If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you live in District 5. After all, the aggressively-gerrymandered district (pictured above) contains most of the Lower Haight.
Most, that is — but not all. And that’s the problem.
First, the basics.
San Francisco is currently divided into 11 districts. Those districts are each represented by a Supervisor. District 5, which encompasses most of our neighborhood, is currently represented by Christina Olague, who was chosen to replace Ross Mirkarimi after he stepped down to run for sheriff. District 8, directly to our south, is represented by Scott Wiener.
Each district is drawn to contain roughly the same number of residents — the current guideline is 73,203 per district, though some variation is allowed. And every ten years, as new census numbers are released, the district boundaries are reconsidered and redrawn.
That process is happening right now, meaning our district could soon get rejiggered.
As it’s drawn now, from west to east, the southern boundary of District 5 runs along Waller Street, then cuts up Webster for a block, and continues east along Haight. This means that the southern stretch of Fillmore containing businesses such as Animal House and Revolver lies in District 8, not in District 5. Similarly, all of those dead-end streets along the northern side of Duboce Park (as well as Duboce Park itself), are not in 5 but in 8.
Meanwhile, the Love in the Lower Haight mural at Haight and Laguna? That’s District 8. And the 2-block long mixed-use housing and retail project that it will soon be torn down to make way for? Also District 8.
All of this means that our neighborhood effectively straddles two districts. Specific issues of importance to the Lower Haight, like the development of that property at 55 Laguna or the improvement of the Lower Fillmore commercial corridor, fall outside of our current Supervisor’s domain.
This month, we have a chance to advocate for redrawing the District 5 boundaries, so that all of the Lower Haight would be united under one District.
The city’s Redistricting Task Force has been holding dozens of meetings to consider new boundaries for all 11 districts, with the task of developing a final plan by April 15th and submitting it to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.
This Saturday, March 17th, they’ll be holding a special meeting to specifically consider District 5. The meeting will be held at 10am at Ella Hutch Community Center at 1050 McAllister Street. The public is invited to attend and learn about the RTF’s current proposed maps, as well as offer feedback for the task force to consider.
The Lower Haight Merchants and Neighbors Association is advocating for extending our southern boundary down to Hermann Street on the east, then cutting up Steiner and continuing along Waller as the district is currently drawn. They would split 55 Laguna in half, including the northern half in District 5 and the southern in District 8, so that the project has the attention of both Supervisors.
Got an opinion on where you would draw the line? Let us know in the comments. If a consensus emerges, we’ll pass it along to the RTF. Or, feel free to do it yourself!