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Equal population in districts sought as county draws new boundaries

July 04, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted new district boundaries that will make each district's population more equal.

Supervisorial District 5 underwent the largest change by getting the areas of Bard, Winterhaven and Palo Verde included. Those areas were previously in District 1.

Westmorland will now be fully in District 4, as are Calipatria and Niland, and the Northend will retain representation by districts 4 and 5 supervisors.

El Centro is in districts 2, 3 and 5; Calexico is all in District 1; Brawley is in districts 4 and 5; Holtville is all in 5; and Imperial is all in 3.

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Board Chairman Tony Tirado said District 1 now goes east along Interstate 8 as far as Gordons Wel, but stays south of the freeway.

"There's nothing there other than brush, sand and the All-American Canal," he said, adding the last inhabited dwelling is next to the East Highline Canal.

"The district is very well condensed, and I will be able to serve my community better," Tirado said.

Besides the Winterhaven and Palo Verde areas, Supervisor Wally Leimgruber said District 5 will increase on the east side of Brawley and an area on El Centro's southeast side.

District 4 Supervisor Gary Wyatt said the similar characteristics of south Westmorland and west Brawley led to those area being included in the same district.

"They should be in the same area as they have similar concerns," he said.

Supervisor Joe Maruca said District 3 changed "very slightly," and it will continue to include the area where 325 new homes in three projects are planned for the west side of El Centro.

"We're anticipating a lot of growth in District 3," Maruca said.

District 2 Supervisor Hank Kuiper said his district's north, south and west boundaries are the same as the previous District 2. He said a small portion in the east went to District 5.

"The only change to mine is where the east boundaries where I used to border the railroad tracks heading down toward Heber," Kuiper said.

The new district boundaries were redrawn to reflect the 2000 census, which shows the county has a population of 142,361. Excluding the populations of the county's two state prisons and dividing the remainder by five districts, results in a target population of 26,759 for each district. The target numbers are allowed to be off by as much as 10 percent for the purpose of redrawing the boundaries.

Under the new boundaries, District 1 has 27,637 people; District 2, 27,028; District 3, 25,668; District 4, 27,559; and District 5, 25,902.

The census showed District 5 needed to increase by 7,073 people from the 1990 census to be of similar size to the others, while District 2 needed an additional 1,292. Meanwhile, District 1 needed to shed 2,587 people; District 3, 3,999; and District 4, 1,780.

All of the supervisors said the new boundaries are fine and that the new boundaries take into account the county's change in population.

The county has detailed maps of the individual changes available for public viewing.

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

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