County redistricting won’t affect two reps from basin |

County redistricting won’t affect two reps from basin

Rick Chandler

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors have decided, finally, that the Tahoe Basin will not lose one of its two supervisors due to redistricting.

And that’s final – or at least as final as things get in county government.

After a brief discussion at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in Placerville – in which Third District Supervisor Mark Nielsen introduced the option of perhaps dropping one Tahoe supervisor – it was decided to leave things the way they are. That is, redistricting will go on as scheduled, but the new supervisorial boundaries will provide for two separate districts in the Tahoe Basin.

“I think that it’s important that Tahoe not lose any of its representation in county government,” said Second District Supervisor Ray Nutting, whose district includes Meyers and Tahoe Paradise. “That’s the only plan I would vote for.”

The redistricting debate at a glance:

Last month, Nielsen brought a motion before the board that would get redistricting under way a year early (it was scheduled to occur as part of the U.S. Census in 2000). If the federal government were to redraw county boundaries, however, it may not be to the liking of county residents – especially those in the Tahoe Basin, who might lose a supervisor.

The motion was shelved at that time, but resurfaced on May 11, when Nutting reintroduced it. It was decided then by the board to assemble a team to redraw supervisorial district boundaries right away, a year ahead of the scheduled Census. That motion passed 4-1.

Then, on Tuesday, Nielsen suggested that the board might consider alternatives to the two-supervisor Tahoe mandate. After a brief discussion, that idea was rejected without a vote. It was decided to proceed as planned.

The board formally approved the redistricting team, which will be comprised of representatives of the Elections Department, the County Surveyors Office and the Planning Department. Their goal will be to redraw district boundaries so as to equitably distribute county voting population among the five supervisorial districts – so that no one district has an advantage over another.

The problem is this: Population has been growing steadily in the western portion of the county, and has remained steady in the Tahoe Basin. District 1, which includes Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and Shingle Springs, has grown 42 percent since 1992 (to about 19,500 voters). But District 5 (South Lake Tahoe) is about the same over that same period (10,700 voters).

“By the numbers, Tahoe naturally lends itself to being one whole district,” said Pierre Rivas, a member of the redistricting team from the County Planning Department. “But that’s not one of our alternatives. So right now we’re looking at taking a portion from District 1 and adding it to District 4.”

There is also the possibility, said Rivas, of adding to District 2.

But those are not the only alternatives that the team is considering – it must present two redistricting scenarios to the board by June 15. But neither of those scenarios will involve consolidating the Tahoe Basin into one district.

“Many Tahoe residents have expressed concerns to me about losing representation in county government,” said Fifth District Supervisor Dave Solaro. “I wouldn’t want to see that, either.”

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