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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Immigrants at risk of losing power after redistricting in San Mateo

redistricting in San Mateo

By Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].
Immigrants living in San Mateo County could lose the power to make decisions and have their needs taken into account after the final vote on the redistricting redrawing.

This ten-year decision, to be made this December, would also affect communities of color.

So said Rudy Espinoza-Murray, head of the San Mateo County Redistricting Advisory Committee, who noted that "when you have a line that divides a community, that community loses power.

During the Peninsula 360 Radio program, broadcast on KIQI radio station, on 1010 AM from San Francisco, California, in collaboration with the program Made in California Marcos Gutiérrez and Manuel Ortiz, the official explained that the issue of redistribution or drawing of the maps is "an issue of power", where the "elected or the person in power" will always want to have maps in their favor, to ensure that they will continue to win.

This, he said, "they do it through a process of selecting their own voters, rather than voters selecting their candidates."

Maps are very important

Rudy Espinoza pointed out that "there are communities of color that may tend to vote a certain way or for a certain type of candidate, so the people in power divide and dilute them, in this redistricting process that affects the state level, in the assembly, in the State Senate, in the U.S. Congress: the maps are very important.

In the case of Redwood City, he pointed out that the map presented by the Assembly draws a line that divides the city in two: "It's a large area that contains thousands of Latinos who will be in the 24th Assembly District, while all of us who are residents of Redwood City are in the 22nd Assembly District represented by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin.

"If we lose thousands of Latino votes in the 22nd district, the current district, as a group, we will lose power. That's the problem we're facing and it's important for all of us to be aware of how this process that happens every 10 years affects us and impacts us," he said.

Communities of color in the county have diverse needs that must be heard and addressed. There has been a decline in the Latino population due to the high cost of living in San Mateo, in addition to the housing shortage.

He stressed that "we have to find ways to elect people who care about housing production in the county so that we can all live there and have the option of affordable housing that can be afforded with the wages we have, because wages are not increasing at the level of the cost of housing.

Given this and other issues, he emphasized the need for the community to keep abreast of what is happening with this redistricting, and to get involved through public comment or letters to try to influence the design, regardless of whether you don't speak English.

He noted that in San Mateo County, it is mostly white men who decide how the district maps look. And even though the community has said "emphatically" that they want the maps changed, they are likely to remain the same or affect "communities of interest," such as those that are historically made up of immigrants, share similar histories, or have a language that connects them.

Listen to the complete program here:

You may be interested in: Redwood City hosts Redistricting Advisory Committee

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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