If a demographics consulting firm’s estimates hold true, Lodi’s City Council district boundaries will most likely have to be altered for the 2022 election.
Shalice Tilton, senior consultant with National Demographics Corporation, told the Lodi City Council during its Wednesday night meeting that the city’s population has grown by about 34,000 since 2010.
The city’s 2010 population was used to draw boundaries for the 2018 election, when Lodi transitioned from an at-large election to a district election.
Tilton said because Lodi’s 2020 population is estimated by her firm to be 65,588, each of the city’s five districts should contain about 13,118 people.
“Districts one and five, going by our estimates, would appear to be overpopulated,” Tilton said. “So the anticipation is ... even after going through the (redistricting) process, if there’s a desire to keep current district boundaries, we would need to do some population balance.”
District 1, represented by Mayor Alan Nakanishi, includes all of Lodi west of Mills Avenue, along with the area around Lodi Lake west of Ham and north of Turner Road.
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, which determined district population for the 2018 election, District 1 had a population of 10,019 registered voters. As of 2020 it has a population of 13,961, of which 72% identify as non-Hispanic white and 17% identify as Hispanic.
In addition, 7% of district voters are Asian and Pacific Islander, while 3% are Black.
District 5, represented by Councilman Mikey Hothi, includes all of Lodi south of Pine Street and east of Highway 99, as well as south of Kettleman Lane and east of the railroad tracks. It also includes east Lodi between Cherokee Lane and Highway 99, bordered by Lodi Avenue in the north, as well as south Lodi bounded by Mills Avenue, Harney Lane and West Century Boulevard.
Its population in 2010 was 8,414, and in 2020 it was 13,916. About 51% are white, 33% are Hispanic, 13% are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 2% are Black.
District 2, represented by Vice Mayor Mark Chandler, is northern Lodi east of Mills Avenue between Lodi Avenue and Turner Road, as well as north of Elm Street to Sacramento Street, then north of Lockeford Street to Highway 99, and all northwest Lodi above Pine Street.
Its 2010 population was 9,020, and as of 2020 it had increased to 12,394, of which 69% are white, 22% are Hispanic, 6% are Asian or Pacific Islander and 1% are Black.
District 3, represented by Councilman Doug Kuehne, is central Lodi between Mills Avenue in the west to Sacramento Street in the east, and Harney Lane in the south to Lodi Avenue in the north, with a spur bounded by Ham Lane, Elm Street and Sacramento Street in the north.
The 2010 population was 8,976, and in 2020, it had 13,294 residents. About 71% are white and 20% are Hispanic, while 7% are Asian or Pacific Islander and 1% are Black.
District 4, represented by Councilman Shak Khan, encompasses the area bounded by Sacramento Street in the west and Cherokee Lane on the east, Lockeford Avenue in the north and Kettleman Lane in the south. It has a spur in the northeast bounded by Lockeford Street, Beckman Road and Lodi Avenue, and a spur in the southwest bounded by Tamarack Drive, Church Street and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
The district’s population in 2010 was 4,894. That increased to 12,023 in 2020, of which 30% were white and 52% were Hispanic, while 12% were Asian or Pacific Islander and 6% were Black.
“Each district’s population must be within 10% of each other,” Tilton said. “That means the district with the most residents can’t be more than 10% populated than the district with the least amount of residents.”
The city is considering redrawing district boundaries to comply with state law, which requires Lodi to review and make adjustments to boundaries following the U.S. Census.
This will be the second time the city has had to create district boundaries since 2018. That year, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund threatened the city with litigation if did not switch from an at-large election to a district election.
The group claimed Lodi’s at-large system violated the California Voting Rights Act by diluting the Latino vote.
Tilton’s firm helped Lodi draw its initial district boundaries, and at that time, some 20 proposed maps were submitted.
The council did not comment on Tilton’s presentation, nor did members of the public. No action was taken, as the discussion was the first of four public hearings required to be held before a final map approval in April 2022.
The next public hearing will be held Aug. 18, and Tilton said U.S. Census data should be released by that time. Two draft map hearings will be held on March 2 and April 6 next year, and a final map should be adopted on April 17.