Measure S: Referendum on City Council Redistricting Plan

  • Simple Majority Required

The Question: Should Berkeley voters approve the current redistricting plan for City Council districts, based on the 2010 Census and adopted by the City Council on December 17, 2013? Should the City continue to use this plan until the Council redraws the districts again following the 2020 Census?

What Measure S Would Do: Measure S would adopt the redistricting plan approved by the Council on December 17, 2013, by a vote of 6–3. This plan would be used for all elections until a new redistricting plan is adopted.

The Way It Is Now: Every ten years, after the Federal Census, City Council district boundaries must be redrawn to balance population in each district. Under the Berkeley City Charter, this redistricting is done by the City Council. Council must complete redistricting within three years after the Census. Accordingly, the Council adopted an ordinance establishing a map with new district boundaries.

Opponents of the Council-approved map gathered enough signatures to place the ordinance adopting that map on the ballot. Any ordinance must be submitted to the voters if enough voters’ signatures are collected through the referendum process.

A YES vote would approve the redistricting ordinance adopted by the Council, in which case the Council-approved redistricting map and ordinance would remain in effect.

A NO vote would reject the redistricting ordinance adopted by the Council. The Council would have to adopt a new and different redistricting map. Until the Council does so, the districts adopted in 2002 would be in force.

Supporters Say:

  • The Council-approved map is fair; districts are equal in population; every vote has equal weight. It preserves compactness, integrity and geographical contiguity. It meets all federal, state, and local rules.
  • The Council map satisfies the city goal of a student district. Because Berkeley has far more students than can fit into one district, choices must be made. This map emphasizes the community of interest of Southside students who share common concerns that differ from Northside students, such as greater crime and needs for more economic development.
  • The Council map was submitted on time and is the result of an extensive, transparent public process.
  • Voting no on S will waste city resources and cost the City more money. The City would have failed to adopt new districts within three years of the Census and violated its own charter. The 2002 districts would be 12 years out of date with a high population deviation.
  • Voting no on Measure S will not automatically create an independent citizens redistricting commission; such a commission will also be created if Measure S passes.

Opponents Say:

  • The Measure S Council map gerrymanders districts and divides communities of interest and neighborhoods such as Halcyon, West Berkeley and LeConte unnecessarily. Students are split to create a fraternity-dominated district.
  • The City’s process for soliciting and selecting maps was not fair; the deck was stacked from the beginning so that a map favored by the Council majority would be selected.
  • Neighbors, students and community leaders gathered 7,867 signatures to compel Council to either have a referendum or negotiate a compromise map. Instead the Council went to court so that a judge confirmed use of their map for this referendum election.
  • If the voters reject the Council-approved map with a “no” vote, the defeat would force the Council to pick a fairer alternative map.
  • A no vote on S will force the Council to adopt an independent redistricting commission, which will take the politics out of redistricting in future.

The full text of Measure S 

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