A demographer hired by the city to create council districts believes Manteca has no choice under the law but to create a district where 53 percent of the population is Hispanic.
He argued under California law during Tuesday’s council meeting if such a district can be created a jurisdiction “essentially is required” to form it in order to avoid being sued.
If that serves as a guide for the council that means the ultimate final map would be a variation of Map 203 and would have to be built around that map’s District 3 basically remaining intact.
Such a District 3 would be bounded on the north by Louise Avenue, on the east by Highway 99, and on the south by the 120 Bypass.
The western boundary would start at the 120 Bypass and Union Road, jog to the east on Wawona Street and then swing north on El Portal for a block before shifting slightly to the northwest onto El Capitan. It would then head east on Nevada Street for a block and then head north on Walnut Avenue before turning east on Alameda and then heading north along the Tidewater to Louise Avenue.
Mayor Ben Cantu — one of two Hispanics on the council with the other being Jose Nuño — balked at the idea of creating such a district.
“Ethnicity or whatever color people are in Manteca is immaterial,” Cantu countered.
Cantu, argued that race isn’t an issue in Manteca, and that the bigger concerns of people regardless of their ethnicity are issues the city is struggling with such as growth, traffic, affordable housing, securing higher paying local jobs, homelessness, and street maintenance among others.
As such, he wanted common issues that bind certain parts of the community together and not ethnicity to drive the district mapping process.
Nuño agreed — to a degree.
Given what prompted the city to move toward district elections in the first place was to avoid being exposed to voting rights lawsuit, Nuño said he felt the city had no choice but to create District 3 as basically outlined in the draft Map 203.
Cantu countered that the city, regardless of what they do, can be sued.
It should be noted that neither Nuño nor Cantu reside in the proposed District 3 as outlined in Map 203.
Overall 41 percent of Manteca’s population is Hispanic, 35 percent non-Hispanic white, 15 percent Asian-American and 5 percent Black.
Based on that the current council essentially reflects the ethnicity makeup with Cantu and Nuño being Hispanic accounting for 40 percent of the council composition and 41 percent of the population, Charlie Halford and Dave Breitenbucher being white account for 40 percent of the council composition, and 35 percent of the population, and Gary Singh being Indian that is lumped with Asian American accounting for 20 percent of the council composition and 15 percent of the pollution.
The demographer said it is irrelevant that the council is fairly balanced now given that likely wasn’t the case In the past and there is no assurance at-large elections going forward would keep the council as balanced.
Based on input from the council, the demographer will work on variations of two maps that he drew up based on public input and Census data regarding ethnicity, proportionate population, and other factors such as household income and education. Those two maps are 201 and 203.
The other map the council is interested in is 210 submitted by Del Web resident Bill Barnhardt.
Map 203 that creates District 3 with 53 percent Hispanics included 39.2 percent Hispanics in District 1, 32 percent Hispanics in District 2, and 38 percent Hispanics in District 4.
The Hispanic breakdown for Map 201 is 37.6 percent for District 1, 47 percent for District 2, 46 percent for District 3, and 31 percent for District 4.
The next public hearing on the draft will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 7,at 7 p.m.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org