Final outreach for BART redistricting

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(ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif.) The final public outreach session for BART redistricting is Tuesday night, Feb. 2 and will determine the district boundaries for the next decade.

According to the document put forward by the BART Board of Directors, redistricting serves as a critical opportunity for BART as a whole to adjust to the changing demographics of the greater Bay Area.

When considering redistricting, officials evaluate the potential changes based on the criteria of compactness, continuity, respect for communities of interest, preserving political subdivisions and the core of the previous district.

Compactness refers to a district's geographic shape and how its comprising parts are dispersed within its boundaries. This issue can be tricky with redistricting because districts are rarely a standard shape like a circle but rather have amorphous boundaries.

Continuity simply means that all portions of the district are continuous. Given that the Bay Area has hundreds if not thousands of moderately-sized to large waterways, districts crossing over waterways will happen. According to redistricting guidelines, however, it should be avoided as best as possible to simply districts.

Preserving political subdivisions is what it sounds like, avoiding splitting cities and well-defined neighborhoods.

Communities of interest are somewhat vague and often difficult to define but the principle of preserving them aims at maintaining the fabric of the community. Socio-economic status, class, gender and race should be considered when analyzing of communities of interest. No one factor should outweigh any other though.

Finally, preserving the core of prior districts is self-explanatory and is designed to maintain the existing structure of the community. It can, in instances where the district itself is legally objectionable, be disregarded.

All details about the redistricting process and the opportunity to submit a comment can be found here.

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