It’s still anyone’s guess where Cupertino will wind up on the Santa Clara County supervisorial districts map, after the Citizens Redistricting Commission sidestepped taking any stands on boundaries Thursday night.
The commission voted unanimously to send seven maps to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, with no rankings or judgments. Commission Chairwoman Susanne Wilson will present the maps to the supervisors at 1:30 p.m. June 7 at the county headquarters, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose. The supervisors must decide on a final map by Aug. 15.
Cupertino council members Barry Chang and Orrin Mahoney pleaded on Thursday to remain in District 5. They underscored the city’s desire to remain in the same district as Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and Quarry, as well as with West Valley cities that share boundaries with the county’s western hillsides.
The challenge before supervisors is how to balance all the competing interests to create districts that have roughly the same population in each, as well as keeping what are known as “communities of interest” together.
By far the biggest challenge is accommodating the city of Sunnyvale. Officials there are pushing to be included as a whole in District 5, instead of its current state of being split between districts 3 and 5. Yet any move by the second-largest city in the county would most likely mean pushing smaller cities like Cupertino and Saratoga into either districts 1 or 4.
While many of the 11-member commission advocated putting Sunnyvale wholly in District 5, some suggested taking an incremental approach, by moving more of Sunnyvale into the district this year, with an eye toward moving more of it after the 2020 Census.
Even officials from competing cities said they are sympathetic to Sunnyvale’s plight, but not at the risk of forcing other cities into districts they don’t share interests with.
“We’re eager to help our neighbor Sunnyvale achieve its goals, but we think we know what’s best for the West Valley cities,” Mahoney told commissioners.
Once supervisors receive the maps from the commission, they can either choose one, or make their own tweaks and revisions.
And expect politics to come more into play. With Liz Kniss terming out of the District 5 seat next year, potential candidates from Cupertino and Saratoga could have a lot to lose if moved into districts 1 or 4, which elected Mike Wasserman and Ken Yeager, respectively, last November. Candidates would have to wait three years and then face a tough race against an incumbent.
Four of the maps now under consideration are on the county’s website. Three more were introduced Thursday night and had not been uploaded by the time Patch posted this story. Below is a summary of the maps the supervisors will receive from the commission:
Map 1: No change to boundaries. Cupertino and Saratoga remains in District 5. Sunnyvale remains split between 3 and 5. This map was officially endorsed by the Cupertino City Council on Tuesday.
Map 2: All of Sunnyvale in District 5, pushing Cupertino and Saratoga into District 4, joining Campbell and parts of San Jose. Lehigh remains in District 5. This map was deemed “unacceptable” by Cupertino’s Council.
Map 4: Sunnyvale goes as a whole to District 3, something Sunnyvale officials have said is unacceptable to them, because they do not share as many interests with San Jose and Milpitas, as they do cities to the north in District 5. Cupertino and Saratoga remain in District 5. This map was also officially endorsed by the council on Tuesday.
Map 5: Created by Sunnyvale officials, this map puts Sunnyvale in District 5, Cupertino and Saratoga in District 1. Lehigh remains in District 5. Also deemed “unacceptable” by the council. Mayor Gilbert Wong has pointed out that Cupertino does not share the same interests as the more agricultural communities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy.
Map 6: Introduced by Sunnyvale officials on Thursday night, this map also puts Sunnyvale in District 5, and Cupertino and Saratoga in District 1. According to Sunnyvale Vice Mayor James Griffith, Lehigh remains with Cupertino. Mahoney told commissioners that based on the same reasons the Cupertino council rejected Maps 2 and 5, it would reject Map 6.
Map “XX”: Cupertino and Saratoga in District 1; Lehigh in District 5. Takes an incremental approach to moving Sunnyvale into District 5. More of the city would come into the district this year, with an eye to possibly moving more in after the 2020 Census. Sunnyvale Mayor Melinda Hamilton was strongly against this map, saying that voters north of Highway 101 would be disenfranchised.
Map “Sunnyvale D”: Places Cupertino in District 5, Saratoga in District 1, and splits Sunnyvale vertically down Wolfe Road. Everything to the west of Wolfe in District 5, to the east, District 4. Former Saratoga Mayor Kathleen King spoke out against the map, because she said her city wants to remain with cities with similar issues, like Cupertino, and should remain in the same district as the unincorporated hillsides within the city’s sphere of influence.