New district lines change landscape in City Council District 6 election

API population in District 6 more than 30 percent

SAN DIEGO - Now that the San Diego mayoral election is over, another local race is getting attention in an area of the city with the highest Asian Pacific Islander population.

The new District 6 lines include the communities of Mira Mesa and parts of Rancho Peñasquitos. It lost other communities like Mission Valley. 

So far, seven people have filed initial paperwork to run in District 6. They include: Don Azul, Chris Cate, Jane Glasson, Carol Kim, De Le, Mitz Le and Keith Wong. Six of the seven are of API descent.

Voter Kim Paule lives in Mira Mesa.

"The diversity of our community is growing," Paule said.

District 6's API population is more than 30 percent. Besides currently interim Mayor Todd Gloria – who is part Filipino – the last API to serve on City Council was Tom Hom. That was in the 1960s.

"It's exciting to see someone take leadership ... hopefully, opening up doors," said Ron Cho, the president of the San Diego chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA).

Redistricting happens every decade. The new district lines, which were finalized in 2011, dealt with controversy during its process. Some in Rancho Penasquitos were upset that their community was being split in two districts. Local Asian American leaders wanted lines drawn to better represent their community.

"API voices aren't heard," Cho said. 

Pam Hooper is the President of SCAPAL, the Southwest Center for Asian Pacific American Law. With the upcoming June primary, she says the challenge now is voter turnout.

Hooper said numerous factors contribute to low turnout in the API community, including language barriers, socioeconomic status and focus on higher education.

Hooper said many people just do not know where to go to get voter information.

"The Asian community just lacks the understanding of how to access politics or that they can make a difference," Hooper said.

For 25-year-old Paule, she just hopes this election brings more opportunity for others like her and encourages others of API descent to get involved in the political process.

"There will be even more (API candidates) and people wouldn't think oh, it's an Asian Pacific Islander," Paule said. "(Instead), hey it's a man, it's a woman who wants to be a leader."

Because of redistricting, current District 6 councilmember Lorie Zapf will be running for reelection in District 2. 

Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer currently represents District 2.

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