The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

PART 3 - Check it out! Interactive election district maps on city website

The Forde Files No 156


Tina Fisher Cunningham

Dr. Justin Levitt, demographer.

The three possible configurations for the city of Tehachapi's five new election districts reflect the density of population in the older downtown area and scarce population in the vast rural area in the northern sector of the city.

In presenting the proposed maps to the City Council at a special hearing Oct. 12 at Wells Education Center, demographer Dr. Justin Levitt of Glendale-based National Demographics Corporation said that every district has to meet federal laws requiring equal populations in each district (within a small deviation), adherence to the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and absence of gerrymandering.

Under the law, districts must reflect communities of interest, be compact and contiguous and recognize natural and man-made boundaries (such as the highway and railroad tracks). The California Correctional Institution in Cummings Valley, which, by annex, is part of the city of Tehachapi, will not be counted in the calculations to create the districts.

The maps, named Purple, Yellow and Green, show slight variations in boundaries. The figures are from the 2010 census.

The maps are being presented to the public for inspection and comment under a 90-day compressed timeline triggered by the threat of a lawsuit against the city for alleged dilution of minority voting rights caused by the at-large election system. While denying any such voter dilution and seeking to save the city from costly litigation, the City Council began the districting process on Sept. 5.

The public is encouraged to study the maps and respond with comments.

Tina Fisher Cunningham

Youstina Aziz, Esq.of counsel to city.

"There are lots of ways of thinking about it," Levitt said. "Every community is different. Start with a gut reaction. What makes sense? What doesn't make sense? What facility needs to be a centerpoint? It is hard to figure out going into it. We need that gut reaction to the boundaries. We start there and work toward the details. We can't tell you what the criteria is. We want you to tell us."

See Tehachapi city website at for interactive district maps that enable a resident to find out how a given address falls within each of the three proposed configurations The site has layers and a wealth of demographic information.. Click on "District-Based Elections" in the blue left column on the home page. Next hearing Nov. 6.


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