S.F. J-Town group spearheads redistricting campaign

Every 10 years, the federal government conducts the national census. Once it has been completed, the San Francisco Director of Elections must determine whether the existing supervisorial districts meet the legal requirements.

If the existing districts no longer comply with these legal requirements, the Redistricting Task Force (RTF) must redraw the 11 supervisorial district lines.

Early drafts of the boundaries split Japantown in half at Geary Street, but community pressure has helped to move the boundary drafts to include much of Japantown. The Japantown community, however, has continued to lobby the RTF to include various resources that have yet to be included in the revised boundaries.

The current boundaries extend as far north as the southern half of Pine St., and do not include the Japanese Community Youth Council, the Nichiren Buddhist Church and St. Benedict’s Parish for the Deaf at St. Francis Xavier Church. These entities are on the north side of Pine Street, thus placing them in District 2, which includes the Presidio and Pacific Heights. The Chibi-Chan Preschool and Westside Courts public housing projects are also not included in Japantown’s District 5.

To oppose the current boundaries, nihonmachiROOTS, a group of young Japantown leaders, is holding a “Week of Action,” and inviting community members to lobby the RTF through various mediums. From March 11 through March 14, the group organized letter-signing and e-mail campaigns, an online petition and a Facebook campaign. It will host a Twitter campaign for Thursday, March 15, a calling campaign on Friday, March 16 and it invites the community to physically speak out at a RTF meeting on Saturday, March 17 at the Ella Hutch Community Center, located at 1050 McAllister St. from 10 a.m.

For more information, visit www.japantownnow.com/events.

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