City of Chula Vista Districting
City of Chula Vista
City of Chula Vista
The City of Chula Vista hired Southwest Strategies to lead a multicultural outreach effort as part of its historic districting process.
Client: City of Chula Vista
Expertise: Multicultural Outreach
Location: Chula Vista, CA
“Southwest Strategies provided the Chula Vista Districting Commission with Fortune 500-level public relations support. The translated material they produced was key to connecting with the multicultural audience that we were trying to reach, and even engaged those who traditionally are uninterested and disengaged from public participation.”
–William Richter, Commissioner
Chula Vista Districting Commission
Chula Vista is the second-largest city in San Diego County and has a diverse and growing population of more than 250,000 residents. In 2012, Chula Vista voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition B, which called for the creation of geographic electoral districts to ensure local elected officials better represented the specific issues and needs of each community. Given the City’s diversity, there was an indisputable need for a robust public outreach campaign to generate a high level of awareness and participation among the multicultural communities in the districting process.
Before launching the campaign, we conducted extensive research on Chula Vista’s diverse populations, influential stakeholders and resident needs. Our research helped us understand Chula Vista’s varied ethnic and interest groups, which each has its own distinct communities, subcultures and political attitudes.
Based on our thorough research, we developed a strategic plan that would effectively reach all parts of the community while also being socially, culturally and linguistically sensitive to the unique make-up of Chula Vista. We also prepared a comprehensive multilingual tool kit with educational materials on districting that served as the primary resource for the community throughout the process. All the materials were produced in English, Spanish, Filipino, Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese.
To spread the word about the districting process and begin facilitating public input and engagement, we worked with the City to develop eblasts, a website and a social media campaign. To reach communities in a more personal and targeted way, we launched an ambassador program comprised of more than 100 stakeholders who helped share materials and news, and generate attendance and participation at districting workshops. Each ambassador reached constituents through their own organized meetings, email campaigns, social media and one-on-one contact, helping reach thousands of residents.
We collected community feedback through several highly successful rounds of public workshops, which included live interpretation services in five languages and engaged hundreds of residents. In addition to the workshops and website, a districting hotline and physical mailbox were established, as well as “Districting Access Centers” at public libraries throughout the City. By emphasizing open communications, employing a genuine grassroots effort through our ambassador program and providing multiple opportunities for involvement, we ensured a successful outreach program and smooth districting process that was well received by the many multicultural communities in Chula Vista.
Due to our innovative and effective efforts, thousands of residents were engaged and hundreds participated in our workshops. Residents and stakeholders saw the outreach as a transparent and sincere effort, and were therefore comfortable providing crucial feedback to mapping consultants who were able to incorporate their opinions and requests into a Draft Districting Plan. Feedback specifically from each of the City’s diverse communities was crucial in creating four representative and equal districts that were endorsed by various multicultural groups and approved without any opposition by the Chula Vista City Council in July 2015. Chula Vista successfully held its first district election in November 2016.