Maps must conform to certain legal limits on population sizes to be considered
SLO COUNTY — The San Luis Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. for a special meeting to discuss the redistricting process. This meeting has been one of many regarding redistricting, beginning with background on redistricting regulations and processes that was done in the Jul. 20 meeting and can be found on the recording at the one hour and forty-minute mark.
The last day to submit maps for comment or consideration will be on Nov. 5, to allow staff time to revise the maps as well as post for public consideration. The last day to submit comments for the Nov. 30 hearing will be Nov. 21. which will be the last option to make comment on the maps before a map is adopted by the Board. On the Nov. 30 meeting, the Board is expected to choose a final map which will be read on the Dec. 7 meeting for finalization on Dec. 14, just ahead of the deadline.
The county has grown by around 10,000 since the last redistricting in 2010. The District with the largest growth was District 4, and District 2 saw the greatest decrease, which is thought to be in part because this is the first year that prison data was adjusted to reflect the appropriate hometown of the prisoners. The total deviation for each District is just under 10 percent at 9.3, which means that legally the county is not required to redraw the districts. However, the county is required to look at map options and discuss the possibility of changes in an open and transparent manner.
The Fair Maps Act has five criteria that the maps have to follow:
- Balance population
- Be geographically contiguous
- Maintain communities of interest
- Look at city and census-designated places and keep them as a whole as possible
- Districts should be circles and squares and as compact as possible
Many maps were submitted by the community members, but several of them were outside the deviation limits. County staff went through the maps to point out why they could not be considered before moving on, but it was addressed that any of these maps that were submitted could be adjusted by the original map maker or any member of the public and resubmitted for the next meeting.
The discussion of San Luis Obispo being split was brought up, as one of the criteria for creating maps is to aim to keep cities and districts intact. The reason that SLO is being split into two or three Districts depending on the map, was because the ideal population of each District is 55,000. The population of the city of SLO with Cal Poly exceeds this ideal population size.
Public comment opened, and several community members mentioned the need to keep special communities together. It was also mentioned the difficulty that the community had in finding the maps and that the process should be made more simple.
Several community members brought up the map created by community member Richard Patton, which succeeded in keeping San Luis Obispo mostly together, had a low deviation, and also split the Coastal Commission among four districts. Some comments, however, requested that the Board avoid sweeping changes and choose a map that most closely aligns with the current District lines.
Supervisor John Peschong brought up the maps and requested that they could be put in one front-facing location. County staff explained that the maps created by the public through the redistricting tool are through a 3rd party site, and that is why they are in a separate location. The maps could be processed so that all would be the same format, but it would take some time.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson voiced his opposition to any maps that broke the coastal communities into several districts, as that disregards the guideline of keeping communities together, which included map C as well as Richard Patton’s map.
The direction for staff at the end of the meeting was not to winnow out any maps submitted so far, and to still allow for more maps to come in from the public for consideration.
Redistricting information and forms for public input can be found on the District’s website.
The next meeting for redistricting will be held on Nov. 19, and the meeting link will be available on the District’s website prior to the meeting.