Every 10 years the city of San Francisco goes through a redistricting process, in which all 805,000 residents must be split up into 11 evenly distributed districts determined by the city Redistricting Task Force. Japantown is currently located within District 5, which includes the Fillmore and Western Addition. On a preliminary proposed map released by the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force, Japantown was placed in District 2, which includes the Marina and Pacific Heights. Japantown community advocates were initially concerned that removing Japantown from District 5 would separate Japantown from its historical ties with the Fillmore and Western Addition, and would also diminish the voice of the Japantown community amongst the concerns of existing interests within District 2.
Thanks to input from members of the Japantown community at a recent public Redistricting Task Force meeting, the proposed northern boundary of District 5 was moved further north to Pine street, thus keeping most of Japantown in District 5. Unfortunately, the new border still excludes prominent Japantown community institutions, including the Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) building. Concerned members of District 5 are pushing for the adoption of a map reflecting the needs of District 5’s communities, which further modifies the Redistricting Task Force’s proposed map by also including in District 5 all of Japantown, Westside Courts Public Housing, Hamilton Recreation Center, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, Chibi-Chan Preschool and the Western Addition Public Library. The public has until March 29th, 2012 to submit proposed district maps and recommendations to the Redistricting Taskforce before they finalize their maps of the new city supervisorial districts on April 15, 2012.
JCYC provides programs for the youth and future leaders of the Japantown community. Given the importance of JCYC to Japantown’s future, it is all the more important that we keep this valuable institution included in District 5 with the rest of Japantown. Retaining additional community institutions and resources such as the Hamilton Recreation Center, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, Chibi-Chan Preschool and the Western Addition Public Library gives the residents of District 5 a greater ability to control local resources and serve the needs of their community. Please support the efforts of the Japantown community to keep all of Japantown within District 5.