Atascadero moves back under Supervisorial District 5; Lake Nacimiento back to District 1
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — In a nearly split vote, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved a new redistricting map in reaction to a 2022 lawsuit. Supervisors approved to adopt Map A with a 3-2 vote, with Supervisors Debbie Arnold (District 5) and John Peschong (District 1) dissenting.
The map, approved by supervisors at the end of 2021, was repealed by the coalition San Luis Obispo County Citizens for Good Government (SLOCCGG), who sued the County in early January 2022. The suit was taken to state court under the allegations of “illegal partisan gerrymander under the Fair Maps Act and the California Constitution.” The 2021 approved map was given the green light by the previous board, which included Bruce Gibson (District 2), Lynn Compton (then District 4 supervisor), Dawn Ortiz-Legg (District 3), Arnold and Peschong — Gibson, and Ortiz-Legg dissenting.
In March 2023, a settlement was reached, leaving the County to again draw new boundary maps to comply with the Fair Maps Act. In that settlement, the County will pay $300,000 to the SLOCCGG. However, Peschong noted this redistricting is costing the County nearly $1 million.
Map A is noted to have little changes compared to the 2011 district boundary map. The approved 2021 map moved the City of Atascadero under District 2 with Gibson. With Map A, Atascadero will move back under District 5 with Arnold as their supervisor. This also moves Lake Nacimiento and San Miguel back under District 1 with Peschong.
Similar to Supervisor’s vote, public comment was robust, with split opinions on the districting map — some in favor for Map A, others feeling the process to again approve a new map was a waste of time.
Supervisor Arnold discussed her reason for voting down the new map, “I will not be supporting the three maps that we’re being asked to choose from because, as someone that was elected by the citizens of my district, I did my job, and I worked hard at it. I will argue for the rest of my life that we did not violate the Fair Maps Act.”
District 4 Supervisor Jimmy Paulding followed Arnold but was not in agreement.
“I support Map A. My decision to support Map A is based on reading and hearing all of the public comments, records and evidence, including political, demographic evidence, from all the hearings passed and present and submitted today,” Paulding went on to explain his support for Map A and the ruling for redistricting.
Gibson and Ortiz-Legg both echoed Paulding in support for Map A, with Ortiz-Legg motioning to approve the map. Peschong, however, did not support either of the three maps presented in the meeting.
In his final notes, Peschong said, “We will continue on as an organization, as a government, and we will figure out to make it work.”
The next San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2 at 9 a.m.