Supervisors want redistricting plan revised

By Sarah Sapeda and James R. Riffel

City News Service

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors sent a proposed plan for redrawing supervisorial district boundaries back to staff Tuesday so one of the districts would have a voting-age population mostly made up of black and Latino residents.

The supervisors unanimously ordered staff to make the change but maintain the character of the map created by an advisory committee that met numerous times.

That plan was challenged by the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, which alleged it violates the Voting Rights Act. County staff examined an alternate map created by the civil rights organization, but staff recommended simply making adjustments to the district currently held by Supervisor Greg Cox.

The major feature of the commission’s plan is that it moves the district of Ron Roberts toward the coast, taking La Jolla from Pam Slater-Price. The other districts had only minor adjustments.

“There are so many communities of interest to take into consideration and sort out — they don’t fit easily into five supervisory districts of the same size population,’' Cox said. “I want to adopt a map that would keep, as much as possible, the integrity of the work that committee has accomplished.’'

His district — in the map proposed by the commission and, for a time, favored by the supervisors — would have been made up of about 41 percent Latinos among voting age adults, and between 7.6 percent and 8.3 percent black, according to a pair of demographic surveys.

That would make the combined Hispanic-black adult population around 49 percent, so any adjustments would probably be minor, according to county staff.

Non-Hispanic whites make up 37-38 percent of the proposed District 1.

The Board of Supervisors has consisted of the same five white Republican representatives since 1995.

Whether creating a black and Latino majority in Cox’s district would break up the group is questionable because the former two-term mayor of Chula Vista has always enjoyed widespread political popularity among Hispanics. However, it could have a dramatic impact on a successor when he decides to give up his seat.

The staff will now make the recommended changes to Cox’s district, and the supervisors hope the future maps will be placed online before a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 6.