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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

UCSD Students See Opportunity to Cut Political Ties To La Jolla

 September 14, 2021 at 11:01 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 How different will San Diego city council districts be after redistricting that's something the city's redistricting committee is working on using the latest census data and public input to decide one change that's being put forward is that the UC San Diego campus and its environs be moved out of district one and into district six advocates of the change say students have very little in common with the affluent and expensive community of LA Jolla in district one, and would be more at home in district six, which includes university, city and Mira Mesa. Now one reporter who has been following the ongoing redistricting debates is Maya Sri Christian, a voice of San Diego and Maya. Welcome. Speaker 2: 00:45 Thank you for having me. Speaker 1: 00:47 What's the fundamental reason some student advocates want out of district one. Speaker 2: 00:52 So there's a lot of reasons, but the primary reason is that students at UCFD have really been feeling the housing crunch that we all feel throughout the county, but, um, they've been feeling it especially hard with the pandemic. Uh, they've really been struggling to live in areas near the university. Speaker 1: 01:11 What do they think they'd have more of a voice in either changing housing policies or being, uh, having access to more affordable housing in district six? Speaker 2: 01:20 So right now UCFD is part of district one, which contains some very affluent communities like LA Hoya. Uh, and the students say that oftentimes what this results in is that the representative on the city council and the planning group are mostly focused on doing things for single family homeowners, which generally means trying to keep their housing values. High district six is a district with more businesses. It has a different socioeconomic, uh, picture than district one. And so people, um, the students particular feel that they would have more in common with residents of district six and that their city council representative, if they were a part of district six would be more focused on things like creating more affordable housing in their region. Speaker 1: 02:11 And there's also a demographic angle to the desire to change districts. Tell us about that. Speaker 2: 02:17 So district six, uh, when it was formed in 2011, became the city's Asian empowerment district and it had a high enough proportion of Asian residents that they would have a significant say in who was elected. Um, the UCS student body is really diverse, especially in compared to district one. And it includes a lot of Asian and Asian American students. So if you CSD, and some of the surrounding areas like Sorento valley, um, university city, uh, were added to district six, it would actually increase the percentage of Asians in that community. Um, from, I think what one of the maps presented recently showed was that it could raise it to about 42% of the entire population of that district six as it was drawn. Um, and right now district six, as it currently is, has about 35% of the population is Asian. Speaker 1: 03:19 This debate over where UC San Diego should be placed is only one of several redistricting debates that you've been covering. One that involves San Diego's Vietnamese community finds that community dispersed over four city council districts right now doesn't it. Speaker 2: 03:35 So, um, the city's Vietnamese community has grown significantly. It's more than doubled since the last round of redistricting a decade ago. Um, but as you mentioned right now, it's split into multiple city council districts. Uh, so there are several different solutions that various leaders in the community have put forward. Um, to be honest, it probably will be impossible to bring all of the Vietnamese community into one district because districts need to be geographically contiguous and connected. And there's a bulk of the community in today's, um, districts, six it's near Mesa. There's also some in Linda Vista. And then there's also some on sort of the Eastern side of the city, uh, in city Heights. And in some parts of today's districts for some of the solutions have really focused on, um, around district six, uh, potentially bringing Linda Vista, which has a really high number of Vietnamese residents into, um, district six, which again is the current like Asian empowerment issue. Speaker 1: 04:35 Okay. On the flip side, though, you reported on some Asian American residents of park village and Rancho Penasquitos who want to be taken out of district six and returned with the rest of Penasquitos. Why is that? Speaker 2: 04:47 Yeah, so this is one of the most interesting things about the redistricting process is that, um, you know, all of us have multiple identities, uh, and when it comes to what community we live in, um, what city council district we want to be in, who we want to vote with, that who we want to represent us, um, different identities can take priority over others. And in this case, park village is a part of retro conocidos. That was split off from the rest of the Rancho. Penasquitos back in 2011 to be added to district six. The community is, um, very diverse, has a lot of Asian families. And so it helped create that Asian empowerment district into these district six, but a lot of the residents, um, even a lot of the Asian Asian American residents really wanted to remain a part of Rancho Penasquitos and they prioritize that identity over their identity as Asian-Americans, when it came to how they want it to be represented. And they felt, and continue to feel today that they have more in common when it comes to the issues that they want the city to deal with, um, with the rest of Rancho Penasquitos, um, rather than some of the communities and districts Speaker 1: 05:58 Now, right now, the redistricting committee is hearing from planning associations all over the city. Do we have any idea when the new districts will be announced? Speaker 2: 06:07 So this redistricting process has been, um, very different from past ones in terms of the timeline. We got them census data very late, uh, and the commission is still going through public hearings and hasn't actually started growing its map or anything like that. Um, as of now, the districts need to be final, um, by December. Uh, so the redistricting commission probably in the next couple of months, we'll put out to maps and then get feedback from the community on those maps before it actually comes out with the final maps. Speaker 1: 06:42 I've been speaking with reporter Maya, Sri Krishnan, a voice of San Diego, Maya. Thank you. Speaker 2: 06:48 Thanks for having me. Speaker 3: 06:55 [inaudible].

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In public statements to the San Diego Redistricting Commission, students highlighted several issues that they believe should separate them from La Jolla, including transportation, differences in demographics and where they spend their time. But the biggest issue by far is housing.
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