The FAQs on this page were developed prior to the forming of the Oakland Redistricting Commission in August 2020. For an updated list of FAQs related to the current work of the Commission in 2021, please visit this webpage.
Q. What is the Redistricting Commission?
A. In November 2014, the Oakland electorate approved a ballot measure creating an independent Redistricting Commission that will redraw district boundary lines for City Council and School Board of Directors districts. The Commission will redraw the lines every 10 years, coinciding with the U.S. Census, beginning in 2020 and every year ending in zero thereafter.
Q. How many Commission members will there be?
A. The Redistricting Commission will have 13 voting members and two (2) alternate members. There will be at least one member from each existing district serving on the Redistricting Commission.
Q. How are Commissioners selected?
A. Those wanting to serve on the Redistricting Commission will be invited to apply beginning in December 2019, and the application period will close on April 1, 2020. A three-member Screening Panel will review all applicants that meet the minimum qualifications. In July 2020, the Screening Panel will recommend a pool of 30 applicants, with at least two applicants per existing district. On July 22, 2020, the City Clerk will randomly select six names from the list and those six people will be on the Redistricting Commission. The six members will have until September 1, 2020, to select nine other members (seven voting members and two alternates) to join them on the Redistricting Commission. At least one member per existing district is required. The selection of the nine members will be conducted at a public meeting.
Q. What is the Screening Panel?
A. The November 2014 ballot measure that created the Redistricting Commission also created a companion three-member Screening Panel. The Screening Panel is responsible for reviewing all applicants that meet the minimum requirements to serve on the Redistricting Commission and for narrowing the eligible list to 30 recommended applicants. Screening Panel members have the same eligibility requirements as the Redistricting Commission. Additionally, the three-member Screening Panel must consist of one of each of the following: (1) a retired judge residing in Oakland; (2) a current law or graduate public policy student; and (3) a representative from a 501(c)(3) nonprofit good government organization.
Q. When can I apply?
A. The City is no longer accepting applications. The application period for the Screening Panel closed on September 30, 2019. The application period for the Redistricting Commission closed on April 1, 2020.
Q. Are there eligibility requirements to serve?
A. The eligibility requirements to serve on the Redistricting Commission or Screening Panel are the same and consists of the following:
All members shall be residents of the City of Oakland for at least the three years preceding the date of application.
• For Screening Panel membership, a student temporarily residing outside of the Oakland city limits may claim Oakland as their domicile if they intend to return.
All members shall not have a conflict of interest, as defined in the Political Reform Act, commencing at Section 81000 of the Government Code.
All members shall not be paid employees of the City of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District or serve on a City of Oakland or Oakland Unified School District Board or Commission.
All members shall not, within the five years immediately preceding the date of application, be paid employees of any redistricting contractor or consultant.
All members, their spouses, parents, children, or registered domestic partners, shall not, within 10 years immediately preceding the date of application be:
• Elected to, or a candidate for office for the City of Oakland or the Oakland School Board; or
• An employee, or paid consultant or contractor to a campaign for local office; or
• Registered or required to be registered as a local lobbyist; or
• A paid employee of, a consultant to, or under contract with any elected City of Oakland Official or Oakland Unified School Board Member; or
• A principal officer of an active campaign committee domiciled in Alameda County that has made an expenditure on local Oakland candidate elections.
All members shall not contribute 50% or more of the allowable amount to candidates for City of Oakland and Oakland Unified School District elective office in the election preceding the application date. In 2019, the 50% contribution amount that cannot be exceeded is $400 for individuals.
All members shall not be registered to vote in a polling place located outside of Oakland city limits.
The Screening Panel will consist of three members, one of each of the following:
• A retired judge;
• A current law or graduate public policy student; and
• A representative from a 501(c)(3) nonprofit good government organization.
Q. If I am selected, how long will I be needed to serve and what is the time commitment?
A. For both the Screening Panel and Redistricting Commission, members can only serve one term and the term will expire after the final boundary lines have been approved and are no longer subject to appeal. For Screening Panel members, the majority of work for the term will be from April to August 2020.
For Redistricting Commissioners, training will begin in September 2020 and the majority of work will take place from August to December 2021. Redistricting Commissioners will conduct all meetings at Oakland City Hall, unless an offsite location is designated by the Commission, and all meetings will be open to the public. One of the first tasks of the Redistricting Commission as a group will be identifying a meeting night that fits all members’ schedules. Staff anticipates once-a-month meetings from September 2020 to May 2021 for training, and twice-a-month meetings beginning in June 2021.
Q. When is the deadline for approving the final district boundaries?
A. The Redistricting Commission has until December 31, 2021, to approve the final boundary lines.
Q. I am not familiar with the redistricting process; will that deter the Screening Panel from recommending my application?
A. No. There is no requirement that a person have previous knowledge or expertise in redistricting to serve on the Redistricting Commission.
Q. What will the Screening Panel be looking for in applications?
A. Per the measure, the Screening Panel is tasked with identifying a pool of applicants that reflects the geographic, racial, ethnic and economic diversity of the City of Oakland. Additionally, this pool will be selected based on relevant analytical skills, ability to be impartial and apparent ability to work together well with other potential commissioners.
Q. If selected, will I be trained and what assistance will be offered to me?
A. City staff will train the commissioners on conducting public meetings and ensuring compliance with the State’s open meeting laws that govern the City’s local bodies, boards and commissions. Legal assistance will be provided by the City Attorney’s Office. Technical assistance will also be provided to the Redistricting Commission by internal staff and outside consultants. Any outside consultants will be vetted through a competitive process in consultation with the Redistricting Commission.
Q. What are the goals of the Commission?
The goals of the Commission is to conduct an open and transparent process enabling full public consideration of and comment on the drawing of district lines. To conduct itself with integrity and fairness. Additionally, the Commissioner selection process is designed to produce a Commission that is independent and is reasonably representative of the geographic, racial, ethnic and economic diversity of the City of Oakland.
You can read more about the goals and work assigned to the Commission in Article II, Section 220 of the City Charter.
Q. I applied to be on the Screening Panel but was not selected, can I apply to serve on the Redistricting Commission?
A. Yes, you can apply for both the Screening Panel and the Redistricting Commission; however, separate applications are required.
Q. I applied to be on the State’s Redistricting Commission; do I need to submit a new application for the Oakland Commission?
A. Yes, you will need to submit a new application. The State of California also has an independent Redistricting Commission and the State’s application period and selection process coincides with the City’s process. Unfortunately, the State’s criteria and eligibility requirements are different than the City of Oakland’s, and a new application is needed to evaluate all applicants on an equal basis.
Q. Will I be paid if I am selected?
A. No, these are unpaid volunteer positions.
Q. I want to apply but I do not meet the eligibility requirements; when will the next Redistricting Commission be formed?
A. The Redistricting Commission is formed every 10 years after the conclusion of the U.S. Census. The measure requires staff to initiate the selection process in 2020 and every year ending in zero thereafter. The next Redistricting Commission application period will be opened in January 2030.
Q. After I am done serving as a Redistricting Commissioner will I be restricted from running for office or seeking other employment opportunities?
A. Yes, per the measure a Commissioner shall be ineligible, for a period of 10 years beginning from the date of appointment, to hold elective public office for the City of Oakland. A member of the Commission shall be ineligible, for a period of four years beginning from the date of appointment, to hold appointive public office for the City of Oakland or Oakland Unified School Board, to serve as paid staff for or as a paid consultant to Oakland City Council, or any member of the City Council or Oakland School Board, to receive a non-competitively bid contract with the City of Oakland, or to register as a lobbyist. This four-year ban on having a paid consultancy or entering noncompetitively bid contracts applies to the member individually and all entities for which the member is a controlling person.
Q. How do I find more information?
A. For more information visit www.oaklandca.gov/redistricting.