News

Supervisors narrow choices for new district maps

During a three-hour public hearing on Tuesday, Contra Costa County's board of supervisors came one step closer to writing new district lines. Initially presented with five concepts, the supervisors deliberated over 13 maps before deciding on three of the most favorable.

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." 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.

Much of the public hearing focused on the importance of keeping cities and communities of interest whole. Several residents who live near the Concord Naval Weapons Station advocated for keeping the area in one supervisorial district while several Walnut Creek residents spoke about the difficulties of having three supervisors in one city.

"We believe we are the only city that can speak to the consequences of being split among several districts," said Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva. "No matter where you live…you should be able to have the same kind of access to your county government as any other resident. For the last 10 years Walnut Creek residents have not had that same access because they cannot figure out who their supervisor is without a lot of work."

While Principal Planner Patrick Roach said a bulk of the comments the county received were from residents of the San Ramon Valley, only one resident spoke about the area during the hearing. Roach said the large amount of comments from the San Ramon Valley were the result of a highly attended redistricting workshop held in Alamo in early June.

The three surviving maps, concepts six, nine and 12, are currently being amended to address concerns expressed during Tuesday's meeting. Two of the concepts keep the San Ramon Valley in the same supervisorial district.

Concept six, created by the Contra Costa Citizens Redistricting Task Force, will be amended to include all of Concord in district four. At the request of Supervisor John Gioia (district one), concept six will attempt to place Antioch in district five and present "a more straightforward line demarcation."

Originally penned by Supervisor Gayle Uilkema as an attempt to keep all cities whole, the modified concept nine map makes slight changes in the Pittsburg/Bay Point area. This plan also splits East County between two districts, a measure District Three Supervisor Mary Piepho advocated for, and adjusts the district three boundary to include Alamo and Diablo.

Concept map 12 was not amended, but shows the commonly held desire to put Walnut Creek in a maximum of two supervisorial districts.

"If there's ever an example of the phrase, 'you can't please everyone all the time,' this would be it," said Supervisor Gioia. "I think we owe it to the public to try to come up with a final map that…has the greatest amount of integrity trying to balance all the communities throughout the county. It's impossible to achieve all the regional goals at 100 percent."

In addition to pleasing county residents, the new district lines must comply with the Voting Rights Act -- a piece of legislation that arose from the Civil Rights Movement.

"The idea is that when you're redrawing district boundaries for any elected office, that you're not doing it in a fashion that would preclude a majority-minority district. That would be diluting the ability for a minority to elect one of their own to office," Roach said.

As a result of the growing racial diversity within the county over the past 20 years, Roach said he does not consider any of the districts to be discriminatory.

County staff will continue to analyze the amended maps on June 12 at 11:15 a.m., where they may or may not adopt a final map. In 2001, the board of supervisors held at least seven meetings to discuss redistricting, though Roach said he hopes it won't take as long this time.

The deadline to pass a new map is Nov. 1. More information can be found at www.ccredistricting.org.

Comments

Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Jun 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

"The three surviving maps, concepts six, nine and 12, are currently being amended to address concerns expressed during Tuesday's meeting. Two of the concepts keep the San Ramon Valley in the same supervisorial district."

Of these three maps, only Concept Six makes any sense to me at all.
It has the least variance in population sizes.
It keeps the SRV together in OK fashion.


Posted by [removed], a resident of Alamo
on Jul 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

Dear Editor,

Two polling efforts started by news service researchers on Tuesday have tested 680 south communities for voters' interest in remaining in District 3. Responses illustrated dissatisfaction with Mary Piepho as the primary reason to seek Concept Plan #6 that would place 24/680 south corridor in District 2. It is obvious to corridor voters that they have greater commonality with the entire 24/680 south corridor as a district proposed in Concept Plan #6.

Further polling questions concentrated on Alamo and Diablo as more aligned with Walnut Creek than the San Ramon Valley. Responses illustrated voter's desires to be linked to Lamorinda and Walnut Creek. For Alamo, Walnut Creek was confirmed to be downtown for the majority of residents. Specifically, Alamo and Diablo voters want an end to Mary Piepho's arbitrary and often antagonistic abuse of these communities.

Important result of polling is voters' belief that redistricting is only a political event that serves supervisors' political supporters and potential for re-election. A majority of those polled have no confidence that supervisors have any interest in serving the will and interests of Contra Costans.


Posted by [removed], a resident of Alamo
on Jul 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

Dear Editor:

UPDATE:

The Alamo Improvement Association President, Roger Smith, has sent a letter to CCC-BOS that accurately and simply explains redistricting choices and impact in the 680 south corridor, Web Link.

The letter's presentation provides commonality of values among your readership area as choices among the concept plans and proposals discussed June 28, 2011 by CCC-BOS.

As your readers review Roger's well-considered points they should consider attending the next CCC-BOS redistricting hearing July 12 in Martinez. To date, supervisors have ignored our public voices in developing districts to their own selfish political interests. Your readers need to carefully consider what another ten years of similar districts and continuation of current supervisors will mean to our communities and neighborhoods.


Posted by [removed], a resident of Alamo
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

Dear Editor,

UPDATE:

AS communities throughout Contra Costa expect CCC-BOS to be fully self-serving in defining their districts, only counsel and analysts are prepared to monitor the July 12, 2011 CCC-BOS redistricting hearing in preparation for regulatory, legislative and legal actions against the resulting redistricting ordinance. News services continue to recommend residents attend and be heard at the hearing so there is a record of opposition to CCC-BOS self-interests. More importantly, 24/680 south residents are encouraged to send notice to their supervisors concerning their preferences for redistricting based on the commonality of interests in 24/680 south corridor.

In news service polling, Contra Costans are prepared for supervisors' self-serving results. Contra Costans' focus is the 2012 supervisors' elections and community-based campaigns to replace incumbent supervisors.


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