Supervisors begin process of redistricting with first informational meeting

SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jul. 20 at 9 a.m. 

The meeting opened with a commendation for Deputy Nick Dreyfus, Deputy Clifford Pacas, Detective Blake Bursiaga, Sergeant Michael Smiley, Officer Isaac Clocherty, and Officer Timothy Maxwell for their heroic actions on Jun. 10 and 11, 2020. The motion to approve the commendation passed 5-0, followed by a standing ovation from those in attendance.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

After public comment, the consent agenda was approved with a 5-0 vote.

Next, the Board heard a resolution to recognize Jul. 18 to 24 as Probation Services Week in San Luis Obispo County. The resolution spoke to the need for these services, which not only serve as an alternative to incarceration while still keeping the public safe. 

Following that, the Board recognized Dayna Ravalin for her retirement following 35 years of service in public health in San Luis Obispo County.

The Fire Chief, Eddy Moore, gave a review of the 2020 county fire activity as well as a 2021 seasonal outlook. With the increase of fires year over year, there are already several thousand acres approved for controlled burns to limit the fuel available for the fires that occur during fire season. These acres are pending times when it will be safe to do the controlled burn. The many years of drought increase the severity and swiftness of the fires that will occur in 2021. The fuel moisture levels are extremely low and tracking a month and a half ahead of where they typically are, meaning that the fuels are very ready for ignition, and the fire season ahead is going to be a concern. 

Then the Board heard from the 2020 annual agricultural statistics for SLO, which showed an overall increase in vegetable crops by 7 percent, but a decrease in field crops by 16 percent. Strawberries were the number one crop, while broccoli remained as the number one export, and avocados increased in value due to increased yields. 

Next, the Board heard two hearings regarding street light repair fees and weed abatement fees that had not been paid by homeowners, and next steps would be to have those fees added on to the County property tax bills for those owners. Both hearings passed without public comment. 

The Board went to closed session, with nothing to report, returning to discuss the final item of the day, the hearing to consider information regarding the 2021 Count Redistricting. This initial meeting was to present information on redistricting and hear public comment regarding communities of interest. 

The presentation was made by Redistricting Partners. State legislation mandates redistricting every ten years in order to ensure that districts are evenly distributed. The intention with redistricting is to ensure that within a county, each individual is in a district of approximately equal population in order to ensure that each member has adequate representation with their supervisor in comparison to another district. Another purpose of redistricting is to allow the community to give input on any communities of interest that they have identified and would like to be acknowledged. 

The timeline for the redistricting will include four hearings and a fifth hearing to vote on the final plan and adopt it. The first hearing held in this meeting is intended to be informational and help the public know-how and when they can get engaged. Oct. 26, which will be the next meeting in front of the Board of Supervisors, there will be plans drafted by the public and supervisor input. The third and fourth meetings on Nov. 19 and Nov. 30 would be to look at potential maps, which will be made available to the public seven days prior to the meeting. The last fifth meeting on Dec. 14 is a chance to vote up or down the plan that has been put into place for the final map. This last hearing will not be a chance to discuss or make changes to the map.

Public comment for the redistricting was the only item on the agenda to allow for remote public comment, and additionally, a translator was provided for any Spanish speakers who wished to make a comment. Comments were heard from many individuals who wished the districts would remain as they are, as well as some that wanted to highlight the Latino communities and the desire for respect of those communities.

The Board made no motion on the item as this first meeting was to inform only, and the next Board of Supervisor meeting will be held Ono Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 9 a.m. and the agenda will be available on the district’s website slocounty.ca.gov.

Feature photo: Front row pictured from left to right: SLO County Sheriff’s Deputy Clifford Pacas, Arroyo Grande Police Sergeant Michael Smiley, Kings County Sheriff’s Detective Blake Bursiaga, SLO County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Dreyfus. Back row: San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors