(Already know you want to see Manila join the rest of the peninsula in the same supervisorial district? Scroll down for how to weigh on – or just sign onto this letter!)

We are, you may have heard, in the thick of The Great Redistricting. The drawing of new political boundaries affects Congressional districts – a true cause for concern – but my focus here is on how our local Humboldt County districts supervisorial will be reshaped. I’ve lived in Manila for 19 years and believe our town would be better served if unified with the rest of the Samoa Peninsula in the Fourth District instead of tacked onto Arcata in the Third.

Why the peninsula deserves to be made whole

Unifying the peninsula makes sense. Whether looking at issues such as traffic safety, illegal dumping, sea level rise and tsunami preparedness, or the lack of public transit, bike lanes, health services, safe housing and adequate law enforcement, the peninsula communities inherently share more interests and needs with our neighbors in Samoa and Fairhaven than with Arcata. Our recreation experiences and conservation imperatives are focused around the peninsula’s unique coastal dunes and beaches. When Redwood Coast Action Agency implemented a Community Building Initiative in our area, the community didn’t stop at the bridge – the Peninsula Community Collaborative brought together residents from Manila, Samoa and Fairhaven, which resulted in more public safety improvements, clean-ups and community connection than anything I’ve seen in nearly two decades of living here.

With at least two massive, unprecedented projects – offshore wind and the Nordic Aquafarms fish factory – planned for the peninsula, Manila’s interests will be even more aligned with the towns slightly south than the city to the north. Right now, Manila is affected by the decisions made on the Eureka side of things, but unable to weigh in as constituents or share economic benefits. Joining with the rest of the peninsula in the Fourth District would create a more equitable situation than currently exists.

It also aligns with the primary goals of the redistricting effort: ensuring equal population representation and keeping “communities of interest” whole.

How to make your voice heard

Unfortunately, the current proposed maps do not reflect these goals in a logical way! (You can find them, along with an in-depth primer and analysis, in the latest Lost Coast Outpost redistricting story.)

Of the three drafts, one map does unify the peninsula, but it does so by turning the spit into a sort of long leg attached to Arcata, which makes little geographic sense. Another splits Manila between the Third and Fourth at the south end of Peninsula Drive. The last map keeps the division at the Samoa Bridge.

The good news is, we still have time to weigh in.

Here is a link to the Redistricting Advisory Committee meeting happening Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. if you want to provide verbal feedback.

If you, like many people, can’t attend a meeting at that time, you can email cao@co.humboldt.ca.us with your thoughts. You’ll want to include answers to these questions:

  • What are the common interests in your community? Describe how they are important:
  • Explain the geographical location of your community of interest. What are the physical
  • boundaries?
  • What is the rationale for your community of interest to be used in the Board of Supervisor redistricting process? Please describe how the issues before the Board of Supervisors has an impact on your community.
  • What else would you like to tell us about your community?

Alternatively, you can fill out the answers to those questions via this janky worksheet.

Or, easiest of all, you can sign on to this letter arguing for peninsula unification for all the reasons above! We will send it to the Redistricting Advisory Committee in time for their Wednesday meeting and the Board of Supes prior to the Dec. 15 deadline.