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Task force to consider supervisor redistricting

POSTED April 5, 2011 10:50 p.m.

A new citizens’ advisory task force will help with a mandated redistricting of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors’ districts, following board action Tuesday morning.

“We felt this was a good opportunity to bring in the public,” said Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Rick Robinson.

Federal and state law require that the Board of Supervisors revisit supervisorial districts after each census, using the new population data to ensure each supervisor represents as equal a proportion of the county’s population as possible. Supervisors must consider factors such as topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, compactness of territory and communities of interest in making their decision.

The last time districts were redrawn – in 2001, following the 2000 census – the Board of Supervisors appointed a committee composed of county staff, solely obtaining public input through outreach meetings. This time, though, in efforts to become more transparent and receptive to the public, county staff suggested forming the citizens’ committee.

The Ad Hoc Citizen Redistricting Advisory Committee will advise the Board of Supervisors on the redistricting effort, working collaboratively with county staff, attending and participating in community meetings, and ultimately providing up to two redistricting plan recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

The Board will have the final say on which redistricting plan is accepted, and may consider alternate plans drafted by staff, which would factor in public input obtained through outreach and community meetings. The new districts would take effect following the expiration of each seated supervisors’ term.

Applications for the 11-member panel will be open for two weeks, from today through April 20. Applicants must be registered voters.

Each supervisor will appoint one applicant to the task force from his district. At the April 26 Board of Supervisors meeting, an additional applicant will be drawn at random from each district, and one final applicant will be selected at random from the entire pool of qualified applicants.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to formally begin the redistricting effort at that meeting, approving a Project Charter including deadlines, goals, deliverables and a budget.

Interested parties can find an application form at the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors’ office, or online at www.stancounty.com. The form must be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 1010 Tenth St., Suite 6700, Modesto, CA 95354.

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

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