Palm Desert to discuss redistricting based on 2020 census data
On Thursday evening, the City of Palm Desert hosted a public workshop where residents will have the opportunity to learn about and provide feedback on the city’s redistricting process.
“With the release of 2020 census information, we are now adjusting our districts to reflect these numbers,” said city public affairs officer Thomas Soule.
Every 10 years, local governments use new census data to redraw their district lines to reflect changing local populations. The City is asking for the public’s help in planning, designing and redistributing the City’s neighborhoods.
The city moved to a two-district system with the 2020 election as part of a settlement agreement with two Palm Desert residents who sued the city in 2019.
During Thursday’s workshop, residents learned how to use the city’s map-making feature to submit their own map. Draft maps must be submitted by February 11.
“All of those will be reviewed by the council at one of the next public meetings,” Soule added, “Then they will step in and use that input from the public. Demographers are working on that to help us figure out what could be optimal for the city of Palm Desert.
Palm Desert is currently divided into two districts. A downtown district shown (below in green) with one councilman and four other elected councilors in the remaining area (below in purple) on this map.
A group of people, Drive4Fiveorganized a rally ahead of Thursday’s meeting to push for redrawing from two to five electoral districts.
“Representation is a real thing, it is a meaningful thing. I happen to live in North Palm Desert, so there are a lot of issues in North Palm Desert that aren’t relevant or not noted by those who live in the southern part of town. We face different issues,” said Drive4Five member Carlos Garcia.
Members of this group believe that the citizens of Palm Desert would be better represented with five districts. They claim that 80% of the city lacks equal representation.
“So many big projects that the city is doing are all in the south part of the city,” added Garcia, “You know the north part of the city doesn’t have a main street, we don’t have a place where to walk Uhm it’s all like the big box stores and you know Costcos and Walmarts and Home Depots and Lowes– it’s not like, it’s not that user friendly we feel we deserve some consideration as well for that kind of quality of life.”
Soule said the plan for the five districts is different from what they envision for Palm Desert. The city just moved to a two-borough system in 2020, but they’re open to any suggestions.
“Resident participation is so vital to this process because it is a fundamental part of our democracy,” Soule reiterated.
The city workshop began at 6 p.m. at the Palm Desert Community Center. The next public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, January 27. Click here for the full redistricting schedule in the coming weeks.