BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Wednesday evening, the City Council met to discuss the redistricting process. It was the second of five meetings to be held.
City staff presented the first draft map of the boundaries.
Assistant to the City Manager of the City of Bakersfield Brianna Carrier said they have hired consultants to help with it.
“We actually did onboard a few consultants to help us with our demographic analysis and some technical assistance. We are working with redistricting partners.”
Through the City Council's consultants, Redistricting Partners, the first draft map is called a "Minimal Change" option, said a city official.
Still, the Coordinator of Civic Engagement at the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Eliana Honeycutt, said voters in specific areas will be negatively impacted.
“This is essentially resulting in the disenfranchisement of the east Bakersfield Latino population by the greater voting district.”
Yet, Carrier said redistricting is designed to benefit communities: “Redistricting serves to empower local communities and preserve voting rights.”
According to the city, only one map has been submitted from the public from the Kern County Equitable Maps Coalition. The map was received a few hours prior to Wednesday's meeting. The city encourages the public to submit maps using the Community Mapping Tool. A Spanish-language version is also available.
Thanks to Assembly Bill 849 cities and counties are required to engage communities in the redistricting process.
The next meeting is on Feb. 23rd with other meetings scheduled for March 16 and April 6th. A final vote expected at the April 6th City Council meeting, according to the city.