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Grand Jury Says San Diego Redistricting ‘Timely, Professional’ But Needs Updating

The San Diego County Grand Jury today praised the work of the city of San Diego's Redistricting Commission and City Attorney and City Clerk's offices for redrawing council district boundaries, but said the process needs to be updated.

The commission, which came under fire for the way its members were selected and was criticized for using an allegedly ineligible member, re-mapped the districts in "a timely and professional manner,'' the jurors found. The district boundaries are altered every 10 years in accordance with updated U.S. census data.

However, the Grand Jury said changes to the court system and the city's governmental structure require amendments to the City Charter.

The charter currently refers to municipal courts, which no longer exist, and a city manager, which San Diego no longer has after adopting its strong-mayor form of government.

Among the Grand Jury's suggestions are to change the charter to refer to the Superior Court, and change city manager to chief operating officer.

The jurors also recommended expanding the current 30-day nominating period for commissioners to at least 90 days; have an alternate judge named in case a judge appointed to select commissioners from the nominating pool becomes unavailable; and creating a group of consultants for the commission to use ahead of time.

The 2010-11 commission was selected by two retired judges, instead of the required three, because the third was dealing with a family emergency.

The selections by the two ex-judges prevailed in court, however. A challenge to the eligibility of a commissioner who took a new job in Los Angeles also failed.

Mayor Jerry Sanders, City Clerk Elizabeth Maland and the City Council have until Aug. 29 to respond to the report.

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