Sunnyvale’s City Council has approved the new map for its City Council districts.
On Feb. 22, the Council approved the map unanimously.
Map 101 V2C, the preferred map, was adopted. This was also the most popular map among residents. The new map keeps districts 4, 5 and 6 intact. It keeps the Cherry Orchard and Villa Cerise apartments in District 2 and it aligns with school attendance boundaries in the Sunnyvale School District.
The map also moves Las Palmas and single-family homes in the Cherry Orchard areas from District 2 to District 1 and the Nimitz area from District 1 to District 3. The latter change aligns with the Cupertino Union School District boundaries.
City staff says there was minor concern among the public because a few of the districts are oddly shaped. “More than just a handful of times” members of the public mentioned a distrust of the government and questioned whether this was a form of gerrymandering.
However, Sunnyvale city staff says the district lines in Map 101 V2C make sure communities of interest, as well as equal distribution of the voting population, are taken into account.
Surgical Notch in Redistricting Map
One of the big questions surrounded the “surgical notch” between districts 5 and 6.
Karen, the District 5 Commissioner, said the notch was implemented because there are two very vocal communities of interest in the area – the S.N.A.I.L. community and a mobile home park. If there were smooth lines, the S.N.A.I.L. community would be split and the mobile home park would be in a different district than a majority of the parks in Sunnyvale. With the “surgical notch,” that’s not an issue.
Valerie, the Chair of the S.N.A.I.L. neighborhood, urged the Council to accept the “surgical notch” and keep S.N.A.I.L. in a single district.
“I really would encourage you to consider taking into consideration the recommendation of the redistricting commission,” said Valerie. “I really want to thank – a big shout out – to the deputy city manager, who really heard the issue that we were faced [with] and I support wholeheartedly the recommendation of the district commissions in adopting the surgical notch that would keep the mobile home parks in District 6 and reunite Carolinas and Fair Oaks residents back into District 5.”
“I’m really happy that we were able to confront the notch, defeat the notch problem in a way that’s going to be able to encompass that community feedback and work with our Registrar of Voters and just really minimize any huge impacts from one individual problem,” said Vice Mayor Alysa Cisneros.
Concerns Over Diversity of Map Options
Council Member Glenn Hendricks was frustrated by the seemingly similar maps presented to the Council.
“The three maps appear to be different without a distinction,” said Hendricks.
City staff said the Redistricting Commission had a “very robust discussion” about the maps and ultimately chose three maps to present to the Council.
New Council Member Up to Speed
The newest member of the Council, Tony Spitaleri, was up to speed in time for the redistricting vote. He says he’s happy with the result.
“I felt [the map] addressed everything that had to be addressed. The notches were taken care of and I felt that the community would be very served by what they recommended,” said Spitaleri.
Redistricting Map Background
Voting will not change under the new redistricting map. Odd districts will elect council members in 2022 and even districts will elect council members in 2024.
The process of redistricting started last year when the City Council created the Redistricting Commission. The Commission hosted community surveys, held a public workshop and several pop-up events throughout Sunnyvale to complete the final map.
Redistricting is required every ten years based on state and federal laws. New districts must be drawn based on the latest Census data, in this case, the 2020 Census.