SLO County Supervisors pull redistricting vote from consent agenda
August 24, 2011
ORIGINAL STORY: A battle between San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and an outspoken group of Templeton residents resulted in an agreement to pull the item from the consent agenda vote.
After tentatively agreeing last week to support Option B — a plan that puts portions of Templeton in the 1st, 2nd and 5th districts — the board agreed to take it off the consent calendar after the public argued that Option B violated the Brown Act.
The supervisors voted for the change after numerous Templeton residents spoke out against breaking their community into three supervisory districts. Residents accused the supervisors of attempting to break the county into districts that would help preserve the political makeup of the board by providing 5th District Supervisor Jim Patterson a section of Templeton most likely to vote to keep in office.
“It is politically motivated, they are trying to save their interest on the board,” Jeff DeBrish said. “I am a Templeton resident who would like to see the community stay in one piece.”
Proponents of Option B — Supervisors Adam Hill, Jim Patterson and Bruce Gibson — argued that it was authored by staff and that the more supervisors involved in a district, the more unity. The city of San Luis Obispo is also represented by three supervisors.
Critics of Option B argued that San Luis Obispo has city council representation while Templeton relies on the board of supervisors for representation.
If the supervisors vote for Option B, supervisors representing Templeton would be prohibited as a group from attending district board meetings because doing so would violate the Brown Act which does not allow three supervisors to discuss an issue outside of a Supervisor Board meeting.
“If they can’t show up, they are denying representation,” said Bill Pelfrey of the Templeton Advisory Group.
Assistant County Counsel Rita Neal agreed that three supervisors could not legally attend Templeton board meetings as a group, though she argued that they could avoid breaking the Brown Act.
“It will be easy to avoid having three members at any district board meeting,” Neal said”
The County is required under the Elections Code to re-define the supervisorial districts by November 1.