Last year the City of Oakland drew new boundaries for city council and school board districts. District lines are the building blocks of local government and democracy. How district lines are drawn both reflects and shapes how communities are defined and how city services are planned and delivered. Redistricting matters.

Besides looking at population shifts, the City Council – at the insistence of concerned groups and individual residents like you – took into account such things as neighborhoods and communities of interest. Most Council members worked to incorporate the views of their constituents as they drew up the new district maps, but it was still the Council members who were drawing the lines. And it was difficult for them to be truly impartial as their re-elections were clearly impacted by where the lines got drawn.

In 2011, California’s legislative, Congressional, and Board of Equalization district lines were all drawn up and put in place by an independent redistricting commission. As we look forward to the next decade, the people of Oakland have an opportunity to make our redistricting more democratic the next time it takes place by putting the decision-making into the hands of an independent redistricting commission made up of ordinary Oaklanders.

Take the survey here.