UPDATE: On October 29th, City Council voted to move forward with Map 26, proposed by Council Member Lynette McElhaney. Kaplan, Kernighan, Kalb, McElhaney, Schaaf and Gallo voted for it, Brooks voted no and Reid was absent. To see the new map and the current map together, click here.

According to the city charter, districts are based on the previous districts, but every 10 years after 1993 or if significant territory is annexed the boundaries can be adjusted:

Section 203. Nomination and Election of Councilmembers... The districts shall be as they exist upon the taking effect of this section, until revised by ordinance. In the year 1993, and every ten years thereafter, and whenever any substantial territory is annexed to or consolidated with the City, the Council shall form new districts not exceeding seven. Districts shall be composed of contiguous territory, as equal as possible in population, and as geographically compact as practicable. No change in the boundary of a district shall operate to exclude an incumbent from office before the expiration of the term for which he was elected or appointed.

2013 was a redistricting year. At its meeting on Tuesday, June 4, the Oakland City Council provided specific direction to City staff and established the criteria to be used in reviewing the Council District boundaries. (To view the reports, resolution and video of the meeting, please visit http://bit.ly/103avDM.) Visit http://mapgis.oaklandnet.com/councildistricts for a map of Council Districts and locator tool.

The Oakland City Council Districts also serve as the districts for the Governing Board for the Oakland Unified School District, commonly called the Board of Education. Any changes made to the Council Districts will also change the boundaries for the areas represented by the elected members of the Board of Education. However, boundary changes will not impact school enrollment choices.

According to Council member Libby Schaaf at the July 13th redistricting meeting, the City Administrator's office stated that the city could skip redistricting this year. They then proposed only redistricting 3 districts that were over/under population. The Council said that they needed to do the whole thing. Council Resolution 84443 also got rid of the previous charter mandate that the districts included flatlands and hills hills flats.pdf. This means that the new districts do NOT have to be built off of the previous maps and can radically redo the districts as they stand. The charter does, however, state that City Council members should not be displaced from their districts. City Council districts overlap with School Board districts. The charter recommends not displacing school board members but does not require this. (watch video here)

The City contracted with the National Demographics Corporation to assist with redistricting in 2013. They encouraged citizen participation.


  • City Administrator's report from July, 2012 recommending skipping redistricting
  • City Administrator's report from March, 2013 on redistricting
  • The City Attorney's legal opinion from April, 2013 with redistricting options
  • ACLU Northern California's letter from April, 2013 on redistricting
  • A useful blog by Terrence May (Wiki member "tmay")
  • An overlay map of districts from 1992 and 2003
  • Summary of October 15th City Council meeting
  • Councilmember Lynette McElhaney supports Map 26. Read about it here.
  • Oakland Votes compares the maps that will be discussed on October 29th here.
  • The City Administrator released this memo on October 29th, prior to the City Council meeting.

Issues that came up during discussions of Communities of Interest

  • A map generated by Councilwoman Desley Brooks split Adams Point in half. Adams Point residents met and unanimously wanted to stay as a neighborhood in one district. A resident speaks about the importance of leaving Adams Point as one unit.
  • Residents of Maxwell Park worked together to figure out what their boundaries were and where they wanted to be located. Initially they felt they wanted to be in District 6 and later it seemed that about half wanted to be in District 4 and half in District 6. The final map put them in District 4. The most important thing was reuniting the neighborhood in one district.
  • Trestle Glen (the street, not the neighborhood) and Greenwood made requests to be returned to Districts 2 and 5 respectively as Trestle Glen belonged in Trestle Glen (neighborhood) (D2) and Greenwood belonged in Glenview (D5). These were both honored in the final map.
  • Councilwoman Libby Schaaf said that she had heard from constituents in Fairfax/Melrose Heights that they really wanted to be united and to stay in District 4.
  • A group from lower San Antonio worked together to argue to stay united and to stay in D2. They talked about 30 years of organizing to make their neighborhood safer and more cohesive and didn't want to be split up.
  • A woman from the Webster/Castlemont area discussed 50 years of organizing in a neighborhood they call Elmhurst (OW uses this to describe a much larger area of the city) that was cut out of D7 10 years ago and now would stay in D6. (Larry Reid, by phone, says he wants it to stay it that way.) The neighbors don't like the way it is.


News Coverage

  • On June 19th, the East Bay Express published an article about the impacts of redistricting.
  • On July 24th, Oakland Votes published an article by Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor with proposed maps radically re-doing the districts and going over scenarios of including/excluding Council Members' residences.
  • On September 18th, KQED posted an article via Oakland Local about how redistricting could affect various communities.
  • "Oaklanders worry redistricting will lead to imbalance during elections." Oakland North: Sep 15, 2013.

Ways to Get Involved (Historical)

The city offered a variety of ways to get feedback:

October Meetings

In October, the City Council will begin holding public hearings to deliberate on the proposed redistricting maps that result from the summer’s Town Hall Meetings. The Council will make a final selection of the Council District boundaries in November. To assist in the Redistricting process, the City of Oakland has retained the services of National Demographics Corporation (NDC). NDC has extensive experience in redistricting, having served as consultants for local and regional redistricting efforts in Modesto, Los Angeles County and Santa Rosa. For more information on Oakland’s redistricting process including a map of current Council Districts, redistricting-related legislation, upcoming Council meeting dates and more, the public should visit www.oaklandnet.com/redistricting. For more information, please contact Devan Reiff, AICP, Planner II, at [email protected] or (510) 238-3550.

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, they’ll host the second discussion and target the first vote on the new map for Nov. 5 – with a final confirmation vote on Nov. 19.

July-September Public Meetings

Beginning on July 10, the City of Oakland will host a series of Redistricting Town Hall Meetings to gather input from the community on boundary adjustments to Council Districts to equalize each district’s population according to U.S. Census data. The redistricting process will engage the public through a series on Town Hall Meetings. Additional opportunities for input and feedback are also available. As requested by City Council, Redistricting Town Hall Meetings will be held in each of the seven Council Districts beginning in July and continuing through September. Oakland residents are encouraged to attend the meeting to learn more about the process and provide comment and input on District boundaries. Simultaneous interpretation in select languages will be provided as noted.

If you couldn't attend, the Powerpoint is available here. A storify of the first 3 meetings is available here. A blog post about some of the meetings is available here.

The dates and locations for the Redistricting Town Hall Meetings were:

Every meeting is open to all interested parties and members of the Oakland community regardless of the Council District of residency. No R.S.V.P. required. To request interpretation services in languages other than English and select languages indicated, please contact Silvia San Miguel, at least five business days prior to the meeting date, at (510) 238-6448 or [email protected]. All meeting locations are wheelchair accessible. To request a sign language interpreter or any other disability accommodation, please contact Devan Reiff at (510) 238-3550, TTY: (510) 238-3254 or [email protected] at least three business days in advance. Please refrain from wearing scented products to these meetings.

  • The Oakland Votes Redistricting Coalition is holding a meeting on September 4th to learn about the nuts & bolts of redistricting with the Oakland Votes Redistricting Coalition and prepare for the City’s official meetings.

  • Jack London Square is having a meeting on Thursday, September 26th to discuss their community of interest.