After hearing from the public and debating amongst the Board the new District map is chosen

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to discuss redistricting on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. 

The redistricting process began in March when the update came that the census data wouldn’t come through until later, and the timeline was set for the entire process. In July, the first redistricting hearing was held, and community input was heard ahead of census data. On Oct. 26 was the second redistricting hearing to consider draft maps from the public and advisory committees. On Nov. 19, the Board reviewed all publicly submitted maps and picked two maps for consideration.

Revised finalist maps were published on Nov. 24, and in the Nov. 30 meeting, the Board heard public comment and discussed the maps.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Public comment raised concerns about the legality of both maps, with several comments stating that the supervisors currently have a difficult job and asking them to “do the right thing,” as seen by each speaker. The main concerns regarding the maps were the changes to the current district boundaries and accelerating the voting schedule for some residents while others are deferred and won’t get to vote for their supervisor for another four years. The Patton map, submitted by a SLO County resident, while having only a total deviation of 7.8 percent, had an acceleration of 48,622 voters with deferrals of 49,418. In contrast, the SLO Chamber map had an acceleration of 9,499 and deferrals of 9,833.

Early in the meeting, it was asked by Supervisors Dawn Ortiz-Legg and Bruce Gibson to ask staff to run partisan analysis on both maps. This request was opposed by Supervisors John Peschong, Debbie Arnold, and Chairperson Lynn Compton with questions about the legality of the request as the Supervisors are required to address the maps without prejudice of voting positions of the residents. “I thought we were specifically supposed to NOT know that,” questioned Supervisor Arnold.

After listening to hours of public comment, Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg made a motion to approve the SLO Chamber map, which was seconded by Supervisor Gibson but did not pass. 

Supervisor John Peschong made a motion to approve map 74786, which is the Patton map, with a minor adjustment to maintain the existing San Miguel Community Services District (CSD) boundaries in what will be, going forward, district 2The motion was seconded by Supervisor Debbie Arnold. Before it went to vote, Supervisor Gibson requested to pass along a report that had been submitted into public comment outlining the partisan analysis of the maps. Chairperson Compton objected and pushed through the vote so as not to risk the Board being compromised by looking at data that could be considered illegal.

“Do we have three supervisors who will stand up for some modicum of democratic discussion?” Supervisor Gibson inquired. 

Supervisor Gibson refused to cast his vote until his comments were heard and also spoke about different communities of interest that were being ignored before ultimately voting no for the Patton Map. The motion was passed 3-2, with Supervisors Ortiz-Legg and Gibson in opposition.

The county ordinance will be introduced on the regular Dec. 7 meeting, which will begin at 9 a.m. The agenda for the meeting and links to participate can be found on the County’s website.