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Counties begin process of redistricting
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Stanislaus County Redistrict Citizens’ Ad-Hoc Advisory Committee

District 1 :            Cynthea Thomilson

                                Reg Blair Smith

District 2 :            Dorinda Soiseth

                                Sharon Silva

                                Donald Ulrich

District 3 :            Maggie Meja

                                John Erwin III

District 4 :            Louis Friedman

                                Louis Bustamante

District 5 :            William J. Parks

After months of behind-the-scenes work, both Merced and Stanislaus counties have embarked on the formal process to redraw supervisorial districts in the wake of the 2010 census.

“The process is going to be substantial, and, if I was going to be completely honest, somewhat daunting,” said Stanislaus County CEO Rick Robinson.

Federal and State law require 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.

“There are many, many factors that have to be considered,” Robinson said.

Stanislaus County expects to complete the redistricting process by the end of August, at a total cost of $100,000. Public meetings on the process will be held on June 13, 14, 15, 28, 29 and 30. A board hearing on district boundaries is expected on Aug. 16, with a final decision on Aug 23.

At the close of the process, Stanislaus County expects to deliver GIS maps of districts, which are equally populated, within 2 percent.

To facilitate the project, a steering committee composed of county employees and a new, first-time, 11-member citizens’ ad-hoc advisory committee will aide in the development of districts. Those citizen representatives will play a “significant role” with a “high level of involvement” in the process, Robinson said.

Members of the citizens’ ad-hoc advisory committee were selected Tuesday, with each supervisor selecting a member from a list of district residents who applied, then selecting a second member at random from the list of applicants – save for Supervisors Bill O’Brien and Vito Chiesa, who chose both representatives at random due to the quality of applicants.  An 11th member was then selected at random from the entire pool of applicants not previously chosen.

District 2, which includes Turlock, will be represented by Dorinda Soiseth, Sharon Silva and – winning the 11th member drawing – Donald Ulrich.


Merced County to shrink District 3, grow all other districts

Merced County planners already have a rough idea of how their districts must change to equally represent the county’s residents.

District 3, which currently includes Atwater, North Merced, Franklin-Beachwood and McSwain must shrink by approximately 10,000 residents, while District 1, including Livingston, Merced, Le Grand and Planada, must grow by about 8,000. District 4, containing Hilmar, Ballico, Delhi and Hilmar must grow by about 700 residents; District 2, containing Merced, by about 1,300 residents; and District 5, including Dos Palos, Los Banos and Santa Nella, must remain flat.

Beginning in June, public meetings will be held to hammer out the details of Merced County’s redistricting plans.

The Merced County Board of Supervisors heard the initial presentation on the redistricting April 19, and plan to receive a more detailed presentation and select criteria for the plan on May 10. On May 24, initial draft redistricting plans will be presented, followed by additional presentations and public hearings on July 12.

A possible first reading of the final redistricting is expected Aug. 9, with a final decision expected Aug. 23. The plan would be submitted to the state in September.

For more information on the Merced County redistricting effort, to become involved, or to comment on the plan visit

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.