Residents in Pollock Pines oppose plan
POLLOCK PINES – Residents of the Pollock Pines-Camino area spoke out against the Pollock Pines redistricting plan Thursday.
The El Dorado County Redistricting Committee held the first of three meetings to gather public input on the county’s redistricting proposals. The other two meetings will be at the Lake Tahoe Senior Center May 24 at 1:30 p.m. and the El Dorado Hills Community Service Pavilion May 31 at 3 p.m.
The Pollock Pines Plan is one of the leading proposals submitted to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors May 8. If adopted it would expand District 5 west to incorporate the Pollock Pines-Camino area. District 5’s current boundaries are completely within the Tahoe Basin.
Redistricting Committee Chairman and representative for District 3, Jack Sweeney, anticipated resistance to the Pollock Pines Plan.
“We ask you to take your tomatoes outside,” Sweeney said to the crowd of about 40 people gathered at the Pollock Pines-Camino Community Center. “We will share your popcorn with you but not your tomatoes.”
Pollock Pines residents argued Tahoe and Pollock Pines-Camino face different issues, meriting separate county representation.
“I think Pollock Pines identifies itself as generally rural area,” said Pollock Pines-Camino resident, Bob Sonke. “There is no way people in Pollock Pines can look at Tahoe and refer to it as a rural area.”
Jerry Waldie, a District 2 representative on the Redistricting Committee and advocate for the Pollock Pines Plan, pointed out that the committee is required by law to redraw the boundaries to keep a nearly equal population among the five districts. He argued that expanding District 5 to Pollock Pines is the only way to accomplish that.
“(U.S.) Highway 50 is a lifeline for Tahoe and Pollock Pines because there is no place between the Tahoe and Pollock Pines where there is 1,000, 2,000, or 3,000 people,” Waldie said. “You are forced to go all the way to Pollock Pines to get the necessary amount of people.”
Waldie also argued that it is important to have the District 5 Representative more involved in the politics of the rest of the county. He said stretching District 5 to Pollock Pines would meet that end.
Pollock Pines resident Richard Bidstrup attacked that argument. He said he feared the uniquely important issues of the Tahoe Basin would outweigh the issues in the Pollock Pines-Camino area, weakening the Pollock Pines-Camino area’s representation in county government.
“It seems you are focused on enhancing the representation in the Tahoe Basin and we in Pollock Pines are getting sucked in,” Bidstrup said. “It seems to me you are diluting the quality of representation in the Pollock Pines area. We are going to play second, third, fourth fiddle to (Tahoe.)”
But the Pollock Pines Plan may have adverse effects for Tahoe. The population in the Pollock Pines-Camino area is predominately retirees, while the average age in the Tahoe Basin is much younger. Many of the residents in Tahoe accounted for in the redistricting process are not of voting age.
“All of the districts must be nearly equal in population,” Sweeney said. “Not registered voters, but population.”
District 5 representative on the committee Dave Kurtzman said if the Pollock Pines Plan is adopted the increasing population on the West Slope could lead to Tahoe residents’ being outvoted. Kurtzman said he fears that scenario could lead to Tahoe’s not having a resident district supervisor.
Kurtzman said he did not think any of the people attending the meeting were in favor of the Pollock Pines Plan.
“I came away with two simple things,” Kurtzman said. “The people here want to stay in District 2 and see the Camino area remain within their community of interest. When asked the benefit of putting Pollock Pines in District 5, nobody came up with any positive benefits for Pollock Pines.”
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