Almanac

News - August 7, 2013

Public comment sought on redistricting

by Dave Boyce

The office of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has released 10 online maps that experiment with redrawing the boundaries for the five current supervisory districts. The public is being asked to comment at public meetings and online — and even submit maps of their own.

A public meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, in the East Palo Alto City Council Chambers at 2415 University Ave. More meetings are scheduled.

Voters decided in 2012 to have county supervisors run for election by district, rather than county-wide. That is, only the voters in the district will elect the supervisor.

In settling a lawsuit by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights that demanded an end to county-wide elections, the supervisors agreed to consider the question of whether current district boundaries should change. A nine-person committee appointed by the board and assisted by a demographer, engaged the public on this question over the summer, including proposing revised maps, and will advise the board this fall when its deliberations conclude.

If redistricting does take place, it will be the board's decision and will not be subject to appeal, spokesperson Marshall Wilson told the Almanac.

Maps online

Of the maps now online, differences between one map and another may appear slight. In comparing "NDC Two City Splits Draft" and "NDC Compact Adjustments Draft," for example, there are two swaps:

• The unincorporated North Fair Oaks community shifts from being in District 2, now represented by Warren Slocum, to District 3, now represented by Don Horsley.

• The community of San Bruno Mountain Park switches between District 1, now represented by Dave Pine, and District 5, now represented by Adrienne Tissier.

Differences between maps can also be too big to miss.

• The map "Nokamura Plan 1A" would assign Brisbane to Mr. Pine's district and take it away from Ms. Tissier's district.

• The map "Nokamura Plan 2" would also reassign Brisbane but then go much further by taking Pacifica and unincorporated parts south of Pacifica away from Mr. Horsley's District 3 and assign them to Mr. Pine's District 1. Warren Slocum's District 4 would be split to include South San Francisco and Brisbane in the north and Menlo Park and Redwood City in the south.

Go to smcdistrictcommittee.org and look under "New Draft Maps Released" to view or download the maps, including the map of current district boundaries. If they're downloaded, the maps are likelier to be easier to resize and switch between them to detect the differences.

The above website also notes the times and places for the four public meetings set for September — in Daly City on Sept. 10, Half Moon Bay on Sept. 11, Millbrae on Sept 12, and on Sept. 24 at a location to be determined.

Go to tinyurl.com/SMC-draw to draw your own map. The map-drawing application is complicated; it's helpful to have experience with Adobe Illustrator.

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