Redistricting could expand, split South Shore supervisor seat
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Dramatic changes to how South Shore residents are represented in El Dorado County are on the way.
Last week, the county released proposals for the boundaries of five Board of Supervisor districts based on new population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Supervisors are expected to select one of the alternatives in late June or early July.
Under three of the proposed alternatives, the District 5 seat that currently follows the boundaries of the county’s Lake Tahoe Basin portion would be expanded west to include land up to the Pollock Pines area.
Two of the alternatives split the South Shore between two supervisors, who would also be tasked with representing large swaths of the county on either the north or south side of U.S. Highway 50 to the Placerville area. One of the proposals lumps much of the west shore and the North Upper Truckee neighborhood into the supervisor district that includes Placerville.
Redistricting is mandated after each federal census under California law, which requires county supervisors to adjust district boundaries so they “shall be nearly equal in population as may be.” Counties must also follow the Voting Rights Act, which includes provisions to prevent discriminatory redistricting, said Mike Applegarth, principal analyst for El Dorado County.
The 2010 population estimate for the county is 181,058 and the goal for the number of people in each of the new districts is 36,212.
The west slope grew substantially in the past 10 years, decreasing the percentage of county residents living in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The shift made a change to District 5 inevitable, Applegarth said.
“If the districts are to be equally apportioned, the Tahoe District would have to pick up some additional voters from elsewhere in the county,” Applegarth said.
The county analyzed keeping District 5 exclusive to the Lake Tahoe Basin, but determined the status quo was “not viable” because the district would be 15.1 percent, or more than 5,400 residents, below the target population for the district.
Redistricting effects “everything” and will shape political discourse for the next decade, Applegarth said.
“The way people our represented on the board becomes very, very important,” Applegarth said.
Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disable Executive Director David Kelly said he hasn’t looked at the redistricting proposals, but said he didn’t expect the nonprofit would be effected by inclusion in a larger supervisor district.
Other nonprofits could be negatively effected by redistricting because they would be competing for money with similar west slope agencies in the same supervisor district, Kelly said. Transportation funding could take the biggest hit, Kelly added.
South Lake Tahoe spokeswoman Nancy Kerry said the City Council has not reviewed the redistricting proposals or selected a preferred alternative.
Having two supervisors with a constituents at the lake could aid representation at the county level, but a dedicated advocate for California’s South Shore could be beneficial for an area with complex issues that demand significant time commitments, Kerry said.
“We want representation at the lake,” Kerry said. “How we achieve that I’m not sure.”
The council is likely to at a future meeting, Kerry said.
El Dorado County will hold public workshops on the redistricting proposals in May.
For more information on the redistricting, visit: http://www.edcgov.us/Redistricting/
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