New county district maps were not unanimously approved
PHOENIX — Over objections from a West Valley member, Maricopa’s board of supervisors last week approved a map that will define the boundaries of its five districts through 2030.
District 5 Supervisor Steve Gallardo said the map four of his colleagues voted for, known in the redistricting process as Map 5A, does not give Latino voters the same opportunity.
Gallardo was the only “no” to vote as the board voted on a 5A card, with the 2A card being the other “finalist” discussed at a June 30 meeting.
Gallardo said he was frustrated with the even distribution of Latino voters among multiple districts using the chosen map and the distribution of Latino neighborhoods and communities of interest using the map’s boundaries.
The card will be used for Supervisor, Justice of the Peace and Special Medical Districts in elections. It will come into effect on January 1, 2023, so the elections in August and November this year will follow the existing limits.
Gallardo released a statement after the June 30 vote.
“The redistricting map approved today by my colleagues is a step backwards for many communities of interest in Maricopa County, including Latino voters as a whole,” Gallardo said in the statement. “This map gives them less political power, not more. Low-income families in West Mesa will now compete to have their voices heard in a district that includes Scottsdale, Arcadia and Fountain Hills.
After a pair of meetings and an executive session in late June, focusing on five possible final maps and gathering feedback from the public, the school district, and the municipality, the board added two modified maps, called Map 2A and Map 5A, among which Choose.
The Board narrowed its choices to Card 2A and Card 5A for the June 30 meeting agenda. July 1 was the deadline to complete the maps using the late 2020 U.S. Census data; the county compound was redesigned last fall.
Gallardo pointed out at the June 30 meeting that the biggest adjustments took place in an effort to achieve a map that equalized the populations in each of the five districts. He said the Latin American Coalition had submitted a map proposal and that Map 2A kept the city of Guadalupe in District 5, where it was historically, while keeping the Alhambra community inside. west of Phoenix in a single district.
Gallardo said he opposes dividing the city of Tempe into some sort of north-south halves — the southern half into District 1 and the northern half into District 2.
District 1 Supervisor Jack Sellers said the 2A map would have taken away half of his current voters, so he backed the 5A map.
District 3, where Board Chairman Bill Gates is the overseer, will have enough Latin American population to vote for the 5A map, Gates said.
Gallardo disagreed, pointing out that the average Latino population of 19.6% in each of the five districts, using Map 5A, is much lower than the estimated 32% Latino population in the county. from Maricopa.
“We decided to take the lowest opportunity,” Gallardo said. “We have six cards that show we can go higher than 19.6%, and we’re not doing it. We don’t serve communities of color the best we can. »
Gates asked attorney David Cantelme, who was at the meeting, if he concluded the 5A card met all legal reviews and requirements.
Cantelme said he would prefer to advise the board behind closed doors, adding that the seven card picks were created “in good faith.”
“(A consultant) looked at nine races, including county listener races Fontes vs. Purcell (2016) and Fontes vs. Richer (2020), and determined that 22% was the percentage at which Latinos could elect a candidate from their choice, most of the time,” Cantelme said.
District 4 Supervisor Clint Hickman, whose district covers much of the Northwest Valley and beyond, said his district will be fewer in number, but with land still available to develop, he knows the district 4 will have more people in 2030 compared to 2020. .
In his statement, Gallardo lamented that the Alhambra area was no longer in his neighborhood and that Tempe was bifurcated.
“The people I have portrayed in the Alhambra neighborhood will find fewer people sharing their experience in a new neighborhood,” Gallardo wrote. “And Tempe, which has always been seen as a community of interest, has been divided, diluting its residents’ ability to speak with one voice.”
Vendors said it was a plus for Arizona State University to have two supervisors representing the campus.
Gallardo and the other four supervisors all thanked Scott Jarret of the Department of Elections and others for the redistricting purposes, as well as for providing data.
However, Gallardo wrote, he’s not happy that Latino Maricopa County drowned out their voices, in his opinion.
“I appreciate the difficulty of the redrawing and the work that has gone into this effort,” Gallardo wrote. “But let’s face it, Maricopa County isn’t 80 percent Republican and it’s over 20 percent Latino. Maricopa County’s district boundaries should reflect this reality.”