legislative districts and local districts.

Glendale began this process this summer after the hiring of a consultant to assist with the technical aspects of the process. Glendale’s new map with council districts must be submitted to the state no later than December 15, 2021.

The city council has had a series of workshops on the issue and there has been a period of public comment. Below is the public comment that has been received to date and presented to city council at its most recent workshop on November 9, 2020.

Please note that one citizen comment was made requesting that the Copperwood community not be divided. This citizen request was accommodated by the consultant and the city council. Three citizens asked that the Independence Heights community remain within the Yucca district. Neither the consultant nor the city council accommodated these citizens’ request as can be seen by the preferred city council map, Draft A, presented by the consultants. See Map A here:

The traditional redistricting guidelines for consideration in drawing districts includes three items of particular importance. One is to preserve communities of interest another is to accommodate planned future growth and the third is to have a “nearly equal number of inhabitants” (Arizona Statute 9—473.B). Here are the guidelines, federal, state and traditional:

In my opinion, some of these guidelines have been not been satisfied. Lets take a look at future growth within the districts. Please refer to this map:

You will see numbers for each district. Upon receiving clarification from the consultant, these numbers refer to the number of residential units already approved or in the pipeline and anticipated to be approved. The nationally recognized multiplier of occupants per residential unit is 2.3.

  • Cholla 533 units       X 2.3       increased population expected of 1,225.9
  • Sahuaro 944 units    X 2.3       increased population expected of 2,171.2
  • Barrel 859 units       X 2.3       increased population expected of 1,975.7
  • Cactus 342 units      X 2.3       increased population expected of 786.6
  • Ocotillo 410 units     X 2.3       increased population expected of 943
  • Yucca 7848 units      X 2.3       increased population expected of 18,050.4

Also consider this:

                                 Current population Map A          Future planned population by district

  • Cholla      39,793             +1,225.9                                     40,018.9
  • Sahuaro   42,051             +2,171.2                                     44,222.2
  • Barrel      41,210             +1,975.7                                     43,185.7
  • Cactus     43,132               +786.6                                      43,918.6
  • Ocotillo    42,409               + 943                                        43,352.0
  • Yucca       39,820           +18.050.4                                     57,870.04

The startling fact that should be immediately apparent is that the Yucca district is expected to see an increase in population of nearly 20,000 new residents in the next few years. It will have a population of 13,000 more residents than Sahuaro district projected to have a population of 44,222.2.

Legal guidelines do permit accommodation for future growth. However, there is one caveat to that guideline. The Supreme Court has granted safe harbor for population plan deviations up to 10%. Map A offers a deviation of total population of 8.06%. However, that deviation is occurring in Sahuaro, Cactus and Ocotillo districts. I’m not convinced that adding another percentage point in total population deviation would make any substantial difference.

However, while accommodating the Copperwood community, Map A offers no accommodation for the Independence Heights neighborhood’s request to remain in the Yucca district. This is a distinct community of interest between Ocotillo Road and Maryland Avenue, 71st Avenue to 75th Avenue. I am convinced that the consultants could have accommodated their request with minimal disruption to other council district boundaries.

I found it astonishing that Councilmember Aldama, representing the Ocotillo district, into which Independence Heights would go, paraphrasing made the following comment, If I am losing the Sands neighborhood, it should be compensated for by including Independence Heights in the Ocotillo district.  His comment virtually makes Independence Heights a pawn or consolation prize for losing the Sands neighborhood. I didn’t know that’s the way districts were to be drawn.

I am surprised that the only Councilmember that recognized the issues and supported keeping the Independence Heights neighborhood in the Yucca district was Councilmember Turner and for that, I thank him. To support their interests and their boundaries the rest of the council was willing to sacrifice the interests of the Yucca district.

Here’s two maps that I created. Obviously, they are not perfect. They were not vetted by the consultants and even though the population deviations are lower than the consultant’s Map A, they recognize that at some point council district boundaries are going to have to change dramatically to accommodate the growth occurring in the Yucca district. That is what occurs in my proposed draft maps. The Ocotillo boundary has to shift west at some point and that will create a domino effect in all of the other districts with their common boundaries moving further south. In fact, it should happen this time but it won’t.

 

A powerhouse in Glendale has not only been created but perpetuated for the next ten years until the 2030 census. The Yucca district is the largest geographically. The Yucca district will be the most populated of all 6 districts. The Yucca district is the epicenter of not only residential development but economic development as well.

If anything makes the case for the completion of Heroes Park, after 23 years of waiting for sports fields, a recreation and aquatics center, expansion of the smallest library in the city system and a dog park, this is it.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Every ten years, Glendale is required to redraw its City Council districts based on data from the U.S. Census. The process is called redistricting and the goal is to make sure each Council district has approximately equal population.

Let’s begin with the Census data for 2020 provided to the city.  On July of 2019 the Census Bureau’s estimated population for Glendale was 252,387. It’s final, official count of Glendale is 248,325.

Everyone in the State believes the Bureau’s count is wrong and the population was undercounted. Experts said they expected to see even higher rates of growth. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., who specializes in census data and urban populations, said he expected to see a higher growth rate in Arizona. Cities with council districts redraw those boundaries every 10 years after each U.S. census.

Four cities looking to redistrict by the next election in November include: 

  • Mesa
  • Glendale
  • Peoria
  • Buckeye

Other Valley cities, such as Chandler, Scottsdale and Goodyear, don’t use a district system,      instead electing council members on a citywide basis.

Look at this chart for Glendale.

City-data.com got its numbers from the Maricopa County estimates. I have no idea how the County arrived at these figures.

Please note, according to Census data, that every council district but the Yucca district added from 2,000+ in population to 6,000+ in population. Yet the Yucca district supposedly lost 315. Can anyone in their right mind believe this? The Yucca district has exploded over the last 10 years with new residential subdivisions (Copper Cove, Bethany Ranch and Positano to name just a few) as well as new apartment complexes. Yet, in the past ten years the Yucca district lost 315 people? Ridiculous. It’s nuts. The data makes no sense. The city should be requesting a recount of the Yucca district data. Someone, somewhere screwed up. If you put garbage in, garbage comes out. I suspect that the Yucca district, in fact, gained about 10,000 in population over the last decade.

Not only that, but the Census Bureau has also been late in releasing census block data (will do so this month, September) on population counts, the very data needed to redraw districts.  As a result, Glendale has until December 15, 2021, about 3 months, to submit their new council districts to the State.

Here are the guidelines, city council adopted, that shall be used to redraw the districts:

  • Each district shall respect communities of interest as much as possible;
  • District borders shall follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible;
  • District borders shall be drawn to avoid locating more than one current Councilmember in any one district as much as possible;
  • Each new district shall preserve the corresponding existing district’s population and territory as much as possible;
  • Districts known to be areas of higher-than-average population growth in the two to five years following redistricting, based on development projects that have received final plat approval from the City, may be under populated within the population deviation amounts allowed by law;
  • To the extent possible, consistent with constitutional law and the requirements of federal and state statutes, each district shall contain a substantially equal number of electors.

 

 

 

The city has created a dedicated web site allowing all Glendale residents not only information about the redistricting process but on or about September 16th the public can see the population data by census block and draw their own redistricting maps. Here is the link to the web site:

https://glendaleaz.com/your_government/connect/departments/city_clerk/redistricting/current_district_map

You can learn more and get involved by attending one of three public Glendale workshops. By the time of these city hosted workshops occur the appropriate data should be available on the city website to any citizen who wants it. Here are the workshop dates:

 Monday, September 20  2:00 p.m. Glendale City Council Chambers
5850 W. Glendale Avenue
 Wednesday, September 22  10:00 a.m. Glendale Main Library Auditorium
5959 W. Brown Street
 Monday, September 27  6:30 p.m. Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center
Coyote Room
5600 W. Union Hills Drive

Why should we focus on redistricting whether it be on a local, state or national level? We all vote for those representatives that most closely align with our values and goals. With redrawn districts you may find that now you are in a district that has a representative with whose values and goals with which you disagree. By involving yourselves in the redistricting process your input will contribute toward making sure that your representative actually represents you.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Saturday, July 24, 2021, the Arizona Redistricting Commission held a public hearing at Glendale’s Civic Center to obtain public comment on their mission to create new legislative districts within the State of Arizona. Their prime directive is to preserve “communities of interest.”

Unfortunately, the last Commission failed miserably to do so in Glendale and divided Glendale into 5 legislative districts, more than any other Valley city. So much for preserving or even recognizing Glendale as a whole as a “community of interest.” I have prepared some illustrations. The data I used came from www.city-data.com .See the graphic below:

Current state legislative districts

The problem with 5 legislative districts is that each contains only a small portion of Glendale’s voters. These legislative districts are very large and with 5 districts in Glendale, our voter base in each of these districts is very diluted. In other words, Glendale voters in each of these legislative districts are such a small percentage of each district’s total voter base, there is no imperative by each of these legislators to represent our interests (our “community of interest”).

I would ask the Commission to consider this suggestion for a legislative district map for Glendale:

Proposed state legislative districts

On another note, legislative districts are not the only districts that have to be redrawn after the census. So, too, do Glendale’s council districts. Since the last census in 2010, the council districts are no longer equal in population. Take a look at this graphic:

Council districts by population

As you can see, the Yucca district with a population of 72,077 is double the population of the Ocotillo and Cholla districts and nearly double that of the Sahuaro and Barrell districts. Cactus district will surprise most as its population has grown to 65,620 people.

The city council will consider and most likely, approve the hiring of a consultant to redraw Glendale’s council district boundaries. I would expect some radical changes to the current boundaries to get as close to ensuring that all districts have as close to equal population as possible.

The greatest shift may well be seeing the Yucca district’s eastern boundary move westward. How much is anyone’s guess but another imperative is to leave enough population allowance to accommodate future population growth. That is expected to be in the Yucca district as more residential units are developed west of the Loop 101 along Ballpark Boulevard.  It is possible that its eastern boundary will move further westward than expected to allow for future population increase over the next 10 years.

These redistricting efforts, statewide and in Glendale, will impact voters and candidates. Candidates would be wise to wait until the new district boundaries are approved before collecting nominating petition signatures. If they start now, they may end up with petition signatures from voters who are no longer in their newly configured districts.

As these new districts are approved be sure to check your (possible) new voting precinct and where you will be voting in the 2022 elections next year.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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