Hello Oakland! Keep this in mind, the latest U.S. Census Document reports that Oakland is 36 percent white, 23 percent black, .09 percent American Indian, 15.7 percent Asian, and 26.9 percent Latino.
Ok, now let’s continue.
The City of Oakland sent this press release on Friday, which reads:
Oakland, CA — On July 16, 2020, the Screening Panel for the 2020-21 Redistricting Commission nominated 30 Oakland residents as the applicant pool for the City’s Redistricting Commission.
Since April 2020, the three-member Screening Panel reviewed dozens of applications and supplemental questionnaires from residents wishing to serve on the Redistricting Commission. The Screening Panel ultimately interviewed 39 applicants before making their nominations.
“We were fortunate to meet some outstanding applicants during our review process,” Screening Panel Member Retired Judge Brenda F. Harbin-Forte said. “The level of interest and dedication the group has to ensuring a fair and equitable redistricting process is remarkable.”
“I am impressed with the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm the applicants expressed during their interviews,” Screening Panel Member Alexis Lozano said. “It made our work much more challenging as we had to choose between excellent applicants all volunteering to do this work.”
“Oakland residents always come through when they are called upon to volunteer their time and work toward a common goal,” Screening Panel Member Alicia John-Baptiste said. “I look forward to seeing the Redistricting Commission form and how the Commissioners approach their work in coming months. We wish them great success.”
In November 2014, the Oakland electorate approved a ballot measure creating an independent Redistricting Commission that will re-draw the boundary lines for City Council Districts and Oakland Unified School Board of Directors districts following the U.S. Census. Per the measure, the Screening Panel is responsible for recommending 30 applicants to serve on the 2020-21 Redistricting Commission.
The next phase of the selection process is for the first six Commissioners to be randomly selected by the City Clerk. The random drawing will take place on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 2:00 pm. Those six Commissioners will have until September 1, 2020, to select from the remaining applicant pool seven additional Commissioners and two Alternate Commissioners.
The applicant pool is accessible to view at www.oaklandca.gov/redistricting. The website also contains full information on the Redistricting Commission process along with instructions on how to view the random drawing.
Ok, when I went to look for the actual document, it took some digging. When I found it, what struck me was that the pool of applicants of 30 people included 13 who identified as white, and two more who were half-white – that’s 14 total out of 50. That’s 46 percent white.
Then I continued to look. There were five who are African American Oaklanders, six Oaklanders who were Asian. However, I saw that there were just two Oaklanders in the pool who were Latino. Two. That’s six percent (corrected from my simple math error. Thanks, Diane.)
Hopefully, the City Clerk will draw a pool more racially representative of Oakland. That said, one could argue that the pool would turn almost 50 percent white is representative of Oaklanders who get involved. That, in itself, deserves discussion and attention.
Here is the document:
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