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Yolo supes start redrawing county districts

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January 30, 2011 | Leave Comment

Yolo supervisors initiate the once-in-a-decade re-charting of districts Tuesday, one that could remake the county’s political landscape.

Supervisors will consider approving an 11-month plan for remapping the county’s five supervisor districts at their Tuesday meeting. The session is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 625 Court St., Woodland.

By state law, the county must adopt revised district boundaries by Sept. 30 using 2010 U.S. Census data, which will become available in about two months, said David Morrison, Planning and Public Works assistant director. Anyone who feels the new boundaries do not reflect the new federal data have 30 days to file a lawsuit in state Superior Court.

Supervisors have a lot of latitude in crafting new districts, Morrison added, so long as each one contains roughly the same amount of people. With 205,000 residents, according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Finance, and five districts, each district would have about 40,000 people.

“It’s really however the board wants to do it,” Morrison said. “The state sets some guidelines, but it’s pretty wide open.”

The state also discourages the kind gerrymandering you see with the state Legislature, said 4th District Supervisor Jim Provenza, who represents Davis. Districts should keep “like areas … together.” To ensure this, supervisors should unite areas by topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, compactness of territory and community interests, according to a county staff report.

“The idea is for the districts to make sense,” Provenza added.

While waiting for for the federal government to release the data, supervisors on Tuesday will consider a staff recommendation to form a committee to create a number of options to bring back to the board by Aug. 1. Each supervisor would get to appoint a member, forming a committee of five.

The new make-up would be in effect for the next supervisors election in June 2012 when districts one, four and five will be up for grabs.

Morrison predicts a few tweaks, but not an overhaul. Mace Ranch continued to grow and the university accepted more students in Davis over the last 10 years; and the Spring Lake neighborhood boosted Woodland’s population, just as the Southport development did in West Sacramento.

But none of these constitutes the need for a revolution. “Everything’s a little bit bigger,” he added, “but there really haven’t been a lot of dramatic changes.”

Morrison predicts West Sacramento’s  53 percent growth from 31,615 residents in 2000 to 48, 426 in 2010, according to state Department of Finance data, will force the need for two supervisors. Currently, District 1 Supervisor Mike McGowan represents the whole city.

Davis on the other hand grew at a slower clip over the last 10 years, from 60,308 to 66,570 residents, or 10 percent. Still, with the county’s largest population, it should continue to boast two supervisors, Provenza said.

That hasn’t always been the case, and may not always be the case. In the 1980s, District 4 Supervisor Betsy Marchand represented a large chunk of Davis but a hunk of Woodland as well, said Tom Stanionis, chief of staff for Yolo County Elections. District 3 Supervisor Tom Stallard represented mostly Woodland during the same time period, but also the Bryte and Broderick neighborhoods of West Sacramento.

The 1990 Census data changed that in 1991 when both districts were scaled back to represent a single city, along with a significant span of the county’s rural tracts.

Ten years ago in the last shake up, the committee brought five options to the board. One had the District 2 Supervisor Lois Wolk representing west Davis and a hunk of the county stretching all the way to the county’s western edge, including the city of Winters. Another had District 4′s Dave Rosenberg covering East Davis, Southeast Woodland and a stretch of the Yolo Bypass running alongside Yolo’s border with Solano County.

Redistricting is not the only thing on the board’s docket. Supervisors expect to get a rundown on federal policy from U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena. Moreover, they’re also set to consider the county’s Climate Action Plan, a strategy to meet state targets to reel back greenhouse gas emissions outside the county’s four cities to 1990 levels by 2020.

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