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Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Sets Stage for County Redistricting

To Address Spring Census Results, Redistricting Commission will be Constituted

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – This week, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted to create an 11-member panel to take up Redistricting, pending the final 2010 Census results which are expected to be available in March 2011. State law requires that boundaries of the supervisorial districts be adjusted after each decennial census.

The Board has discretion to determine the number of members to serve. Yesterday, a majority of the Board members voted to have each member of the Board of Supervisors appoint two representatives and the President of the Board to also appoint the Chair. The panel, of appointees, yet to be determined, will make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for the alignment or realignment of District boundaries.

Each of the five Supervisorial Districts was aligned during the past, so that each Board member represents about the same number of residents. California Law requires that as Redistricting is developed, the goals be to: maximize equal representation (one person, one vote); align district populations to within 10,000 of each other; and avoid gerrymandering. District boundaries are to take into account topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguousness, compactness of territory and communities of interest.

Early action by the Board of Supervisors has historical precedent. In 1991, the County of Santa Clara was the first county in the state to convene a Citizens Redistricting Commission. A Commission also was convened in 2001, following the Census 2000. The 11-member Citizens Redistricting Commission serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors. The Commission will hold a series of public hearings to receive input from the community. It will develop a redistricting plan or plans for the Board of Supervisors to consider. The Redistricting 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 that are within each district. The Board has ultimate responsibility to adopt a plan for submission to the State.

It is anticipated that Board members will make appointments before the end of the year. In January, an informational meeting is planned to outline the legal requirements and to ensure that the Commission has adequate to tools to accomplish its objectives. The Commission would hold four community meetings/public hearings between February and May of 2011. Upon receipt of the recommendation(s), the Board would also hold two public hearings during June 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 consideration. No elected officials, aides to elected officials, candidates for elective office or County employees are eligible for appointment to the Citizens Redistricting Commission. However, County staff will provide technical support. To the extent practical, the Board will seek to make appointments that reflect the county’s demographics.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119
Posted: November 12, 2010