SLO County Supervisors pull redistricting vote from consent agenda

August 24, 2011

CORRECTION: A tentative vote was made to support Option B separate from the consent calendar.

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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Historically, the “rat” has been Harry Ovitt & his developer pals, facilitating the southward expansion of Paso’s sphere of influence into the neighborhoods of Templeton and all the lands in between turned into large scale commercial blight.

Wow! It looks like Bill Pelfry and the Templeton audience members did their homework. Who would have guessed what the ramifications would be for splitting tiny Templeton into three supervisorial districts. I sat in on last week’s meeting and didn’t get the full import of the discussion until Pelfry’s comments were reprinted here. Thank-you “public commenters” for a valuable lesson in local governance.

Rita Neal’s comment as it is reported here, suggests that the respective District Supervisors could “avoid violating the Brown Act …” by not showing up at the same time to Templeton’s local government meetings appears to be consistent with County Counsel Office logic. It’s like, ya’ don’t need to show up to law school to be a lawyer!

There is much bemoaning, who is actually doing something about this? Please VISIT THE BOARD ON THE WEB and perhaps contact them and make known your support or your grievances.

One thing that massive unemployment does is create a whole new batch of people that all of a sudden have the time on their hands to see what is going on around them with their elected and non-elected government.

Jim “Gerrymandering” Patterson should be ashamed. It’s not fair that HE should be allowed to vote on a redistricting proposal that will undoubtedly help HIM win re-election.

By that logic, none of them should be able to vote on it.

I agree.

Letting them vote on it is putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

Historically, the community to be split in order to balance districts has been San Luis Obispo.

This makes sense for a number of reasons, the most important being that the citizens of SLO are governed by their City Council. County Supervisor business affects them, but much less so than, say, Templeton, which has no other governing body than the Board of Supervisors.

Patterson will be in big trouble if he doesn’t rethink this and switch his vote. This is political pure and simple and the folks in Templeton can smell a rat.