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Costa Mesa hosts workshop Saturday to get resident input on redrawing council districts

The Norma Hertzog Community Center at Lions Park
Members of the public are invited to the Norma Hertzog Community Center at Lions Park Saturday at 10 a.m. for a citywide redistricting meeting.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The city of Costa Mesa is seeking public input on the redrawing of council district lines to reflect new data from the 2020 U.S. census, inviting residents to participate in a workshop Saturday at the Norma Hertzog Community Center.

Participants can learn more about an analysis that is undertaken every 10 years in cities with individual voting districts as new demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau is released and make their own maps and comments to submit for consideration.

“We’re looking forward to the public’s help in redrawing our district boundaries,” City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison said in a council discussion Tuesday. “Members of the public will have an opportunity to learn about the redistricting process, data and some snazzy mapping tools.”

Costa Mesa voters approved the creation of council districts in a 2016 election and, consequently, six City Council members each represent different geographic territories, while the seat of mayor is an at-large position elected through a citywide vote.

Justin Levitt, a consultant with Glendale-based National Demographics Corp., explained Tuesday that the newly drawn lines should create districts of equal-sized populations.

Boundaries may follow streets or other natural features and may take into consideration landmarks such as parks, schools and other features distinct to a neighborhood.

Citizens may also want to use population data to consider an area’s potential to grow in the future. But boundaries may not be drawn to give unfair advantages or to isolate or promote specific groups or populations with a similar political identity.

Saturday’s workshop takes place at 10 a.m. at the Hertzog Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., and is the first of a series of meetings, which will continue in December 2021 and January 2022.

Levitt said the city will host public hearings to discuss different drafts of maps being considered in November and again in February before the council adopts a final map in March, before a state-imposed April 17 deadline.

“The community lives with these districts on a day-to-day basis,” he added. “We encourage members of the community to come to get one-on-one assistance drawing maps and instruction on how to use the tools.”

Those who wish to submit questions or comments may email redistricting @costamesaca.gov. For more, visit redistrictcostamesa.org or call (714) 754-5000.

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