County supervisors OK revised redistrict map

By Sarah Sapeda and James R. Riffel

City News Service

A slightly modified map of supervisorial districtsthat proponents contend satisfies the requirements of the Voting Rights Act was unanimously adopted Tuesday by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The board, which has the final say over its district boundaries, was poised to approve a map earlier this summer before backing down in the face of potential legal challenges.

The map was sent back to county staff for adjustments, and the board was presented with two options Tuesday, with the primary differences involving the border between District 1, represented by Greg Cox, and District 4, represented by Ron Roberts.

The modified option, called B-1, keeps Emerald Hills and Valencia Park in District 4, leaving District 1 as an area where 51.84 percent of the voting age population is made up of ethnic minorities. According to data presented by the staff, 43.56 percent are Latino and 8.28 percent are black.

Roberts said District 1 will have a chance to elect a minority official, but Mateo Camarillo of the Latino Redistricting Committee was not convinced.

It reminds me of a pig with lipstick -- even at 51 percent it’s still a pig,’' Camarillo said.

Redistricting takes place every 10 years to adjust boundaries based on updated census data.

The Voting Rights Act has specific requirements that must be met, including keeping so-called communities of interest together.

If you would map the different communities of interest, you would find as many communities of interest as people in San Diego and they’re scattered all over,’' Roberts said.

Lori Shellenberger, an ACLU attorney who protested the preliminary map earlier this summer, said the new map technically meets the act’s legal requirements, but she opposed the breakup of some communities.

Point Loma, for instance, is split between two districts, she noted.

The supervisors still have to approve a redistricting ordinance. The first reading is scheduled for Sept. 13, and the second is set for Sept. 27.