Tahoe Compromise mapped out
The authors of the “Tahoe Compromise” redistricting plan said they sought to ease community tension to focus on more pressing county business.
District 3 Supervisor Carl Borelli and El Dorado County Assessor Joe Harn said the controversy was taking time away from issues including building a juvenile hall in the Tahoe Basin and a library in El Dorado Hills.
“All five of us (supervisors) are working for the county, and that is the way it is supposed to be,” Borelli said.
Harn and Borelli drafted the plan last week in response to community opposition to the “Pollock Pines II” map, which many feared could have taken a resident supervisor out of the Tahoe Basin.
The board adopted the Pollock Pines map June 26 and the first of two required readings of the ordinance was scheduled Tuesday. Instead the board voted 5-0 Tuesday to adopt the compromise map in a special meeting in South Lake Tahoe.
The “Tahoe Compromise” reduces representation in the Tahoe Basin from two supervisors to one but guarantees that one supervisor will live in the basin through 2011, when the board must again redraw district lines to balance population.
“Carl Borelli and I both felt this redistricting was such a distraction to the board and to the community that we felt we had to do something,” Harn said.
The board-appointed redistricting committee was not involved in the last-minute change. That didn’t seem to bother committee member Dave Kurtzman, who was appointed by District 5 Supervisor Dave Solaro.
“It certainly seemed to reflect what the majority of this community seemed to feel,” said Kurtzman.
The map will be on the agenda for the board’s next scheduled meetings Aug. 14 and Aug. 21. It needs to be finalized before Aug. 28 to be effective for the March primaries, when Solaro and District 4 Supervisor Penny Humphreys are both up for re-election.
The Tahoe plan does not distribute the county’s population between districts as evenly as the Pollock Pines map. District 5, which includes the Tahoe Basin, has 34,042 residents; on average, nearly 3,500 fewer residents live in each of the four other districts.
Ed Knapp, chief assistant county counsel, said the differences are within the boundaries of the law, especially considering the unique issues of the Tahoe Basin and of the Sierra Nevada.
Fast growth on the Western Slope of El Dorado County since the 1991 map was adopted has led to a 22 percent imbalance between the largest and smallest district, Knapp said. That would drop to 11 percent if the Tahoe plan is approved; other counties show differences of as much as 15 percent, Knapp said.
The goal of redistricting is to make each district roughly equal in population, as determined every 10 years by the U.S. Census. According to the new plan, District 5 will include the El Dorado County portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin as defined by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
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