SLO County redistricting battle continues
September 6, 2011
Amidst heavy public protest, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote today in favor of a controversial redistricting plan that would separate Templeton into three districts.
Last week, the Supervisors received 72 pages of letters from Templeton residents condemning the Board’s plans for redistricting, according to the Board’s agenda packet.
Overall, the letters support Option C, which delivers a more even population division while preserving Templeton than either of the Option B versions.
Templeton resident Jeff Bower warned the supervisors that Option B is “governing against the will of the people,” in an Aug. 29 letter.
“I am adamantly opposed to the plan, and consider this to be a purely political device aimed at securing safer re-election for certain districts,” Bower says in his letter. “I would encourage you to consider a different option that keeps all residents of Templeton in District 1 where we belong.”
On August 23, Supervisors Adam Hill, Jim Patterson and Bruce Gibson voted for a version of Option B that opponents said keeps Templeton from receiving equal representation. Specifically, if the three proposed Templeton supervisors attend the same district meeting it would be a violation of the Brown Act.
Critics of the proposal also claim the three supervisors are attempting to protect the makeup of the Board through political redistricting, which is a violation of law.
Supervisors Frank Mecham and Paul Teixeira fought for another version of Option B that places Templeton into two districts leaving the north portion of Templeton, an area that is slated to be annexed into District 1 in the future, in Mecham’s district, also not a legal reason for drawing redistricting boundaries.
In support of Option B, the supervisors said they are attempting to achieve a voter balance in a county that has seen a 10.3-percent increase in population. Every 10 years, following the census, the county redraws the districts.