Supervisors hear input on realigning county in wake of census

May 25, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors conducted a public hearing Thursday to receive input on how the county should be aligned politically as a result of the 2000 census.

The county is aligned to the north for the Assembly, and state Senate and House of Representatives, though the latter also goes west.

The discussion centered mostly on the Assembly and state Senate.

Suggestions included aligning the county to the west for both houses, aligning to the west for the Assembly and north for the state Senate and remaining aligned to the north.

Imperial City Councilman Mark Gran said though no formal action has been taken in Imperial, the feeling among council members is to align to the west.


Cathy Kennerson, executive director of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, said its board of directors voted Monday to support an alignment to the west.

Some of the commonalties, Kennerson said, include education ties through San Diego State University and its California Center for Border and Regional Economic Studies, between area chambers of commerce, service clubs and shopping, among others.

Kennerson said the chamber does recognize the potential for getting a local candidate elected to the Assembly were the county to remain aligned to the north.

El Centro Mayor Pro Tem Larry Grogan informed the board the City Council voted to support an alignment to the west.

Calexico resident Danny Santillan said he would like to see the area included in an Assembly district that would lead to a local Hispanic candidate being elected while aligning to the west for the state Senate.

El Centro resident Roberto Rubio said the commonalties to the north are more important than those to the west. They include desert agriculture, the Imperial Irrigation District and the Salton Sea, among others.

El Centro resident John Hernandez said an alignment to the north would give the Valley a better chance of having its voice heard due to the changing demographics, that is, an increasing number of Hispanics locating to the north. He said electricity, water, agriculture and the migrant workforce give the county more in common with communities to the north.

"It's not about recreation … it's about representation," Hernandez said.

The hearing was attended by former Assemblywoman Denise Moreno Ducheny, who has publicly stated she would like to be the Valley representative in the Senate. She was term limited out of the Assembly in November 2000, and said she will run for the 40th Senate District in 2002, though no one knows exactly what the district lines will be.

House of Representatives district lines were not discussed.

The Board of Supervisors took no action, though the four supervisors in attendance gave their support for a westerly alignment. The issue will be on the board's June 5 agenda for formal action.

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

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