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Committees put forth two options for supervisorial redistricting

Committees put forth two options for supervisorial redistricting


POSTED July 15, 2011 10:52 p.m.

After six months of planning and public meetings, two proposed maps to redraw boundaries of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors’ Districts emerged Thursday, both of which would keep Turlock, Denair, Hickman and Keyes in District 2 while removing much or all of Ceres from the district and adding all land served by the Chatom Union School District.

“There's still more work to do but we feel very good about the interactive and collaborative process that has brought us where we are today,” said Stanislaus County CEO Rick Robinson.

Two committees, the 11-member Citizens Advisory Committee and the County Steering Committee, developed the maps jointly after receiving comment at six public meetings held across the county. Entering the redistricting process, the two groups worked in parallel rather than jointly, but “the whole room” agreed on the two maps were developed “seamlessly” and put forward as alternatives.

The two options weren’t the only maps developed, however: two alternative maps were discarded entirely, for not meeting the core objectives of either group by splitting the Westside into different districts or by cutting South Modesto in two.

Keeping those “communities of interest” intact was prioritized in the planning process, following the all-important goal of equalizing population across districts in the wake of new census data.

“As we've worked our way through this process, there were very specific components to doing the redistricting that were important,” said Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Sharon Silva, who also serves as the Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO. “... Different communities have different points of interest that we really wanted to make sure we weren’t disrupting or dividing in the process.”

Through the public meeting process, different communities of interest came to the forefront. Based on testimony, planners sought to keep Municipal Advisory Councils whole and school districts intact where possible.

All cities save Modesto, which had to be split into three districts to ensure only about 103,000 residents were in each, remain whole in Option 1. In Option 2, Ceres – the county’s second largest city – is split as well.

The two differing maps differ mainly in how they address a specific community of interest: South Modesto.

Option one would see South Modesto’s 14,000 residents subsumed into District 3 alongside the King-Kennedy area of Modesto, leaving District 5 to pick up all of Ceres and Empire to make up for the loss in population. Option two would, instead, place all of South Modesto in District 5 with most of Ceres, moving part of Ceres to District 4.

In each option, the current supervisor would still reside within his district’s boundaries.

Currently, neither option is considered a preferred option; both are being put forward as viable alternatives. Option 1 was the first map developed, however.

With the draft redistricting boundaries drawn, the effort will seek public input one last time before sending maps to the Board of Supervisors.

“We're going to go out, we're going to listen one more time to what the public is saying, then we're going to go back to the table and see if we need to tweak them,” Silva said.

The redistricting process will seek public input again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, at Modesto’s Martin Peterson Event Center, located at 730 12th St. That meeting is intended solely for obtaining additional public testimony, which will be used to adjust the maps prior to supervisor review.

The proposals will come before the Board of Supervisors on July 23. Final adoption of one of the two alternatives – or, possibly, a different option drafted by supervisors, who have the final say on boundaries – is expected at the supervisors’ June 30 meeting.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Robinson said.

For more information on the redistricting effort, visit stancounty.com/redistricting.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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