Irvine Districting: Map + Public Comment
Retrieved June 28, 2023 at 11:04 a.m.
Dear Irvine City Councilmembers and Staff:
My name is Layne Jackson Hubbard, Ph.D. and I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California Irvine. I am also a proud member and campus chair of UAW Local 5810 — the union of postdocs and academic researchers at the University of California. Many members of our UCI & campus community gathered together to brainstorm our Communities of Interest and collaborate on drawing a map. Our workshop was composed of high schoolers living in faculty housing, undergrads, grad student researchers, teaching assistants, postdocs, junior specialists, academic researchers, student leaders, and union members brainstorming together!
Here’s what I learned from our collaboration: It is very important that the UCI community be kept together in one district, along with the neighboring off-campus housing, rentals, and apartments where we live, work, and study. Specifically, this includes parcels 185, 2641, 3988, 2083, 2816, 2822, 2209, 5619, 1842, 0, 1304, 2829, 1885, 4499, 13, 3071, 6346, 7433, 3885.
Our core community of interest (COI) is the UCI community since this is where we study, work, and live. It is also where we get our main sources of information through flyers on bulletins, walls, halls, bathrooms, classrooms, cafeterias, and sidewalks. If we are split into multiple COIs then we will have an extremely difficult time communicating effectively with each other — confusing our community and exacerbating the barriers for young people to get involved in civic engagement.
It is also important for us to have our own district because we face unique challenges as a community — we are more likely to be renters, we are more likely to be low-income, we are more likely to be young adults, we are more likely to use public transportation, and we are more likely to commute via bikes and pedestrian pathways. Yet for all of these reasons, we are unfortunately less likely to have a voice in our city’s governance.
We are also extremely diverse. ~60% of undergraduate students at UCI are first generation — the first in our families to go to college! And we are composed of diverse disability communities too — with important needs related to income, housing, and transit. Our shared community at UCI is a space for our diverse communities to come together in student groups and professional groups to share our needs and reach our goals.
While many of us live on-campus, many others live nearby in off-campus housing too — often in rentals and apartments. It is important that these nearby rental neighborhoods be included in our district — not only because we live there (especially postgraduate researchers who don’t have access to student housing such as postdocs, project scientists, specialists, etc.) but also because renters are a particularly vulnerable community of interest in Irvine where the cost of shelter is extremely high. Renters are similarly more likely to be lower-income and to utilize public & alternative forms of transit. And, renters often have less voice in our city planning because we are often excluded from participating in neighborhood HOAs, and we are incorrectly viewed as being temporary in our city’s governance.
Without a strong voice in our city’s governance, we are priced out of living where we work and study, and we lack robust transit systems necessary to meet our community needs. Members of our brainstorm also helped lead our recent UC strike — the largest strike in academic history! — because of the pressing needs that our UAW Locals 2865 and 5810 workers at the UC face due to low wages, and our needs for affordable housing, childcare, and accessible transit.
For all these reasons, we request that UCI and the neighboring rental communities where we live be together in one district — so that we can continue to work together to improve our living, working, and commuting conditions.
Layne Jackson Hubbard, Ph.D.
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