Opinion: It’s that Time of the Decade

BY PHIL PLUCKEBAUM
FOR THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Phil Pluckebaum / Courtesy Photo

In 2011 I fought hard to get appointed to the Sacramento Citizens Redistricting Advisory Committee to advocate for better LGBTQ+ and Hispanic representation on the Sacramento City Council.

Now, a decade later, we’ve elected our first openly gay councilmember and elected a Hispanic councilmember in a district that hadn’t had Hispanic representation in nearly 30 years.

But, as you may recall, redistricting wasn’t without controversy in our city last time, so in 2016 we passed measure L to create an independent redistricting commission, and they’ve been busy this year.

For the last 10 months, the Sacramento Independent Redistricting Commission (aka as SIRC) has been meeting. They’ve been learning all about our great city, the process of redistricting, and taking input from the public.

The Sacramento Independent Redistricting Commission is entirely independent. That means none of them are or will be politicians, were appointed by politicians, or are heavily involved in politics. As a result, theoretically, they represent us, the people.

I say “theoretically” because they can only act on what they know, and if we don’t tell them who we are, what we want, and what’s essential to our community, they really can’t be blamed for not doing a great job drawing maps that represent us well.

We’ve all heard how important it is to vote. Every election, we see and hear countless get-out-the-vote campaigns, and we’ve all come to understand that voting is a vital part of our civic responsibility.

Redistricting determines which voters get to vote for which representatives. Changing a district’s boundaries can change its demographics enough to change the priorities of its elected representative and even the outcome of some races.

We get a chance to elect our councilmembers once every four years, but we only get an opportunity to define the boundaries of our Sacramento City Council districts once a decade.

The Sacramento Independent Redistricting Commission will take input for at least the rest of the month and start deliberations in November. If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to your neighbors, neighborhood association, and any other groups that may want to advocate for representation in our city and let the Sacramento Independent Redistricting Commission know what’s important to you.


Phil Pluckebaum is a husband, father, project manager, former redistricting committee member and neighborhood association president, and current City of Sacramento Planning and Design Commissioner for District 3, which includes Gardenland, Northgate and much of south Natomas. When he’s not watching channel 14 and helping neighborhoods advocate for themselves by showing them the redistricting mapping tools, you can usually find him riding the bike trail.

You may also be interested in reading:
GIS Hub for Sacramento 2021 RedistrictingRedistricting 2021: Why Natomas Matters
Opinion: Why Redistricting Means to Me
Opinion: Help the Redistricting Commission
Opinion: Advocate for Your Neighborhood

Currently, Natomas is represented by District 1, District 3 and District 4. / Source: City of Sacramento

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