From: Zachary Wald 
Date: Wed, Mar 31, 2021, 8:21 PM
Subject: Public Comment for 4/1 Meeting and STAFF: please redact my email address
Dear Public Input Design Committee of the California Redistricting Committee,
Having worked on the last two redistricting processes as a staffer for the City of Oakland, I'd like to offer my recommendation on ways to enhance your public input process. I believe the lessons learned and lived experience can be helpful to your esteemed Commission, especially when charting new territory. (pardon the pun)
Initial testimony is mostly administrative and process related (such as this letter!), yet soon there will be three phases of testimony:
1) Community of Interest- Community testimony should be collected early - before the Census data is finalized.  Some will include maps ("my community is here") and some will not ("it is important to keep my city whole because…").  These will come through multiple avenues (your online mapping tool, input hearings, and written submissions).  These comments will be the majority of your public input. You might consider a system to keep the testimony organized and searchable.
2) District Maps- Just like the commission, the public cannot submit proposed district maps until census data is released.  There will be fewer maps submitted, but they take longer to consider.  It will take more time to draw eight Assembly Districts versus one community, just as it will take more time to explain eight sets of boundaries versus one.  Your commission should decide whether to consider these maps before, during, or after it draws its own draft maps.  A word to the wise: In order to understand the rationale for the district lines, you'll want to think about the best to review these draft maps. In Oakland, the Council allowed the organizations submitting the partial or full maps to give presentations. One group spent weeks meeting with hundreds of their own members to develop one proposed map as an organization. Their request for more than 2 minutes of public comment at our redistricting meeting was granted since they were essentially condensing hours of community engagement while they explained the rationale for their proposed lines.
3) Proposed Map Feedback- Once you release your own maps, the public will have feedback about those proposals.  This feedback cannot begin until you release your draft maps.  Testimony on what you got right will be just as important as what you got wrong.  Some will include maps ("you split my community and here is how to fix it") and some will not ("good job on District X").   
Yours Truly,
Zac Wald, Consultant