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November 30, 2010 > Supervisors set for County redistricting

Supervisors set for County redistricting

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Lingxia Meng

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has voted to create an 11-member panel to take up Redistricting, pending the final 2010 Census results expected in March 2011. State law requires adjustment of supervisorial districts' boundaries after each decennial census.

The Board has discretion to determine the number of members to serve on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Each member of the Board of Supervisors will appoint two representatives and the Board President will also appoint the Chair, expected by the end of the year. The Commission will make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for the alignment or realignment of District boundaries.

Past alignment of the five Supervisorial Districts enabled each Board member to represent approximately the same number of residents. California Law requires the Redistricting process to maximize equal representation (one person, one vote), align district populations to within 10,000 of each other and avoid gerrymandering. District boundaries should take into account topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguousness, compactness of territory and communities of interest.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission will hold a series of public hearings to receive input from the community and develop a redistricting plan, or plans, for the Board of Supervisors' consideration. The Commission may take into consideration optional guidelines that do not conflict with its legal requirements, including minimizing community fragmentation, providing for income diversity within districts and considering the number and size of the cities within each district. The Board has ultimate responsibility to adopt a plan for submission to the State.

In January, an informational meeting is planned to outline the legal requirements and ensure the Commission has the tools to accomplish its objectives. The Commission will hold four community meetings/public hearings between February and May 2011. On receipt of the recommendation(s), the Board will hold two public hearings in June 2011 to present the Citizens Redistricting Commission's recommendations, accept public comment and adopt a plan for submission to the State.

Only county residents are eligible for appointment to the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Elected officials, aides to elected officials, candidates for elective office or County employees are ineligible. However, County staff will provide technical support. The Board will seek to make appointments that reflect the county's demographics.

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