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Statement: “Those 5,600 signatures were more people than [San Diego’s Redistricting Commission] heard from the entire eight to 10 months of testimony they’ve taken, emails they’ve received, written comments they’ve received and other petitions from other communities they’ve received,” Andy Berg, president of the Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council, told KPBS in an interview airing Aug. 26 on San Diego Week.
Analysis: Two weeks ago, the seven-member commission charged with redrawing San Diego’s political boundaries approved its final map. The Redistricting Commission added a new ninth council district stretching from the College Area to Southcrest and adjusted the existing eight to account for population shifts.
Rancho Peñasquitos residents opposed the final plan since it split their neighborhood between two districts. The neighborhood, near the intersection of Highway 56 and Interstate 15, now resides wholly within the district currently represented by Councilwoman Sherri Lightner. Under the final map, a southern slice of the neighborhood will become part of the district currently represented by Councilwoman Lorie Zapf.
Residents flooded public meetings with “Unite PQ” signs and provided the commission thousands of signatures opposing the split before the final vote Aug. 22. Andy Berg, president of the neighborhood’s town council, vented his frustration in an interview with KPBS afterward. By dividing the neighborhood between two districts, Berg argued, the commission had ignored the voices of more than 5,600 Rancho Peñasquitos residents who signed a petition opposing the shift.
“Those 5,600 signatures were more people than this commission heard from the entire eight to 10 months of testimony they’ve taken, emails they’ve received, written comments they’ve received and other petitions from other communities they’ve received,” Berg said.
But that’s not accurate, according to the commission’s log of public feedback.
The Redistricting Commission received 6,373 comments through public testimony, emails, letters and petitions that weren’t part of a Rancho Peñasquitos petition. That’s more comments than the 5,600 signatures Berg referenced in the KPBS interview and more comments than 5,719 actual signatures the commission logged for the petition.
In an interview, Berg said he didn’t know the numbers were that close. He made an estimate based on his own experiences at redistricting meetings and what other advocates said they had submitted to the commission. He didn’t check the commission’s numbers beforehand.
To be sure, Rancho Peñasquitos had a loud voice. The neighborhood submitted the petition Berg referenced and another one with 1,646 signatures. (The latter one advocated to keep the neighborhood united on behalf of its Asian residents since another group wanted to split it to create a heavily Asian-populated district. Combined, the two petitions exceeded the total of all other comments logged by the commission.)
And at least some of the comments received through public testimony, emails and letters came from Rancho Peñasquitos residents. Berg said he testified 20 or 21 times at meetings and sent six or seven emails to the commission. Each comment would have been logged separately.
But whether Rancho Peñasquitos submitted the most comments of any neighborhood is not the claim we set out to examine. Berg compared the number of comments from one petition to the combined total of other comments and the numbers didn’t back it up. For that reason, we’ve rated the statement False.
If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the council district where Rancho Penasquitos currently resides. We regret the error.
Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about public safety and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?
Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.
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