Commissioner Raynell Cooper collecting his things and walking out of the redistricting meeting.

This story was updated at 8:30 p.m., April 10

Shortly after 2 a.m., the final major mapping session of the Redistricting Task Force went into meltdown, with members Jeremy Lee, J. Michelle Pierce, Chema Hernández Gil, and Raynell Cooper walking out of the proceedings in protest.

Their walkout came after Vice-Chair Ditka Reiner, also appointed by the Elections Commission, returned from a break and asked to reverse a prior vote. Her reversal meant moving Potrero Hill into District 9 and Portola into District 10, a motion she had rejected only half an hour earlier.

When Reiner first voted against the motion, she said it was “one of the hardest things I have ever done.” Task force chair Arnold Townsend then immediately called a recess for members, to move their cars for street cleaning. When they returned, Reiner asked to rescind her earlier vote, saying she had been confused about the map they had been voting on.

Her four colleagues then walked out of the meeting. They were joined by several members of the public, who had been observing the late-night meeting in person.

Cooper was appointed by the Elections Commission. The others who walked out were appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

After a lengthy recess, in which the video feed of the meeting was cut off, the remaining five members voted to approve a new set of district lines in no small part crafted during this late-night, last-minute meeting. A version of that map was referred to earlier today, disparagingly, as a “class warfare map.”

The remaining task force members, Townsend, Reiner, Matthew Castillon, Lily Ho, and Chasel Lee, were still able to vote, because they had a quorum of five. The threshold of votes needed to pass motions did not change when the others left, meaning they needed to agree unanimously on changes to the map and its final approval, which they did.

The four members who left were still absent when the map was approved. They never returned to the meeting, though they later phoned in during public comment.

As well as moving Potrero Hill into District 9 and Portola into District 10, the approved map splits the Tenderloin away from SoMa. You can see the map that passed on the Redistricting Task Force’s website.

A screenshot of the final map approved tonight.

This meeting was the task force’s final session to get a redistricting map approved. Now, only minor edits to the map are allowed before the ultimate deadline on April 15.

Taskforce member Raynell Cooper said that he left the meeting not because of the content of the vote, but because of the circumstances of its process.

“The decorum of that process came totally out of left field,” Cooper told Mission Local. “We have gone back and forth on votes for reasons I don’t understand,” he said.

The Redistricting Task Force has been dogged by allegations of political influence and bias that have grown in the past week.

“There were irregularities in the voting and the motions that we were going through that made me uncomfortable,” Cooper continued. “Changes were made where the sources of those changes were unclear.”

“This isn’t the process I signed up for, and it only became clearly apparent to me tonight.”

Cooper later phoned in to public comment, saying, “I had been duped this whole time.” He said that he still intended to serve on the task force, as that was what he was appointed to do, but said the next few days would be “difficult.”

Pierce and Lee also called in with some choice words for their erstwhile colleagues.

The walkout of commissioners. Video from Jupiter Peraza.

Only two days ago, members Reiner, Cooper, and Chasel Lee were brought in front of the Elections Commission after the ACLU and the League of Women Voters expressed concerns over task force processes and their alleged disregard of marginalized voices. Supervisors Dean Preston and Hillary Ronen have both accused the task force of creating gerrymandered districts that favor moderate and more well-off voters.

On Friday, the Elections Commission declined to unseat any of its three appointees, and affirmed the independence of the task force.

During the Saturday/Sunday redistricting meeting, Pierce strongly criticized the map Reiner flipped her vote to approve, calling it “ethnic suicide” before walking out on the meeting. Hernández Gil had previously called an iteration of the map they were working on a “class warfare map,” and said it disregarded the voices of several marginalized groups.

Some major details of the map, such as Potrero Hill’s move to District 9, were only floated at this late-night, last-minute meeting and had not received public comment. Nevertheless, the map has now been approved. Member Castillon put forward the original motion suggesting the new changes to the map.

“I have no words,” said Chasel Lee, who stayed in the meeting. “I think we deserve the public’s anger. We have completely lost the public’s trust.”

“We have been facing a public perception problem for months,” responded member Lily Ho. “We never had a chance at earning the public’s trust.”

“What happened just now is indicative of external interests impacting the redistricting process,” said Jupiter Peraza, director of social justice initiatives at the transgender district, after the reversed vote.

“These are exactly the concerns community members have been expressing here and to the Elections Commission.”

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“It’s just so blatant, I’m honestly speechless,” said Raquel Redondiez, director of SOMA Pilipinas. “They are meant to serve the public interest, not political interests.”

“By going through with this, you are threatening the legitimacy of the next ten years of elections in San Francisco,” said Edward Wright, co-president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Club, during public comment. “All the hundreds of hours of our time that you wasted, that was a sham. The fact that you are still sitting there is shameful.”

Geoffrea Morris of the INVEST BLACK coalition said that the task force “passed the most racist, classist, anti-LGBT map ever in San Francisco history. They literally gutted the Black representation of District 10.”

“It wasn’t about Black people,” said Morris. “It was about power in the city.”

The meeting started at 10 a.m. Saturday and concluded 19 hours and 40 minutes later, at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday.

This was the last meeting in which the task force could make major changes to the map, but they still have a few meetings left to make minor, “clerical” changes before the ultimate April 15 deadline. Their next meeting will be on Monday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m.

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DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma.

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  1. While the Election Commission and mayoral appointees seem to be doing a good job, the Board of Supervisor appointees are completely out of control. We need a ballot initiative to ban any supervisorial appointees from being involved in redistricting. The BoS has an obvious conflict of interest (they want to keep their jobs feeding off the trough of the taxpayers) and should not be involved in redistricting. Additionally, isn’t it about time that we return to at-large supervisors? We have seen that district elections just don’t work in our City.

    1. “Removing Potrero Hill from D10 doesn’t only dilute Black and Pacific Islander community voices . . . ”

      The percentage of SF residents who are Pacific Islanders is 0.4%. That is 4 in 1,000.

      Blacks are 5% or so.

      Taken together that amounts to the equivalent of half a supervisor. How amny do you think there should be?

  2. Love whenever progressives don’t get their way, everyone else is a racist conservative.

    “Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton slammed the recall as being driven by “closet Republicans and most certainly folks with conservative values in San Francisco, even if they weren’t registered Republicans.”’

  3. Thank you Mr. Jarrett for reporting so I don’t have to stay up all night. I did stay up last night though. What the 5 remaining folks on the task force did should shock any person of conscience: they did exactly the opposite of what the majority testified was best for their communities. It had to be planned, and planned ahead of time. Hopefully the truth will out.

  4. Looks like Townsend, Ditka and Breed overplayed their hands. They will never get away with this now. Too many people are engaged and have witnessed the power grab and whine the scenes dealing. And what is up with Townsend and his car? He’s always gotta move his car. Not buying it. Take a taxi.

  5. Who do we send the bill for wasted time? That is the major product coming out of City Hall, followed closely by corruption.

    1. Power commanding attention and directing it to where convenient for power, drawing it away from what is important to us, plays a major role in art of SF politics war.

    2. I don’t agree Sebra. I think CORRUPTION is far and away the major product produced by the Cartel. What else is this travesty all about? If they wasted more time, they’d do less pilfering.

  6. How odd that real estate speculators and YIMBYs think we don’t see clearly. It’s all on video. The votes. The violations. The illegality. All documented for all to see.

  7. Hey, you totally capsize my boat, Will …

    I crashed at midnight and thought the drama was over.

    Scanned sites before heading off to pick up trash and crap for Manny’s Sunday morning thingee and read this.

    I can pick up dog crap anytime.

    This is a bigger pile of poop that could use some litter

    h.

  8. Once the 4 TF members walked out, the remaining 5 plowed ahead voting on and approving numerous controversial (unsupported by the public) maps but did not allow public comment.

  9. Check it. SF City Charter (our Constitution)
    Section 67.15 (b)
    (b) Every agenda for special meetings at which action is proposed to be taken on an item shall provide an opportunity for each member of the public to directly address the body concerning that item prior to action thereupon.

    Why did TF acknowledge the need for public testimony in the morning, but not in the evening?

    ALSO – didn’t they lose the quorum when 4 members walked out?

    1. Townsend apparently hit the panic buttons and summoned tactical sheriffs unit to remove black community members furious with his vote. Disgraceful.

      1. It was very scary watching it. The Sheriff’s body language showed that it’s the last thing he wanted to do. But between the image of that and the shadow docket we have going here, this city is doomed.

  10. The only reason that substantial changes to the District Map are required is that the Map must reflect current population densities in SF.

    This is the result of 4+ decades of extraordinarily bad housing polices due to the unholy alliance between NIMBY-homeowners and their (so-called) Progressive stooges.

    This bad housing policy has concentrated virtually all new housing development to the east-side (i.e., Eastern Neighborhoods / District 6) and left the west and northern portions of the City essentially untouched.

    If more stability is desired regarding the District Map, then the City as a whole must make the massive west-side embrace it’s fair share of new housing.

    This is not the fault of the District Map Taskforce.

    It is the fault of NIMBY-homeowners and their fellow travelers.

    SF, due to its continuing failure to come to terms with its chronically bad housing policy, is reaping what it has sown.

      1. “marcos”,

        Why do you insist denying to others that** which you enjoy?

        ** (i.e., secure, reasonably-priced housing)

        Give the paid propaganda schtick a rest, NIMBY.

    1. Go back in time to previous administrations and mayors that decided to put high rise housing in the Eastern neighborhoods and make a lot of money for a lot of developers following the desires of Mayor Newsom who wanted to make San Francisco more like Vancouver in the SOMA. Large parcels of what had for years been “light industry” were assembled.
      NIMBY homeowners, as you call them did not make that policy.
      Southern Pacific owned all the vacant and basically abandoned land that is now Mission Bay and took years to develop it. (for “fun” read “The Octopus” by Frank Norris)
      Most of SF is full of people who may be “house rich, but cash poor”, and if they are fortunate enough to own a home to have a stable place to live they should not be vilified and continually stereotyped with what is becoming an overused and too broadly used pejorative like NIMBY just because they have lived here in SF for years.

    2. Stability of the map should not be a goal – growth does not occur evenly, never has and never will. Voting boundaries will always have to be adjusted periodically. The histrionics are absurd.

    3. Yes, and you also have to follow the law and uphold communities of interest. Let’s go back one step, before there was growth, there were communities in these jurisdictions. These communities have existing political power they have formed from having the benefit of having adequate representation. If you shift district boundaries WITHOUT taking account for the communities there, then you will erase their political voice and power. Is that what you want to prioritize? No. Never.
      San Francisco’s beauty is in its history and diversity. It’s the responsibility of San Franciscans to defend themselves and communities from those who want to diminish, undermine and eventually destroy them. Elevating name-calling with terms like NIMBYs or YIMBYs reframes the issues to disenfranchise COIs.
      I want these communities to thrive here, not die.

      1. Maybe the so-called “communities of interest” have amassed too much power and need to have their wings clipped? SF is very progressive and despite all the shrieking about the new maps, will continue to be such.

  11. Interesting to see itinerant nonprofiteer Chema Hernández Gil referring to the new map as “class warfare,” when the city funded political nonprofits and coopted unions that pay his freight exist precisely to consolidate class warfare as practiced in San Francisco on the east side today while caterwauling to the contrary.

    Interesting how Bernal dominance over the Mission is not deemed “class warfare” because Bernal liberals support Mission nonprofiteers. The true source of fighting “class warfare” can’t be “our progressive nonprofits,” who have proven themselves deer in the headlight in the face of an alt-right rampage.

  12. D9, because having The Mission as a colony of Bernal worked so well, now Potrero is going to join the D9 mix so that the whiter, more upscale hill dwellers from two hills can further dominate the poorer, of color, migrant population centers on the flats.

    Lord it over us!

  13. I think what you are missing is that this new map does not introduce bias. It removes bias.

    Currently 8 out of 11 supervisors are progressive. Only 3 are moderates. That is surely in conflict with the city voters as a whole. We see this most clearly in city-wide mayoral elections and local CA Assembly elections, which are almost always won by a moderate.

    I would say that about 8/11 SF people i know are moderate, so something is very wrong with our current map, and it needs fixing.

    1. Nonsense. The Chronicle scored voting patterns algorithmically and came up with a decent distribution. Google up: “chronicle We used an algorithm to score S.F. supervisors”

      There is 1 prog supe, Preston. There are 6 liberal supes, Walton, Ronen, Chan, Mar, Haney, Peskin. There are 3 moderate supes: Safai, Mandelman, Melgar. And there is one conservative supe, Stefani.

      We understand how alt right conservatives might view anyone left of right as communist, but here in the real world, there are differences beyond “not conservative.”

      1. Disagree totally. Ronen is more left-wing than over 90% of SF voters. Preston is more left-wing than probably 99% of SF voters. So nearly 20% of the board represents a tiny extremist faction, and yet there they are.

        There is only one Supe who is even vaguely “conservative” (D2) and that is closer to the 10% of SF voters who are registered Republicans.

        The current system is very skewed ideologically and this map hopefully goes at least some way towards remedying that anomaly.

        Again, think about all the left-wing candidates for mayor in recent years: Avalos, Campos, Ammiano and Gonzalez all lost, because they are all too left-wing for the city as a whole.

        1. Where do you get that 90%/99% stat? In the 2020 presidential primary, Sanders took took 34% of the vote and Warren took 22%. In the subsequent presidential election, the Democrat ticket took 85% of the vote. That means more than 25% of SF voters are at least close to the DSA when it comes to their voting patterns, and if that’s the case, then 20% representation on the BOS is underrepresentation.

          1. Amy, where does your 20% come from. Many sources describe the BofS has having 8 progressive supervisors and, looking at some of their decisions and overrides of the Mayor’s veto, that sounds about right to me.

            Not sure that the 2020 Sanders/Warren support numbers in the Primary are valid, since only registered Democrats can vote in that, and of course they both lost.

            For many years the moderates and progressives on the BofS were about in balance, and if this map means we get that again, then the BofS will look more like the mayor who for decades has always been a moderate.

          2. Tom,
            I can’t reply to your most recent comment, unfortunately. The 20% came from your own comment: “nearly 20% of the board represents a tiny extremist faction, and yet there they are.” Using the primary numbers is not perfect, but it is at least representative of the beliefs of registered voters. The “over 25%” (actually closer to 29%) figure I quote takes into account the fact that the primary was only Democrar voters. The fact that Sanders and Warren didn’t get the nomination at the national level is immaterial; their success in SF (1st and 3rd place, respectively) demonstrates that the ideas you see as “extremist” are nonetheless pretty popular in SF.

        2. Ronen is a middle of the road liberal, if she had any charisma, her politics could win citywide. Her voting patterns are to the right of Preston.

        3. Tom,
          I can’t reply to your most recent comment, unfortunately. The 20% came from your own comment: “nearly 20% of the board represents a tiny extremist faction, and yet there they are.” Using the primary numbers is not perfect, but it is at least representative of the beliefs of registered voters. The fact that Sanders and Warren didn’t get the nomination at the national level is immaterial; their success in SF (1st and 3rd place, respectively) demonstrates that the ideas you see as “extremist” are nonetheless pretty popular in SF.

          1. I accept that leftists are a significant minority in this town. But all my experiences inform me that they are still a minority, and this is confirmed with every mayoral and CA Assembly election.

            So why are a majority of SF supervisors left-wing if a majority of the voters are not? It can only be because the current voting map is biased to favour the left. And therefore that should change.

    2. “Tom”,

      You’ve hit the nail on (“Marcos'”) head — and yours is a good argument for returning to SF’s historical system of electing Supervisors on a City-wide basis.

      The 20-year experiment in election of Supervisor on a District basis has utterly failed.

      It has resulted in the current District Map nonsense; it has resulted in the creation of a particularly bad caliber of politician, political incompetency and the inability of the BOS to address the most important issues of the day — i.e., growing homelessness, runaway housing costs, the failure of the public school system and rampant drug/fentanyl dealing.

      1. Say what you would about district elected Boards, but Ed Jew was better than any of these district elected flunkies:

        – Michael Yaki
        – Gavin Newsom
        – Alicia Becerril
        – Leslie Katz
        – Mabel Teng
        – Barbara Kaufman
        – Amos Brown

    3. Arbitrarily manipulating the datasets to fit the voting patterns 2022 donors need them to, should make every San Franciscan sick, no matter their own voter preferences.

      How short sighted does it get? A destructive process of political gerrymandering to change elections and weaken neighborhoods without any logical reasoning might benefit your team today, but not tomorrow. These districts were formed by real neighborhood borders with meaning, and the history of social movements and their resistance to Urban Renewal movements like the one we’re facing today, solidified that.

      One more thing, if 8 out of 10 people you know are supposedly moderate, it means you need to look beyond your political club’s happy hours. We’re talking about the same moderates who will call themselves progressives, or identify as Libertarians or Neo Liberals, or even DSA, depending on what day of the week it is and what’s politically expedient and profitable at any given moment.

      1. Conversely if 8 out of 11 of the people you know are progressive then perhaps it is you who needs “to look beyond your political club’s happy hours”?

        Every mayoral race for 30 years has been won by a moderate. That should tell you something about the political inclinations of SF voters outside of the activist and agitator minority who make most of the noise.

        This map change is fixing a historic distortion that has denied the will of the silent majority.

        1. Professional nonprofity progressives ran candidates on the platform of “someone has it worse than you, so stfu,” Gonzalez, who came closest, 5%, in 2003 running under a much broader progressive platform, the major exception.

          Leno, a liberal moderate Democrat came closer to beating Breed, a conservative moderate Democrat.

        2. Wanting a moderate mayor does not contradict wanting a more progressive supervisor. The two are not dependent on each other.

        3. 8 out 11 people I know are more progressive than I am. What makes your experience more representative of the city than mine? Do you actually know (well enough to converse about politics) a wide variety of types of people in SF? To base your opinions on how an entire city should be run on purely anecdotal evidence of your own personal experience is not just ridiculous but quite self-involved.

          1. It’s not about you or I. it is about a city where moderates always win city-wide races (Boudin aside and look how that is working out) whilst somehow progressives win most of the districts. That smells really bad and the new map should at least partly address that distortion of the will of the people.

    4. For you, clearly, this is an exercise in disenfranchising communities of interest. Your slant, “to remove bias,” is not the purpose of redistricting at all. You want to dilute the voting power of the people you don’t agree with and it’s likely for reasons of money and power. That’s your “bias”: to cleanse San Francisco from the political power of communities who are vulnerable to the well-funded abuses and gaslighting (see: YIMBIs) that intimidate San Franciscans.
      If you don’t see a Board that looks like YOU, it’s because it looks like the real San Francisco.

      1. Someone got to her during that 5 minute break, to the extent that during the next break they were told they cannot talk to each other during the breaks (reminds me of one senator LG who came back from a break and changed the entire course of a confirmation hearing). I wonder if there really is street cleaning they had to be concerned with.

      2. No, my problem is not that the BofS does not look like me. It is that it does not look like what a city-wide majority routinely votes for i.e. moderate mayors like Breed, Lee, Newsom, Brown, Jordan (which goes back as far as I have been in SF so cannot comment on before then).

        1. Tom,
          You are for gerrymandering. You resent districts because the accurate representation of Communities of Interest means that the likes of you lose political power. “You” meaning the power-hungry who want political gains at any price. Maybe you want to disclose your community of interest and stick the boundaries that you require for your fair representation. Big difference there.
          Also, Board and the Mayor are different branches of government.

          1. In my view the current map represents gerrymandering, since it elects a majority of progressives in a town where a majority of the voters are moderate.

            The new map addresses that injustice.

        2. It’s worth noting that the two most recent mayors of San Francisco were elected as incumbents after being appointed due to a vacancy. Breed served as mayor of San Francisco for 1 year before being voted in the citizenry. Ed Lee also served as mayor of San Francisco for almost 1 year before being voted in by the citizenry.