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Protesters Warn San Francisco Redistricting Plan Could 'Start Community Wars'

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Protesters rallied outside of City Hall Saturday, voicing their concerns over the ongoing process of redefining the San Francisco Board of Supervisors electoral districts.

Speakers at the rally focused on keeping the Tenderloin, South of Market and Treasure Island neighborhoods all a part of District 6. Currently, none of the proposed maps have all three remaining in the district.

More than 100 people spoke both in person or virtually during the emotionally charged open session.

Members of the task force reminded the audience inside the hearing room that their challenge is to adjust the districts so that each has an even population based on 2020 census data. District 6 saw the largest increase in residents, which will require thousands of people to be moved into new districts.

"I hope you guys won't pit people against each other and start community wars," one woman said during public comment session.

Public comment began before 11 a.m. and continued until 1 p.m. with each speaker given two minutes to share their thoughts with the task force. The afternoon session gave more people a chance to call in virtually keeping public comment going past 5 p.m.

"We urge the members of the task force to take their own process seriously," one man said. "To consider the dreams and desires by the most impacted communities. Especially Black and Brown working class communities."

But some did voice support for other options and other maps.

"The Richmond District is diverse socially, racially, and economically and diversity is something we pride ourselves on," a woman told the task force. "We have immigrants from Eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia living alongside San Franciscans who have lived here for generations."

While many speakers focused on why they believed a certain map was best for communities of interest and targeted any frustration at the task force, some attacked other members of the public with opposing views on the best map.

People suggested political motivations behind the desire of some to lobby for certain district boundaries, arguing over the racial and socio-economic impact of those changes.

Members of the task force acknowledged before and after the public comment that they are bound by the law and hard numbers in the process.

They reminded the audience they will not be able to make everyone happy and they will need to have more hard conversations before making tough decisions.

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