SLO County supervisors vote for new redistricting map

March 26, 2023

Richard Patten map


After garnering a majority on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, the board voted Tuesday to settle a lawsuit filed by supporters of two supervisors.

The county board agreed to toss the existing map, consider three maps supported by the petitioners and pay the petitioners $300,000 for legal costs, according to the settlement agreement. The county also agreed to resume and complete the redistricting process regarding selecting a new map no later than May 15.

After a lengthy and contentious process, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in Dec. 2021 to adopt the Patten Map, with supervisors Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg dissenting.

Split along party lines, local Democrats sought minimal changes while area Republicans wanted cities and communities intact. In 2021, several supporters of Democratic candidates Gibson and Jimmy Paulding threatened a lawsuit if the board majority selected the Patten Map.

In Jan. 2022, SLO County Citizens for Good Government and three SLO County residents filed a lawsuit challenging the new map, saying that it was adopted to benefit the Republican Party at the expense of Democrats, in violation of state law.

In Feb. 2022, Superior Court Judge Rita Federman rejected the bulk of the plaintiffs’ arguments, which included that the adopted map diminishes Latino voters, that cities are not communities of interest and that the new map illegally took away the right of some to vote in the 2022 election.

Judge Federman found the plaintiffs’ argument that the county should have looked at evidence that the adopted map favored or discriminated against a political party, accurate, though procedural.

After Judge Federman shot down the plaintiff’s attempt to temporarily reverse the supervisors’ adoption of the Patten map for the 2022 elections, the plaintiff’s went straight to the California Supreme Court to seek an injunction. The California Supreme Court denied their effort.

If the SLO County Board of Supervisors selects a new map that breaks up cities, such as San Luis Obispo into three districts, it is possible another legal challenge will be filed.

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After garnering a majority on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, the board voted Tuesday to settle a lawsuit filed by supporters of two supervisors.”

Exactly how does the board garner a majority on itself? A majority of what? Its a non-partisan body. I think some key words were left out here.

Send a big SLO Welcome to sue and settle! A favorite tool used by the ruling class when the voters won’t do what they want.

A real solution would be a proportionally elected board of supervisors. Have the whole county be one district and have all the candidates up for election every 4 years – every voter ranks the candidates: 1 = first choice, 2 = second choice, etc. Until they don’t like the candidates. If a voters first choice gets too low a vote, their second choice or third choice gets their vote – no vote wasted. The top five candidates are seated on the board. No need for expensive map drawing, no need for expensive primaries and runoffs. You would always end up with a board that has some liberals, some conservatives, and probably some moderates who go both ways. It’s not at all complicated unless you think voters are too stupid to count. This just makes more sense.

Districts are the means by which we ensure as fair and proportional representation as possible for our elected supervisors, city councils, and Congressional representatives. In 2019 in Sacramento, Assembly Bill 845, the FAIR MAPS Act, was passed by a Dem dominated legislature and signed by Dem Governor Newsom. It required municipalities, even relatively small ones like Grover Beach and Paso Robles, to move to district-based city council elections. Additionally, the measure stipulated how independent districting commissions and advisory councils are to reasonably and fairly draw district lines and also comply with the Voting Rights Act.

The Patten Map was in compliance with the 2019 Fair Maps Act and was so affirmed in adjudication in both County Superior Court and the California Supreme Court. Now you want a cockamamie no district, ranked-choice, voting system for the entire county that not only diminishes representation for intact communities of interest & identity, but also favors incumbents. No thanks, we don’t need to embrace this progressive-inspired mobocracy and the entrenched elite politicians that would benefit from such a disingenuous and unrepresentative system. We’re suffering enough already from unresponsive bureaucracies, so the people need closer ties to their representatives at all levels of government. Plus, the checks & balances on government afforded by representation via districts and traditional voting needs to be bolstered, not diluted as your plan would achieve.

Having 5 districts for the whole county already diminishes representation for communities – no matter how you draw it, you’re going to split up cities and pack together voters from very different communities, you can’t draw a map that doesn’t place an arbitrary line through a neighborhood where some people are district 2 and some are district 3. As for incumbency, come on! Letting supervisors draw their own districts around their homes and with voters they like is peak political calcification, if you really don’t like long serving politicians, fine, term limits are the solution. Ranked choice, multi member districts are explicitly proportional and ensure representation from all sides of the political spectrum – with districts it’s possible to give Democrats or Republicans 80% of the seats – that’s crazy! I value minority representation as check on government and you should too since conservatives are a minority of the SLO electorate. This is the opposite of a mobocracy and I hope you can come to see it that way.

Its a shame that Gibson and Ortiz-Legg aren’t getting the total goverment that they are hoping for.

There are millions of your tax dollars being spent on other government objections to the will of the people. Most people are busy with life and for the government spending your money, too often goes uncheck. For this issue, $300,000. CHECK.

The Patten Map opponents, local democrat apparatchiks in SLO County Citizens for Good (& Corrupt) Government, lost their case in Superior Court. They lost again at the California Supreme Court. Now, the B.O.S triumvirate want to reward their defeated comrades with a Big Win and $300,000 for their trouble. $300,000 in taxpayer funds that will go to Gibson’s goblins in the SLO dem and regressive circles and ultimately come right back to him, Ortiz-Legg and Paulding in the form of political contributions. This is brazen political-inspired payola and favoritism. It’s political corruption that stinks to high heaven. The spirit of Adam Hill lingers and haunts SLO County Government Center.

If you’re fine with political gerrymandering to politically boost Republicans, shouldn’t you be fine with the Democrats doing it for themselves? Can’t change the rules once the other team has the ball.

The Patten Map eliminated the gerrymandering that existed for the past two decades. It adhered to the new procedures/requirements for re-districting adopted statewide by the dem-dominated state legislature and courts. I’m pretty sure you weren’t asking this question about those previous iterations of the districting map, you know the one that had Cal Poly lumped in with Atascadero, Creston, Santa Margarita, and the Carizzo Plains. The ones that had outreached tentacles from each district extending into SLO City to grab a chunk of that bloody raw progressive insanity. Those were politically gerrymandered maps.

There are more Democrats in San Luis Obispo than Republicans, as a small-r republican and small-democrat, I believe the board should lean to the left. As far as maps go – I don’t think we should have single member districts, it’s expensive and convoluted.

And if the other side is not happy with the new map when the majority of the board changes again, the new board then can the map again, round and round we go…..