Guest Commentary: Inequitable and Unfair Redistricting in West Sacramento

By Carlos Alcala

Over one-quarter of the population of West Sacramento lives in Broderick/Bryte. The Broderick/ Bryte community continues to fight for one of the four seats on the City Council in redistricting. Councilman Ledesma, Orozco, and Early continue to fight to deny Broderick/Bryte its own seat, equal to the other three neighborhoods. Ledesma, Orozco, and Early have voted for redistricting in Map 4a which provides one seat for Stonegate, one seat for Bridgeway, two seats for the neighborhoods around the Old Sacramento area south of the Freeway and no seat for Broderick/Bryte. Alfred Melbourne states in his declaration to the court: “Our organization, Broderick/Bryte Neighborhood Association, has collected over 150 signatures to protest the division of our neighborhood into two city council districts. Mobilized by this issue, we have also created the attached Facebook page, which has hundreds of supporters. We support the plaintiffs’ map and strong oppose Map 4A.”

Attorney Scott Rafferty explains why Map 4a is so unfair to one-quarter of the City’s population that lives in Broderick/Bryte, in that it makes it highly unlikely Broderick/Bryte will ever be able to elect their own representative, but Orozco’s area will have two councilmembers:

“In order to assure this dedicated voice on the council, it is appropriate for a Latino or Asian community to optimize on one strong remedial district based in the most cohesive and well-organized neighborhoods. Council member Dr. Early-West instructed the Latino community that combining Broderick/Bryte in Plaintiffs’ Map creates a “supermajority district,” and that they were better off with “two voices” from weaker influence districts. 34 percent CVAP is not guaranteed control, let alone a “supermajority.” As detailed in the opposition, all three Cabaldon slate members echoed this pretense. They are dividing the Latino population in order to conquer it; neither of the so-called influence districts will be accountable to Broderick/Bryte. The affluent, white neighborhood of Old West Sacramento may well determine both elections under Map 4A.

“Plaintiffs’ map minimizes the number of South-of-50 voters in northern districts. The Equity Map was a compromise. Therefore, regardless of year, census geography, and allocation method, any ranking of Latino CVAP shows that the plaintiffs’ map is highest, then the Equity Map, then Map 4A. Actual voter registration and turnout provide even more dramatic evidence that Map 4A would eliminate Latino influence.

“ The difference among the two northern districts (combined) in these maps is easily explained. Map 4A imports 2193 voters (including Ms. Orozco) from South of Route 50. They are 82% non-Latino. The turnout of northern Latinos in the last typical gubernatorial election (2014) was 25%. The turnout of the imported southern voters was 51% (even with its Latinos included). In other words, white and Asian voters alone would swamp any Latino influence by a factor of 2.5 to 1.”

Nonetheless, Orozco, Ledesma, and Early are now claiming to the Court that Map 4a is statistically almost as good if not equal to the redistricting map proposed by the Broderick/Bryte community. But in a recent article In the Ledger, Orozco told the Ledger something quite different: there she stated that Map 4a was the only Map that met all the criteria. Both statements cannot be true since they contradict each other.

In fact, according to Rafferty, the City failed to persuade its demographer to say this:” The most significant aspects of his [demographer] two declarations are groundless claims by the City that he refused to affirm. The City Attorney demanded that he declare the Plaintiffs’ Map to be unlawful, which Mr. Mitchell declined to do.”

The Orozco, Ledesma and Early have relied on the statistical analysis of Paul Mitchel for splitting Broderick/Bryte as a community of interest. Mr. Rafferty states:

“Mr. Mitchell is not qualified as a statistician and has never testified in a CVRA case. He was unable to recognize, as Dr. Kousser did, that the City was demanding methodologies that are “basically inappropriate” because they “practically guarantee” a desired inference without regard to actual facts, arousing “suspicion of bias.”

Attorney Rafferty goes on to identify glaring problems with the City’s statistical analysis to foist Map 4A on the public::

“If Mr. Mitchell had training and experience as a statistical expert, he would also have recognized and disclosed serious deficiencies in the quality of the dataset he used. Several census blocks with no population have hundreds of registered voters; other blocks with substantial populations have no voters at all. Data with such anomalies would not be admissible as evidence to support claims that the remedial effect of Plaintiffs’ Map is “identical” to Map 4A or that “distinctions [are] nonexistent” even if the hypotheses being tested were logical, which they are not.”

West Sacramento City Councilwoman Norma Alcala states, “I wanted a neutral, objective demographer. I would never have voted to select Paul Mitchell as demographer if Mitchell had disclosed his close relationship to Cabaldon, an opponent of single-member districts. I have just learned that Cabaldon presided over Mitchell’s wedding. Mitchell is splitting the historical neighborhood of Broderick /Bryte where I live and instead places Broderick with the area south of the Freeway and the Bridge District where Orozco and Cabaldon live. I supported Cabaldon’s opponent due to historical neglect of poor and marginalized neighborhoods in Broderick/Bryte. Orozco, Ledesma, and Early are using redistricting to avenge Cabaldon’s loss. Be careful what you wish for.”

Additionally, nearly all witnesses opposed Map 4a at the final hearing. The people have spoken but Orozco, Early, and Ledesma are not listening. Judge Mc Adams of the Yolo County Superior Court will now decide the issue.  Defendants are hoping to limit the Judges authority to only apporving of the Citys map and not to determoining the best map ar best solution.

Carlos Alcala lives in West Sacramento and is Chicano Latino Caucus Chair

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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