Redistricting could link Tahoe, Pollock Pines
Lake Tahoe and Pollock Pines have little in common, but in 2002 the two communities might share county representation.
The El Dorado County Redistricting Commission met Thursday to discuss plans for redrawing county district lines. The result was two plans, both aimed to extend District 5, which includes Lake Tahoe.
One proposal, known as the Strawberry plan, would extend the district west along the U.S. Highway 50 corridor to Strawberry. The other, known as the Pollock Pines plan, would stretch District 5 to Pollock Pines.
Moving the Pollock Pines-Camino area from District 2 into District 5 has raised controversy. The District 5 supervisor has traditionally been the voice on the board for Lake Tahoe. With population increasing on the West Slope at a higher rate than the Tahoe Basin, many residents fear incorporating Pollock Pines would cause Tahoe to lose its sway in county government for the next decade.
Redistricting is required by law every 10 years.
“My long-term concern is that in the next census if you follow the (Pollock Pines) proposal, it is more than likely that a majority of the District 5 population will not live in the Tahoe Basin,” said David Kurtzman, District 5 representative on the County Redistricting Commission. “It is reasonable to assume that we will not have a county supervisor living in the basin and in my opinion that should be of concern to every Tahoe citizen.”
Kurtzman said the Pollock Pines area and Tahoe do not have similar concerns in county government and should not be represented by the same county supervisor.
“One of the factors that you are supposed to use in this redistricting is community of interest; do people have things in common,” Kurtzman said. “To include Pollock Pines in the Tahoe district doesn’t make good sense to me. They use different schools, hospitals. There is nothing in common with Tahoe other than we all drive through (Pollock Pines) on our way to Sacramento.”
Pollock Pines resident Vicki Yorte said many in the Pollock Pines-Camino area also feel they should not be incorporated into District 5.
“To me this seems like a geographically, really absurd idea,” Yorte said. “We are just very separate and different communities. (Tahoe) interests are very different than Pollock Pines. They have basin interests that really don’t incorporate Pollock Pines. This redistricting is a decision that we have to live with for 10 years so it is a very important decision.”
The argument for the Pollock Pines proposal is to maintain approximate population equality among the five county districts, as required by law.
The main proponent of the plan is District 2 Supervisor Helen Baumann. District 2 also stretches into the Tahoe Basin and includes Christmas Valley residents.
However, Tom Mahach, county planning commissioner from 1993 to 2000, said representing Tahoe and the Pollock Pines area equally would be a difficult task for one supervisor.
“I think the thing that should be considered here is the commonality of community interests,” Mahach said. “I feel that the interests between (Pollock Pines and South Tahoe) are such that it would be a Herculean task for one supervisor to represent both areas. I have talked to a number of people in the Pollock Pines area, and (the Pollock Pines plan) came as a surprise to most people. I think the biggest thing that the Pollock Pines area and Tahoe area will have in common is resistance to the Pollock Pines plan.”
On Thursday, the commission moved to submit the two plans to the Board of Supervisors. The board is expected to adopt a plan after the June 15 deadline for final recommendations. The new county districts are expected to go into effect before the March 2002 primary elections for county officials.
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