According to data released by the US Census Bureau this year, the population for the City of Whittier jumped upward by more than 2,000 people which includes several hundred non existent households that the Census included in the data in the name of protecting the privacy of one or two residents rather than protecting the right of US citizens to correct and accurate political representation.
Most online redistricting apps are now using the 87, 306 rather than the expected 83,712. The newly released data could include as much as 1,000 non existent persons who were created in the name of protecting an alleged right to privacy, a right not found in the US Constitution to the extent that the Bureau's highly partisan pro Democrat Party leadership is falsely claiming. In another measure of the effect of false data, in Independence Kansas there are actually less than 5 Hispanic families altogether. Yet according to the new Census data there are 20,000 Hispanics in the small town, outnumbering its Native White and Black populations.
Since the city has failed to do its own residential headcount it will have no choice but to use the false numbers included in the latest data. This is how those false numbers will affect you and your Council district.
Previously we released a rough draft of what the upcoming districts could look like. With a more precise map and more precise numbers, using online redistricting apps available to the general public we created two possible new maps and we will probably do at least one more to see how it could look after redistricting is officially completed. Contrary to what new residents might believe the current districts are actually the first in Whittier history and literally split up low income residential neighborhoods for the purpose of preventing low income working class neighborhoods from electing one of their own to the Council and to lock control over the city for the city's wealthiest elites. This had the affect of defeating the entire purpose of changing from at large elections to district elections. In District 1, not a single Native has been elected to represent the local natives of the District with both the current Council representative and the previous representative both having been heavily recruited from outside of Whittier by the city's wealthy elite who don't even live in the district. While vast sums of money are given to people who move to the district from outside of Whittier, local native candidates are often denied both endorsements and campaign funds in a system that is strongly biased against the district's natives who have lived in the district for at least 2 to 3 generations. Even local advocacy organizations have been biased against native candidates. Since 2016, the fact that someone has been a native of District 1 has actually been used against those natives who have attempted to run for the seat. In every election, district 1's Native candidates are denied access to campaign resources that are made available to carpet baggers who move to the district from outside of Whittier with the encouragement and financial support of Whittier's upper elites and power holders. Consider this, because of implicit, and in many cases deliberate, bias against low income and low middle class natives, not a single Native of District 1 has ever been elected to represent District 1. This is due entirely to heavy anti Native bias that was included in the district system adopted by the city.
The other problem is that the City set it up so that those same Councilmembers will be drawing and approving their own district boundaries. Whittier is one of the few cities in California and other states that allows its councilmembers to draw their own districts which is likely to lead to pro incumbent protection maps. A map with 5 or 6 Council districts would create fairer and more representative districts than the current map which allows for only 4 districts that are intended only to protect the wealthy elites strong grip on political power in the city.
The reality we must also face as we go into redistricting is that if you are working class or low income resident who wants to represent your local community on the Council, the system is actually rigged against you. As we have said before, Whittier 360s primary purpose is to level the playing field to give local Native and low income working class candidates a much fairer chance to represent their own communities rather than have wealthy outsiders assume the right to speak for someone with whom they have no common experiences.
Last election we focused on campaign funding and we intended to do so this year as well. However with limited resources we have to pick our targets and we strongly believe the districting battle is the more important battle to be waged. Having said that you the reader should be warned that hundreds of thousands of dollars will be given to and accepted by elite candidates for the upcoming Council elections that will come primarily from outisde of Whittier or from people and businesses that lawsuits against the city or who, like Athens, have contracts with the city or some other conflict or business relationship with the City of Whittier that creates a strong conflict of interest for the candidates who accept that money. This doesn't include the money that some campaigns are accepting from people who are not even US citizens which is very hard to track. Candidates will need to bend over backward to prove they are not accepting these kinds of funds. As an example, Whittier Councilmember Jessica Martinez during her 2020 campaign accepted over $5,000 in campaign cash from a business owner who was involved in a bitter dispute and law suit with the city at the time he gave the money to Martinez. He also gave money to her opponents in an effort to get someone on the Council that would be supportive of his cause. This was widely published and Martinez still won. Other Council candidates have accepted money from Athens and even from the City's employee union in effort to get someone on the council that would be in charge of setting the pay and other benefits for city employees.
The way districts are drawn allows these types of abuses to happen and the only fix is to change the City Charter to expand the number of districts to at least 5 if not 6 and to put the responsibility for drawing districts in the hands of a nonpartisan citizens committee that is representative of low income neighborhoods instead of just the city's ultra powerful elites who so far have been unwilling to share any real power with the city's underclasses or low income working class natives. But until then we have to work with the heavily flawed and heavily biased political system we currently have. And this is where Whittier 360 will be directing it attention in the upcoming battle for control of the city.
Having said all that, we are now able to give you, based on flawed census data, a more precise vision of what your next Council district could look like.
First we have a copy of previously release rough draft that now accounts for the city's actual boundaries. We used the online app Davesredistricting which can be found at davesredistricting.org for those who want to try their own hands at drawing new districts for Whittier City Council, state assembly or even for the US Congress. Other apps available for public use include the site Districtbuilder.org. We highly encourage you to try your hand at creating your maps and submitting them for the redistricting process. The more maps from the community that are submitted from people like you the less able the elite power holders will be able to dictate the outcome of the process and the fairer the process will become and the more likely it is that we will finally be able to elect Natives to speak for Natives. Natives in this context again being someone whose family has lived in Whittier for a couple of generations or even who was born and gew up in Whittier. Did you know that currently if you were born and raised in Whittier, the odds of you winning a seat on the council are less than 20%. That is how heavily the deck has been stacked against you if you come from working class or low income back ground.
Our goal with first and second map was to renite native communities in Southwest Whittier and in Lower Uptown. Both working class and low income communities were split and diluted during the initial districting. Our goal is to consolidate the political power and voices of the underrepresented classes that have traditionally been denied a voice in Whittier's governance and future.
We follow each map with statistics and analysis provided by the davesredistricting.org website. For example the unconstitutionality of the above map in made clear in the charts and analysis below.
In the next map, the boundary for District one moves to Painter in the east reuniting both the currently split communities in Southwest Whittier and Lower Uptown. While Republicans are 35% of the population, like the Asian demographic, they are to spread out for us to be able to create either a majority Republican or even an Asian majority district though that will change because Asians are the fastest growing demographic in Whittier.
This map makes district 3 highly competitive from a partisan point of view. Also while district 1 still includes a couple of higher income neighborhoods, that will not prevent the lower income neighborhoods from having a greater ability to elect on of their own which is what this map is designed to allow them to do. It combined the low income residents of Southwest Whittier with the low income residents of Lower Uptown so that the two lowest income communities in Whittier can consolidate their efforts to elect one of their own to speak for them on the Council.
How does this map look statistically?
We invite you to send us your own maps for publication. Submissions can be made to WhittierNewsNetwork@gmail.com. Maps should include demographic analysis and your motivation for it.