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San Diego finalizes new map of City Council districts

final map.PNG
The final map of new City Council districts is seen here.

San Diego's independent Redistricting Commission on Wednesday finalized a new map of City Council districts that unites some neighborhoods into a single council district, but splits up other neighborhoods into two or more districts.

Among the major changes to the map are moving Pacific Beach from District 2 to District 1, moving University City from District 1 to District 6 and splitting Mission Valley between Districts 3, 7 and 9.

The map was approved on a 7-2 vote. Commission Chair Tom Hebrank said the map struck a fair balance, and that trade offs were inevitable.

"The final map and plan also reunited several communities that had been split in 2010, including Linda Vista, Clairemont and Rancho Penasquitos," Hebrank said. "The commission was not able to keep every community whole without violating other redistricting principles and maintaining an equal population balance, and it was necessary to split some of the communities in the final map and plan."

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Activists strongly criticized the commission for its decision in October to reject their proposed map that would have merged La Jolla with Pacific Beach and Point Loma to create a single coastal district with major population centers. That map, the activists said, allowed the commission to accomplish nearly all their other goals of unifying neighborhoods and creating more districts that empower minority communities.

Commissioner Justine Nielsen, one of the two "no" votes, said rejecting the activists' map was a mistake.

"And as a result, we were forced into making tough decisions and sort of pitting those (disadvantaged) communities against each other, rather than making those tough decisions in those historically advantaged communities," Nielsen said.

San Diego finalizes new map of City Council districts

The final map approved Wednesday also splits the UC San Diego campus into two districts. The portion west of Interstate-5, which houses mostly undergraduates, remains grouped with La Jolla in District 1. The eastern portion, which houses mostly graduate students, is paired with the more diverse University City and Mira Mesa in District 6.

Students had been organizing for months to separate the entire UCSD campus from La Jolla, which they say often works against their interests of adding more affordable housing and density close to campus.