The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 9, 2011
An even bigger challenge on new Sacramento council districts

The official 2010 Census numbers show that the job of drawing new City Council districts in Sacramento will be even tougher than believed.

That's because the gap between the largest and smallest of the eight districts is even larger than what officials thought based on 2009 population projections. The real numbers released by the city today show that District 1, centered in Natomas, has 106,729 residents - at least double the population of every other district except District 8. (Go to the city's redistricting webpage and click on "2010 Population Table" on the left rail.)

District 1's population is 83 percent above the ideal size for a district, while District 4's is 22 percent below the target population.

The district populations were already out of whack because the districts approved in 2001 weren't the best and because of uneven population growth this past decade.

It's going to be a complicated, politically tense task to get the districts close to the ideal of one person, one vote, while still keeping most neighborhoods intact.

The hope here is that success will be at least somewhat more likely this go-round because a new citizens advisory committee will also work on the districts starting next month. The mayor and council members named their nine appointees Tuesday evening. Another four will go through the city's usual appointment process.

The City Charter requires that the new districts be in place within six months of the data release, so the revised schedule calls for the council to adopt new districts on Sept. 6. Circle that date on your calendars.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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