County district survey looks mostly good for Tahoe
Carving up the county turned out to be a bit more involved than first anticipated.
On Tuesday, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors received the highly anticipated report from the County Surveyor’s office, detailing redistricting options. County surveyor Dan Russell presented the board with four alternatives – in other words, four different maps which detail how the district boundaries could be changed to even out the voting population.
In April, the board voted to get an early jump on redistricting, which is scheduled to be done as part of the state census in 2000. The reason for early redistricting is that the board wanted to ensure that Lake Tahoe retained two supervisors.
So far, they have succeeded. All of the new options presented Tuesday included two supervisorial districts in Tahoe.
“Once we came to the conclusion that we wouldn’t split incorporated cities, the numbers kind of drew up themselves,” Russell said. “We managed to maintain two districts in the Tahoe area, which is what the board asked for.”
As of 1998, the most recent year that figures were available, there were 150,800 residents in El Dorado County. That includes 30,800 residents in Tahoe’s portion of the county, which is represented by Fifth District Supervisor Dave Solaro (South Lake Tahoe and West Shore to Placer County) and Second District Supervisor Ray Nutting (Meyers, Christmas Valley and Tahoe Paradise). The ideal population for each district is about 30,000, according to Russell.
Solaro and Nutting led the redistricting charge when it was determined that the county’s burgeoning population might make it necessary to drop one of Tahoe’s supervisors, thus decreasing the area’s clout in county government. Also, redrawing the boundaries prior to the 2000 census would allow most residents to remain under the same supervisor in the last couple of months before the November elections.
The last time district boundaries were changed was in 1990.
Now the four options will be studied by the board, which will seek input from their respective constituencies before weighing in with a decision. The board will discuss the options in its next meeting on June 22, but a final decision will not be made until Aug. 1 at the earliest.
“I’m not prepared to make a decision until I receive feedback from my district,” Solaro said. “We’ve made sure that Tahoe retains two supervisors, though. That’s the good news.”
The redistricting option that would impact Tahoe the most would be option No. 4, in which Nutting’s second district would be scaled back to Silver Creek, near Pollock Pines – removing Nutting’s district from the basin. Solaro’s Fifth District would take up that area. Penny Humphreys Fourth District, which is north of U.S. Highway 50, would then widen its boundaries to include Tahoe’s west shore communities of Tahoma and Meeks Bay.
That’s really the only option which I don’t think is feasible,” Solaro said. “Those of us who live at the lake should be involved in lake issues. There are many issues on West Shore, such as ambulance service, that should be addressed by people who live here.”
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