A once-in-a-10-year opportunity is cycling through San Mateo County, and sadly it seems like very few people know about it or recognize its importance: redistricting. 2020 Census data shared across the country impacts everything from the Electoral College, Congress and even our own county supervisor districts. County staff has worked diligently to reach out to diverse communities across San Mateo County to create awareness and engagement in the District Lines Advisory Commission.
I’ve been one to speak up about the fact that we don’t need to have an all-white, mostly-male Board of Supervisors in a county with over 62% people of color and over half are women. It’s embarrassing — mainly because of how progressive our county is (i.e., Newsom recall results).
Why is the redistricting process important? There are multiple reasons why redistricting matters. It impacts who may end up representing you, how they respond to your community needs and access to resources (each district has discretionary funding), and if your community is kept together within the same district. Some say, “so what that it’s all white guys, they ran and got elected — more people of color and women should run.” It’s easy to say that, however, in reality, people of color and women experience far more significant challenges because, historically, people of color and women have been left out. And, I commend the Board of Supervisors and city councils across the county that are making an effort to get more people of color and women on boards, commissions and committees. It’s a step in the right direction; however, if the districts are not designed to level the playing field, it only makes it that much harder.
If you’re interested in learning more about the process, please go to smcdistrictlines.org to find out how you can take part in the process.
Now that the gubernatorial recall is over, can we talk about the takeaways?
California is pretty clear on its values — we don’t tolerate Trump-like rhetoric and policies (or lack thereof). Sad it cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but glad Newsom supporters have sent anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-science folks a clear message. We Californians voted for truth and logic.
Organizations like Swing Left, San Mateo County Central Labor Council, Peninsula for Everyone, San Mateo County Democrats, San Mateo County Latinx Democratic Club and South Asians for America banded together for Newsom. In San Mateo County alone, volunteers were in the thousands knocking on doors and making phone calls in English, Spanish and multiple Asian languages supporting the governor. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Another takeaway: Democrats are organized and emboldened in California. They have the people, the money and, hopefully, the right message. I hope the Dems remember to reach out to the Latinx population early — they make up the second largest voting bloc in California.
The 2022 midterm elections are looking grim for Republicans in California. It appears that the recall led to even more Democrats than Republicans registering to vote. What happens with those races here will impact Congress. Those U.S. House electeds that converted their districts blue to red in 2020 need to worry because the Dems are coming for you.
Rudy Espinoza Murray is a Redwood City resident and community organizer on housing, gun violence prevention, LGBTQ+ and Latinx issues. He is a co-founder and lead of the San Mateo County Farmworker Affairs Coalition.