City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

August 17, 2011
Redistricting debate attracts heated protests to City Hall

As expected, several dozen people showed up for Tuesday night's City Council meeting to protest a redistricting plan that would separate the small Med Center area from neighboring Oak Park.

Roughly 70 people testified before the council in what was at times a heated two-hour event. The council could not respond to the concerns, given that the matter was not on the evening's agenda and open government laws prohibit the council from discussing issues that haven't been placed on an agenda.

That didn't stop several in the audience from hollering at members of the council for an explanation.

A plan for new council district boundaries would separate Med Center from the district it shares with Oak Park and place it in the territory currently occupied by Councilman Kevin McCarty. McCarty thinks Med Center belongs in his Elmhurst/Tahoe Park district, given the strong connection his neighborhoods have with the UC Davis Medical Center.

But many in Oak Park disagree, saying their neighborhood has even stronger links to the area in question. The areas have been in the same council district for 40 years and Med Center was considered part of North Oak Park for 100 years.

Another concern for many is that Sacramento Charter High School - a school synonymous with Oak Park - is in the disputed neighborhood and that the hospital is an economic engine for Oak Park.

Sac High's presence in this debate has attracted the close attention of Mayor Kevin Johnson. The non-profit organization he founded controls Sac High and he graduated from Sacramento High School, which once operated on the current charter school's campus.

While some of the maps put forth by a council-appointed redistricting commission recommended the change, the plan now being debated was presented just minutes before a meeting last week. McCarty and Council members Steve Cohn and Sandy Sheedy worked on the proposal in private.

Tuesday's tense testimony started with Betty Williams, the head of the local NAACP chapter.

"You insult our intelligence by making back-room deals on customized maps to suit your self-serving purposes," she told the council. She called it a "political theft of Oak Park" and said the council "are not the only ones who can take something away," a not so veiled election day threat.

A handful of Oak Park pastors and many residents followed.

The debate will re-emerge next Tuesday, when the council is scheduled to discuss the plan.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

Poll

Does the Kings' poor performance of late impact the arena work?

Ryan Lillis on Twitter

Follow "Ryan_Lillis" on Twitter

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Sacramento City Resources

City Web Sites

How to contact city officials