The Mission Housing Development Corporation has helped low-income Mission District residents find affordable housing for more than 40 years. But when the San Francisco supervisorial districts were redrawn 10 years ago, the nonprofit organization’s office at 16th and Valencia streets was outside of the Mission’s boundaries.
“It’s like they cut the Mission in half,” said Larry Del Carlo, Mission Housing Development’s president. “When you think of the culture and feel of the Mission, it has always included the North Mission.”
That 10-year-old map placed the district’s northern boundary at 20th Street east of Treat Street and between 17th and 19th streets west of Treat. This time around, the draft boundaries created by the Redistricting Task Force place the North Mission — all the way to 14th Street in some places and the Central Freeway in others — back in District 9, represented by Supervisor David Campos. Currently the area is in District 6, where Jane Kim is supervisor.
Supervisorial districts are redrawn after every census to ensure relatively equal populations in each district. As of the 2010 census, San Francisco had 805,235 residents, which means that each district must have between 69,542 and 76,863 residents. District 9, at 65,673 residents, needs to add more than any other district — 7,530 residents if each district were to have completely equal populations.
“I believe in keeping communities and neighborhoods together,” Campos said. “We’re definitely ready and excited about the prospect of bringing the North Mission into District 9.”
The change will essentially cut Kim out of the Mission. But Campos has already been treating the North Mission as part of his district, meeting regularly with nonprofit organizations in District 6 and often fielding calls from District 6 residents who assume they are part of District 9.
“A lot of the nonprofits that are in District 6 that we consider Mission-based nonprofits, like us, naturally deal with David Campos,” Del Carlo said. “Not to slight Jane Kim, but when it comes to civic engagement, we really deal with David Campos. He is the supervisor that we look to who represents us even though we’re in District 6.”
The move will repatriate a number of nonprofits that serve the Mission community — including Mission Housing Development Corporation, Mission Hiring Hall and Mission Neighborhood Resource Center — as well as residents who identify with the Mission rather than South of Market.
But redistricting can never make everyone happy, and some residents and officials feel that the new boundaries still leave out parts of the Mission.
During a February 1 meeting at the Mission Neighborhood Center, Lucia Bogatay, co-president of the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association, told the task force that her neighborhood is historically more identified with the Mission District and District 9 than with District 8, which currently begins west of Valencia.
“I think we definitely feel we are integrated with the Mission and we take our historic connection with everyone in the Mission very seriously,” said Ted Olsson, the association’s other co-president.
But it looks like the neighborhood will have to wait another 10 years to have a shot at moving into District 9. The working draft still places most of the area west of Valencia Street in District 8, currently represented by Supervisor Scott Wiener.
Concerned residents packed the April 4 Redistricting Task Force meeting at City Hall, offering their comments for almost three hours as the task force listened and contemplated final substantive changes.
Among the attendees was Rosabella Safont, a lifelong Mission District resident who happens to live near the Central Freeway and Duboce Street — a small area that she says is part of the Mission, but which will remain in District 6 if the draft is not revised.
“It’s a disservice to have the Mission split in that way,” Safont told the task force. “The Mission is a community of color and we need to be unified to have a voice.”
Safont may have swayed the task force a bit. Following the meeting, they extended District 9 slightly in the north, but a small triangle between the Central Freeway and 14th Street remains in District 6.
Redistricting Task Force Chair Eric McDonnell said he understands the importance of unifying the Mission. But when it comes to maintaining roughly equal populations in all 11 districts, the task force must consider how moving a few blocks will affect the entire map.
“Public comments are offered in isolation, but everything has a ripple effect,” McDonnell said.
Most of the residents who attended last week’s meeting were concerned about the future of the Portola District, a small area just south of Bernal Heights that has spent the last 10 years split between three districts. Some residents called for the Portola to be put in District 10 or 11, but most just wanted to see the neighborhood reunited.
Since District 9 needs to gain more residents than any other, the task force decided it made the most sense to put all of the Portola within District 9.
This decision will give Campos jurisdiction over three distinct neighborhoods — the Mission, Bernal Heights and the Portola. But Campos was not concerned.
“Part of the Portola is already in District 9, so we’re used to working with them,” Campos said. “I think in the end we will be able to work with all these neighborhoods and communities and have their voices heard.”
McDonnell said that the task force does not plan to make any more substantive changes to the map, but will continue to meet, hear public comments and make final tweaks to the map this week. The final map must be submitted to the Board of Supervisors by April 15.