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'Does he know what the area needs?' | Meadowview neighbors concerned over redistricting map

Neighbors in Meadowview are concerned over the possibility of splitting into two districts.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The final redistricting draft map shows Meadowview splitting into two different districts, and neighbors are concerned about the future of the neighborhood if the final map is approved. It was approved by a commission unanimously on Thursday.

They say the neighborhood is already stuck between a negative perception and their reality.

"There's homeowners, you have people that are working," said Jesse Reese, president of Meadowview Neighborhood Association. "We're trying to portray the fact everybody lives in Meadowview, and it's not poor. We have families just like anybody else."

Roz Myers moved to Meadowview in 1975. She's seen the area change around where the current Samuel and Bonnie Pannell Community Center is today.

"We had a strip mall there," Myers said. "We had cleaners and a pool hall, barbecue, different things. It was a community with a commercial section, but all of that began to decline, especially when they developed the Pocket and then Valley Hi."

Even with all the changes in Meadowview, you'll find long time residents who have a lot of pride in their neighborhood.

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"It's my home," said Kao Ye Thao, Meadowview resident. "It's what I know being a first generation Hmong American, so I'm passionate. It's simply home for me."

However, a recently approved redistricting map shows the neighborhood getting divided. Every ten years after receiving an updated U.S. Census count, local jurisdictions go through the process of redrawing district lines. Meadowview, historically, has been split before. It happened in 1981.

Lauren Hammond, a Sacramento city council member between the years of 1997 to 2010, was part of the redistricting process before there was an independent redistricting commission. She shared with ABC10 the challenge on creating maps that are "balanced."

"It's not easy, and it's because of the unincorporated county so you can't cross over the unincorporated county line," Hammond said. "It is difficult, and we have a lot of neighborhoods who are active, who want to be together, like where they are and there are other neighborhoods who are active, have been together, and don't like where they were put in."

The final draft map shows Meadowview in District 5 and 8. The residents who spoke out against the final draft map want to stay in District 8 and be represented by council member Mai Vang, who they voted for. However, with the map approved, Meadoview will be represented by two different city councilmembers Vang and Jay Schenirer.

"My concern about being represented by two different districts is, number one, if you have a councilmember in another district, does he really know your area? Does he know what the area needs?" Reese said.

It's more than being represented by a different councilmember they didn't vote for. It's about money as well.

"They need to understand the lines may be invisible, but the money is real," said Betty Williams, president of Greater Sacramento NAACP. "This is a community that needs its economic engines and do not need it removed into an area that's richer than we are already. Keeping our institutions like Kaiser (Permanente) in the neighborhood, (and) those economic engines that feed into our growth."

Williams says the NAACP is very involved with census and redistricting. They've seen historically what's happened when neighborhoods are split or economic drivers are taken away, like in Oak Park.

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In Oak Park, businesses closed or moved away once the freeways were put in. The State Fair also moved out to Cal Expo, which was another source of income.

"When you're not watching, Oak Park, the way they redesigned the lines, it brought a freeway that cut out the main artery into the downtown area which was an economic engine for Oak Park, which killed it," Williams said. "We want to make sure that doesn't happen again in cutting off economic engines."

Residents in Meadowview say they've made a lot of progress, but if the neighborhood is divided, they're worried it can undo years of work.

"You can go down Meadowview Road and see the development," Reese said. "The community center, the aquatics center, all those things along the homes, Home Depot, Les Schwab Tire Shop, all that is new development."

RELATED: Meadowview residents worried city could split their neighborhoods | Redistricting map concerns

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