Time to fix SLO County’s unequal gerrymandered districts

November 3, 2021

OPINION by STEW JENKINS

Each municipality in a rural county like San Luis Obispo equals what the California Constitution defines as “a community of interest is a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.”

Sunday’s Tribune editorial urging no change in supervisorial district maps missed the problem.

So long as districts are drawn by five incumbent supervisors, they will choose their own voters instead of voters choosing supervisors.  On three separate occasions in early 2019, I presented the board with an ordinance to form a balanced citizens’ redistricting commission for San Luis Obispo County to put on an agenda.

Common Cause supports citizen redistricting commissions. As county clerk-recorder, I will advocate to form a citizens redistricting commission for our county.

There is no principled defense of current gerrymandered supervisorial districts. The districts seriously violate equal populations that guarantee one-person one-vote.

Past gerrymandering gives citizens in some districts 10% less power than in other districts. Past gerrymandering neutered the City of San Luis Obispo by carving it up three ways to benefit supervisors living outside town.

San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly make up exactly one-fifth of the County’s population, and should have their own supervisor in one district.

Now under deadline, map lines should keep each city in one supervisorial district. And supervisors should put on an agenda in early 2022, an ordinance forming a citizen redistricting commission before the 2030 census.


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obispan

A new SLO/Cal Poly district will not be competitive but it arguably fulfills the “community of interest” principle. What is does do is remove voters from current districts 2, 3, and 5. Hmmm…


Niles Q

What’s wrong with the districts that are in place now? The population hasn’t grown very much.

SLO should absolutely NOT have its own supervisor. Dividing up the town is right and if you think about it, it gives SLO voters a sizable number of residents in three districts, that’s way more power than a single supervisor seat.

I see nothing wrong with the way the districts are drawn now. No changes should be made.


womanwhohasbeenthere

Stew is correct in many areas. A map drawn by a Richard Patten, a private interested citizen and not a highly paid consultant approved by county staff, accomplishes much of this: it keeps SLO and Cal Poly together and keeps other cities whole; it aligns with the rules for communities of interest to be together. Cutting SLO into three districts is shameful. Cutting Templeton in half is ridiculous. No one will be completely happy but this Patten’s seems to be a better solution than the one the so-called experts came up with.


Jorge Estrada

Spot on Stew, on other thing, “require verification” that new residents are not registered in their county of origin too.


kevin rise

Stew you rock. Everyone knows gerrymandering is a disgrace to Democracy on both sides of the isle. It misappropriate funds to schools, favors the ruling political and economic class while gentrification destroys integrated old school communities, and people especially kids fall through the cracks. Let’s look at Chicago’s Ghettos vs Heights, Paso Robles North side of Spring st where I’m at for example, which actually got Marie Garcia ironically, I’d imagine John Hammond Crapped himself, in council whom has really done nothing to combat the current political status quo of developers, Billionaires etc.