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Hearings set on supervisorial boundary changes

June 16, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors will have a series of three public hearings on four proposals to change supervisorial boundaries in keeping with the decennial requirement that the districts be as close to equal in population as possible.

The proposed changes can be seen on maps at libraries throughout the county.

The public hearings begin Monday in Brawley at the City Council chambers, 225 A St.; the next hearing is Tuesday in the supervisors' chambers, 940 W. Main St., El Centro; and the last is Wednesday in Calexico in its City Council chambers, 608 Heber Ave. All the hearings begin at 7 p.m.

The proposals are a complex series of changes intended to bring all districts' populations to within 10 percent of each other, using the 2000 census as a basis.

The alternatives were developed by an ad hoc committee of county employees and interested community members.

District 1 Calexico resident Danny Santillan said the process went pretty smoothly. He said population numbers showed District 1 needed to lose some residents while District 5 needed to gain some.


Under all proposals District 5 will gain the Bard/Picacho/Winterhaven area, he said.

Depending on which option is chosen, District 1 could extend as far west as Mount Signal Road to as far east as Gordons Well.

"In one option, all of the area east of the (Union Pacific) railroad tracks in Heber, El Centro, Imperial and Brawley go to District 5," Santillan said, adding District 5 will gain significant numbers of Hispanics and Hispanics will be the numerical majority in all districts.

At a redistricting workshop in April, some community members were told redistricting must follow such traditional criteria as compactness; contiguity; respect for existing political subdivisions such as county lines, cities and towns; and the protection of incumbents, that is, to avoid creating districts that pit incumbents against each other in the next election.

Another committee member, El Centro resident Bob Ham, credited county staff for doing all the "heavy lifting" in the process.

"Our assignment was to come up with three to five variations," he said, adding that none of the districts is in for any major changes. "I think we came up with four pretty good ones."

District 3 Supervisor Joe Maruca said his district has to drop some residents. Under two of the proposals, Maruca's district would pick up the area of Seeley not already in the district, and under one of the alternatives he would gain more area in Westmorland.

The Board of Supervisors has until late July to make its decision on which alternative to adopt, or it can come up with others.

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

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