Anchorage Reapportionment welcomes 6 public map submissions

The Anchorage Reapportionment Committee has published 6 maps drawn by members of the community for a total of 10 maps under consideration. These maps were provided to the Committee on January 20th, and have been presented by their drafters at two town halls hosted by the Assembly.

As a reminder, reapportionment is the process of redrawing Anchorage’s six Assembly districts. The addition of a 12th Assembly seat passed by voters has triggered the city’s charter, mandating all districts be reapportioned.

Like the State Constitution, Anchorage’s municipal charter requires that districts be drawn with consideration to compactness, contiguousness, relative socioeconomic integration, and districts of equal population (Anchorage Charter 4.01). Anchorage’s Assembly districts must also abide by the Voting Rights Act, which protects from racial gerrymandering. For more info about the process, read my writeup here.

New districts must be as close to 48,541 people as possible. The addition of a 12th assembly member will cause Downtown, the single-member district that is half the size of neighboring districts, to expand significantly.

This post will 1) go over the maps proposed by the public and compare them to the ones drawn by Resource Data, the muni contractor hired by the Assembly to guide the reapportionment process, and 2) analyze the discussions that have taken place at town halls, which offer important insight as to what priorities the Assembly is keeping in mind for adopting a final map.

An overview of the muni-made maps

Originally, Resource Data drafted 5 maps that I wrote about when they were published. The consensus among everyone I know who has seen them, including multiple assembly members, is that they are not very good. Many of them make strange decisions about what communities to link together, and some are straight up never going to get passed by the Assembly. Now, Resource Data is only offering 4 of them up for consideration.

Note: the partisan data used in the breakdown columns are the estimated results of the 2020 presidential election. These results are calculated by taking the Harvard VEST calculations of Alaska’s election results and assigning absentees in proportion to the precinct or census block’s population.

Map 1
  • District 1 (Downtown) expands south to Tudor Road into current District 4, and east to Pine Street in current District 5
  • District 2 (Eagle River-Chugiak) loses the North Muldoon finger containing the Tikahtnu Mall
  • District 3 (West) loses Campbell Lake
  • District 4 (Midtown) pushes south into Independence Park and a bit of Hillside
  • District 5 (East) loses South Mountain View
West, East, and South get 3-4% bumps for Biden while Midtown gets a 2% bump for Trump

Pairs ConstantDunbar, and Zaletel in the same Downtown district; Rivera and Weddleton are in Midtown together

Map 2
  • District 1 expands south to the northern boundary of Northern Lights; pushes east into South Mountain View and Russian Jack
  • District 3 loses. Campbell Lake
  • District 4 pushes south into Independence Park
  • District 5 expands south into Abbot Loop and parts of Hillside
  • District 6 gains Stuckagain Heights
West and South get a 4 and 6 point bump for Biden, while Midtown gets slightly more conservative

Pairs ConstantDunbar, and Zaletel in DowntownRivera and Weddleton are in Midtown together

Map 3
  • District 1 expands northwest to encompass roughly a third of JBER previously in current District 2; moves east to Boniface Parkway and south to Northern Lights
  • District 2 absorbs Northeast Muldoon
  • District 3 loses Campbell Lake
  • District 4 takes in Independence Park
  • District 5 takes the North Muldoon finger previously belonging to District 2; pushes east into U-Med and south into Abbot Loop and parts of Hillside
  • District 6 takes in Stuckagain Heights
West, East, and South gets a 4-6% bump for Biden while Trump gains 3% in Midtown

Pairs ConstantDunbar, and Zaletel in DowntownRivera and Weddleton in Midtown

Map 4
  • District 1 pushes east to South Mountain View and Russian Jack, while pushing south to the boundary of Northern Lights
  • District 2 takes in Muldoon
  • District 3 loses Campbell Lake and a handful of residents from Kincaid
  • District 4 pushes south into Independence Park and parts of Hillside
  • District 5 expands into Elmendorf and Fort Richardson on JBER; expands east into U-Med and Far North Bicentennial
  • District 6 takes in Stuckagain Heights
Eagle River-Chugiak goes to Trump by 10 fewer percentage points while West and South get a 4-5% bump for Biden. Midtown goes to Biden by 4 fewer points.

Pairs ConstantDunbar, & Zaletel in DowntownRivera and Weddleton in MidtownPetersen with both Eagle River-Chugiak representatives (Allard & Kennedy)

The 6 public maps submitted to the Committee

These maps were submitted to the Committee by members of the public including Matt Greene, former Data Director for the AK Democratic Party; Danny Wells, an Anchorage photographer, Alaskans for Fair Redistricting, an organization led by AFL-CIO President Joelle Hall, Anchorage Action, a non-partisan group that organizes involvement in local government, and me (Robert Hockema), who both helped Anchorage Action submit their map as well as submitted a map under my own name.

Important to note: some of these maps will change now that the Committee has allowed us to modify our maps by February 4th.

Matt Greene
  • District 1 gains JBER to the north and South Mountain View to the east
  • District 2 gains Girdwood, Indian, and areas of South
  • District 3 loses Campbell Lake
  • District 4 gains more of the U-Med area
  • District 5 gains the North Muldoon finger encompassing the Tikahtnu Mall
  • The new District 6 includes Dimond Estates, Campbell Lake, Bayshore/Klatt, Rabbit Creek, and most of Hillside

Pairs Forrest Dunbar and Christopher Constant in Downtown

Anchorage Action
  • District 1 (Downtown) gains central Midtown
  • District 3 (West) gains Dimond Estates and West Dimond
  • District 4 gains Arctic and Independence Park
  • District 6 (South) gains Campbell Lake

Pairs ConstantDunbar, and Zaletel in DowntownRivera and Weddleton in Midtown

Robert Hockema
  • District 1 (Downtown) gains JBER and upper Midtown
  • District 2 (ER-Chugiak) gains East Hillside
  • District 4 (Midtown) gains Independence Park
  • District 6 (South-Turnagain Arm-Girdwood) gains Dimond Estates and Campbell Lake

Pairs Forrest Dunbar and Christopher Constant in Downtown

Alaskans for Fair Redistricting
  • District 1: Downtown, Mountain View, Fairview, and JBER including areas around its gates
  • District 2: Socio-economically integrated neighborhoods along the Chugach Mountains including Chugiak/Eagle River, Stuckagain Heights, and Hillside
  • District 3: West Anchorage west of Minnesota Drive
  • District 4: Midtown neighborhoods
  • District 5: East Anchorage east of Elmore/ Bragaw
  • District 6: Rabbit Creek area, Turnagain Arm, and the non-Hillside portions of South Anchorage

This is the only map offered by either RDI or the public that doesn’t pair any incumbent Assembly members together.

Denny Wells Map A
  • District 1 expands to Northern Lights Boulevard to the Alaska Railroad tracks, and east to Boniface and north of Northern Lights
  • District 2 loses the North Muldoon finger but gains Stuckagain Heights
  • District 3 moves west to Arctic, bordered by Tudor the north.
  • District 4 moves south to O’Malley and expands west into south of Tudor and north of the railroad tracks.
  • District 5 expands west to Lake Otis
  • District 6 expands north to cover all Bicentennial Park.

Pairs ConstantDunbar, and Zaletel in DowntownRivera and Weddleton in Midtown

Danny Wells Map B (coming soon)

What’s next?

With town halls and multiple work sessions underway, the Assembly will now consider community feedback on all maps as well as the recommendations of public submissions to propose a final map. This might be a map the Committee and Assembly really like, or it could be a new map that represents the wishes of all the current maps and feedback.

February 15thAssembly meeting: introduce proposed plan
February 24thPublic hearing
February 25thAssembly work session
March 1stPublic hearing; Assembly consideration and adoption of plan
May 2022Approved map will take place for elections after April 2022
Timeline for the remainder of the reapportionment process

Stay tuned for more updated on the process. Map updates will come as public submissions are revised, and as the Assembly considers the final map to put in front of the public for consideration.

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