Understanding the term “Communities of Interest”
Your input is needed to shape Oakley’s new city council districts!
What is a Community of Interest (COI)?
A COI is a group of people in a defined geographic location that share a common bond or interest. The definition is broad, leaving communities a lot of discretion in determining which issues are important to them. Communities of Interest are often defined as “a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of fair and effective representation.”
Communities of Interest are best documented through oral, written, or digital input from individuals or groups with first-hand knowledge of them. Census and other outside data can lend support, but cannot replace personal knowledge of the community. That’s why we want to hear your feedback on your community; you know it best!
The 3 Steps to document your Community of Interest:
Please answer the following questions:
1. What is the nature of the bond or common interest of your community?
Please describe what the common interests of your community are, and why or how they are important. For example:
● If your Community of Interest is built around a school then your testimony should include the name and location of the school and describe the community’s involvement in it or why it is important. You might say that the surrounding community is involved with the school in various ways and perhaps accesses a variety of educational and recreational opportunities there.
● You may also identify a Community of Interest based on a shared culture or heritage of residents in a specific area. Please indicate why it is a common bond, e.g. “because of our shared history and language, we work together on cultural projects and this creates a sense of unity and understanding.”
2. Where is your community located?
Tell us where the exterior boundaries of your COI are so we can locate it on a map. For example, write down landmarks, streets, bodies of water, or railroad tracks that indicate the location of the outside border of the community.
A map showing the location of the COI, along with oral or written testimony identifying the location, can be extremely helpful to locate the COI. A map can be created using free online programs such as Google maps or drawmycacommunity.org. Please find directions for how to submit COIs online in our handout “Oakley COI Online Instructions”.
3. Why is it beneficial for your community to be kept together in one District?
When you talk about your Community of Interest, consider explaining why it should be kept together in a district and why splitting it would be problematic. For example:
● A Community of Interest working on improving a specific school may find it more effective when residents in the respective area can work together with one, rather than multiple representatives.
● A small COI that is working to receive government support may find that it has lesser chances of receiving support if split into two.
You’ve documented your COI: now what?
Please get the information about your Community to us in one of the following ways:
● Attend one of the Oakley Districting hearings! You can let the Council know about your COI by providing a public comment during a hearing or by writing it down and dropping the information off.
● Email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
● Mail or drop it off at: Oakley City Hall 3231 Main St, Oakley, CA 94561
Please submit your COI testimony before October 6, 2021 for it to be considered in the draft map. Thank you for participating in this important project!