Costa Mesa City Council members are looking for residents to give their input on how the city’s election district lines should be redrawn before next year’s election.
The redistricting process occurs every 10 years throughout the entire state — including counties and cities with election districts — after the nationwide U.S. Census has been completed.
Costa Mesa’s home to six districts, including a Latino majority District 4.
At the city’s first redistricting public hearing on Tuesday, the council received and filed a staff presentation and heard public input regarding the existing boundary lines.
City officials didn’t mention anything like a resident-driven redistricting committee, but they did say three will be some workshops down the road.
Many speakers at Tuesday’s public hearing said they were unhappy with the current district lines and the number of districts.
Other people were concerned about how much their opinions mattered.
“I do hope that this isn’t just an exercise to fulfill a legal requirement that there be a public hearing, but that this actually be meaningful,” one resident said during public comment over Zoom Tuesday. “Last time around, all the input that people put in and participated in for hours really came to naught at the end, so I’m hoping this is actually meaningful input.”
Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens said in a phone interview Wednesday that he values the community opinion that will come up in the public meetings.
“From my perspective, there’s going to be robust efforts to get public feedback,” Stephens said. “We are a very accessible council, and so even if people aren’t able to reach out and give their feedback through the formal methods we are very open, adn people know how to reach us by email and cell phone.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, city staff presented opportunities for residents to draw their own maps and review tools for residents to weigh in on the potential changes.
Tuesday’s initial hearing also discussed the timeline for the rest of the redistricting process.
The first public hearing was held prior to the release of draft maps to educate and solicit input from the community, officials said.
Next, the city will receive the 2020 census data in a couple weeks. The second of the four public hearings is slated for Oct. 12, when city officials will formally present the 2020 census data and conduct a workshop.
In addition, city officials will hold three community forums Sept. 23, Sept. 25 and Oct. 23 for the community to provide input and comment on the redistricting maps.
Two draft map hearings are scheduled for Nov. 16 and Jan. 18 to discuss and revise the draft maps and to debate the election sequence.
The process is slated to last until Feb. 1, 2022, when the final maps are planned to be adopted.
The state deadline for adoption is April 17, 2022.
Some council members mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting that they also want to coordinate the redistricting efforts with other government bodies in the city like school districts.
Angelina Hicks is a Voice of OC News Intern. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @angelinahicks13.