Establishing a Redistricting Process

DATE: December 12, 2000
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: Establishing a Redistricting Process

SUMMARY:
The 2000 Federal Census is underway. Census results will be officially reported in April 2001. Based upon the 2000 Census data, the Board of Supervisors will be required to redistrict the five supervisorial districts during 2001.

This Board letter will initiate the establishment of a redistricting process so that the public is provided a full opportunity to participate and provide input on redistricting plans to the Board of Supervisors. In addition, it directs the Chief Administrative Officer to return to the Board on January 23, 2001 with proposed redistricting criteria, procedures, and timelines to guide the County through the redistricting process. Finally, this Board letter authorizes the establishment of a Redistricting Advisory Committee to advise the Board of Supervisors on the redistricting plans the Committee develops during the redistricting process.

Recommendations: 
CHAIRWOMAN DIANNE JACOB AND SUPERVISOR HORN:

  • Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to develop redistricting criteria, opportunities for public input on redistricting plans, and timelines relating to the redistricting process, and return to the Board on January 23, 2001 for Board consideration and adoption.
  • Approve in principle the establishment of a Redistricting Advisory Committee for the purpose of advising the Board of Supervisors on redistricting plans. The Committee shall consist of five (5) members of the public, each of whom is nominated by a member of the Board, and whose appointment is subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors. Direct the County Counsel to prepare a resolution, the approval of which would establish the Redistricting Advisory Committee, and return to the Board on January 23, 2001 for Board approval of the resolution.

Fiscal Impact: 
None

BACKGROUND: 
Applicable General Provisions Re: Redistricting

There are two legal sources that specifically govern the redistricting process. These two legal sources are the California Elections Code and the San Diego County Charter, which contain provisions that are specific to the redistricting of supervisorial districts.

California Elections Code section 21500 requires the following:

  • A board of supervisors shall adjust the boundaries of any or all of the supervisorial districts of the county so that the districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be.
  • Counties must comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act.
  • In establishing the boundaries of the districts a board of supervisors may give consideration to the following factors: (a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of interests of the districts.

Additionally, section 400.1 of the Charter of the County of San Diego provides the following:

The Board of Supervisors shall redistrict the supervisorial districts of the County in the manner specified by general law and in such a way that the area of at least two districts is as substantially outside the City of San Diego as the population will permit. Failure of the Board of Supervisors to so redistrict within one year constitutes misconduct in office.

The County's key considerations for approaching redistricting are set forth in the two provisions set forth above. However, it is critical that the County meet the required timelines applicable to completing the redistricting process.

Timing

The Registrar of Voters has advised that the statewide organization of Elections Officials has concluded that redistricting ordinances should be in place no later than August 21, 2001. The reason for this early timeline is so that voter file information can be updated in time for candidacy filings and the March 2002 primary.

Redistricting Process

In addition to the legal requirements that must be followed by the Board of Supervisors in approving a redistricting plan, the Board should be guided by redistricting criteria to assist in the development of the redistricting plan. Also, the development of the redistricting plans should include broad opportunity for public review and input. Therefore, this Board letter directs the Chief Administrative Officer to develop redistricting criteria and opportunities for public input, and to return to the Board for the Board*s consideration and approval of these items. Lastly, the CAO is also directed to present a redistricting timeline for Board approval so that the County has a plan that insures it will complete the redistricting process within the time frames required.

Advisory Committee

Elections Code section 21505 provides that the Board may appoint an advisory committee composed of County residents to study redistricting and to report to your Board within six months of release of the census data, but in no event later than August 1, 2001.

This Board letter requests that the Board of Supervisors establish a Redistricting Advisory Committee to advise the Board on redistricting plans. It is proposed that the Committee consist of five (5) members of the public, each of whom would be nominated by a member of the Board, and appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors will rely on the Committee to review and comment on proposed redistricting plans and to recommend to the Board a redistricting plan, or redistricting plan alternatives, for Board consideration and adoption of a final plan.

We urge your support for the recommendations in this Board letter. Respectfully submitted,

DIANNE JACOB
Chairwoman

BILL HORN
Supervisor