New map submissions will no longer be considered, but input on the two maps is still accepted

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to discuss redistricting on Friday, Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. 

The redistricting process began in March when the update came that the census data wouldn’t come through until later, and the timeline was set for the entire process. In July, the first redistricting hearing was held, and community input was heard ahead of census data. Oct. 26 was the second redistricting hearing to consider draft maps from the public and advisory committees. 

Revised finalist maps will be published on Nov. 24, and the fourth redistricting meeting will be held on Nov. 30, at which time the Board will approve a final redistricting map or plan. The county ordinance will be introduced on Dec. 7, and the Board will amend the county ordinance to reflect the map on Dec. 14, just ahead of the deadline. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The themes from the public comment from previous meetings were presented as follows :

Plans were submitted that aligned with the different themes, and then significantly more public comments came in at future meetings.

The recommendations from staff were

  1. Conduct a hearing to consider County Staff Advisory Committee initial draft maps and publicly submitted maps
  2. Eliminate six publicly submitted maps that have total population deviation of more than 10 percent and one. Map that has been requested to be withdrawn by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and
  3. Select no more than three maps with less than 10 percent total population deviation for final consideration at the fourth redistricting hearing on Nov. 30 and
  4. Limit consideration of any further submitted maps from the public to those making minor changes to the three finalist maps and submitted no later than Nov. 21 and
  5. Provide staff further direction about the finalists’ maps, in compliance with legal requirements, as necessary

The submitted maps were presented in the meeting, and then the meeting was opened up to public comment. The same themes from the public were represented in the discussion. Some commenters mentioned Cal Poly’s inclusion into the city of SLO as being important, and others highlighted the Coastal areas and the need for them to stay together to get fair representation. A large number of public comments mentioned the wish for a citizens committee, which is largely not done in California counties. 

After public comment, Supervisor John Peschong read a public comment letter from a citizen in Los Osos who did not wish to be included with Paso Robles and expressed concern about white supremacy, racism, and support of Trump and then commented, “I read that to you today because that’s what I’ve been working against and trying to get people to get you to understand, district 1 is your neighbors… They’re good people. That’s what really upsets me is that people in other parts of the county can believe these types of things… your whole point is to be able to decrease the vitriol in our county to raise the vitriol, and writing an op-ed piece like that, that’s what you did.”

Supervisor Gibson commented that in an effort to move forward to try to create some stability that the Board bring Map A forward for final consideration, which went to vote prior to all Board members making their comments. The motion was voted down 3-2, with only Supervisor Gibson and Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg in favor. 

Supervisor Peschong commented to dismiss rumors and to clarify his position that the election was run fair in San Luis Obispo county when Biden was chosen, and that he was not in D.C. on Jan. 6 then made a motion to eliminate the six publicly submitted maps that the population deviation exceeded 10 percent, withdraw the chamber of commerce first map per their request, and to select the Patton map (ID 74786) and the San Luis Obispo new map (ID 75760), limit consideration of further maps from the public, and to limit to the two maps. This motion was seconded by Supervisor Debbie Arnold. The motion passed 4-1, with Supervisor Ortiz-Legg in opposition and Supervisor Gibson voting in approval but with protest against the Patton map, which he stated did not follow the necessary guidelines.

Supervisor Gibson then made a motion to also approve Map B, which was seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg but did not pass with a 2-3 vote. 

Supervisor Gibson moved to direct staff to perform an analysis of acceleration and deferral in the two maps relative to Map A, which represents the status quo. This motion was seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg. The motion did not pass with a 2-3 vote.

The next meeting for redistricting will be held on Nov. 30, and the links will be available on the district website at slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Board-of-Supervisors/Board-Meetings,-Agendas-and-Minutes.aspx.