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Ground rules established for redrawing districts

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:

April 11, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

To ensure the process of redrawing the county's supervisorial districts is as fair as possible, the county Board of Supervisors decided 10 members of the public will be involved in the decennial process.

In addition, three public hearings will be conducted, with a fourth public hearing before the board at one of its regular meetings in June for formal action.

On a unanimous vote the board decided that each supervisor will select two community members to be part of a committee that will include six county staff members tasked with developing the new lines in accordance with the 2000 census.

The suggestion to include community members was made by supervisors Chairman Tony Tirado, who said other counties, such as Sacramento and San Diego, have citizen committees to help with redistricting efforts to avoid legal problems later.

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Initial concerns included Supervisor Joe Maruca's that any citizens committee separate from the county's could still be a problem were the board to not follow its recommendations, and Supervisor Wally Leimgruber's that the board already represents its respective constituencies and therefore does not need a citizens committee.

Leimgruber said he has total confidence in county staff to perform the work, and Maruca said community membership should include local media.

In the end, the board decided supervisors should submit names by Monday.

County staff members on the committee include Dolores Provencio, clerk/recorder/registrar of voters; Tim Jones, public works director; Ken Hollis, director of the Valley of Imperial Development Alliance; Jurg Heuberger, planning director; Ralph Córdova Jr., county counsel; and Robertta Burns, assistant administrative officer.

The three public hearings will be in Brawley, Calexico and El Centro. The dates are tentatively set for mid-June.

The board is tentatively scheduled to take formal action on the proposed boundaries at its July 10 meeting.

County Executive Officer Ann Capela said the whole process is waiting for census data by block to become available. In addition, she said the board must decide when the committee will meet, where, a scope of work and whether the community members will be paid for their efforts.

The board adopted a tentative timetable for the redistricting efforts to be completed. The date is expected to be in time for potential candidates to take out petitions to gather signatures in lieu of paying filing fees, which is Sept. 28.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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