At their Tuesday meeting, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors accepted a presentation on redistricting and set a schedule of public workshops to be held in June and July.
"We are very gratified by the response of interest we have had on this subject. Ten years ago, interest wasn't as high and there weren't requests for public meetings," said Board Chair and District Two Supervisor Gayle Uilkema.
The county is required to look at its five district boundaries every ten years following the federal Census so that the districts are as "nearly equal in population as may be" and comply with the Voting Rights Act. Contra Costa's population has grown 10 percent since 2000 to 1,049,025; the change requires each district to have about 210,000 people.
The board was presented with four conceptual maps, three of which split district three (which currently includes Danville, Alamo and San Ramon) due a large population increase.
"District three has grown the largest, by about 50,000," said District Three Supervisor Mary Piepho. "I want to keep the area as whole as possible. I consider Alamo to San Ramon the San Ramon Valley and will advocate keeping them together as communities of like interest."
Under the first concept, Alamo would succeed to Supervisor Uilkema's district and keep San Ramon and Danville within district three boundaries. The second concept keeps Alamo within Piepho's supervision and puts San Ramon and Danville in district two while the fourth concept has Alamo in district four with its southern neighbors in district two. Only concept three keeps the entire San Ramon Valley in the same district.
While Piepho said she thinks concepts two and three are "very workable," it is too early to advocate for any particular plan.
"What we saw (Tuesday) is very fluid and may be very different from what we see later. It's very, very conceptual," Piepho said.
Just as members of citizen's group Contra Costa Redistricting Task Force presented alternatives on Tuesday to the county's four plans, Contra Costa Conservation and Development Director Catherine Kutsuris said the concepts discussed are not final.
"There is an almost an unending number of alternatives. From wherever you happen to stand, you will perceive map possibilities very, very differently," Kutsuris said.
Supervisor Uilkema said she believes the county's plans will need some tweaking.
"I think what we want to do is maintain communities of interest and avoid splitting communities as much as we can," she said. "There are a bunch of things you can use to define a community of interest -- a city boundary, unincorporated community or school district."
In addition to the possible removal of Alamo from the same district as San Ramon and Danville, each of the four concepts splits Walnut Creek between two districts.
The county has until November to redraw its district lines. For more information on redistricting, including public hearing dates, visit ccredistricting.org