The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt a redistricted map of the county and it was recently upheld after a local group sued saying the map was an example of gerrymandering.
The three republicans on the board — John Peschong, Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold — voted to approve the new map while the two democrats —Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz Legg — dissented.
Redistricting happens every ten years after the census data is released. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most recent census data release was delayed a few months.
There are many changes with this new map. For instance, Los Osos, Morro Bay and Cayucos, which share a 10-mile stretch of coastline, will be separated into three separate districts.
Los Osos, which is moving from District 2 to District 5, will have no elected leadership, will not get to vote in the 2022 primary elections and will not have a local election until 2024.
District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson says the new map does not serve his district’s best interests.
“Coastal residents have a certain outlook and values they would like to see represented, so, quite reasonably, they should be able to elect somebody that represents those values,” Gibson said. “Now they’ve been fractured, cracked and packed and it just creates a disruption that is going to be bad for governing.”
Gibson says this redistricting process is supposed to be for the voters who choose how they want to be represented, not about which map would benefit the supervisors the most.
The new map was submitted by Arroyo Grande resident Richard Patten and it was endorsed by the local republican party.
“You can see that it was really quite clearly an effort to give advantage to the republican party at the disadvantage of the democratic party and that’s explicitly prohibited in the state statute,” Gibson said.
The state statute Gibson is referencing was put in place by the California Legislature in 2019 and says the board is “prohibited from adopting supervisorial district boundaries for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against a political party.”
The new map will be implemented soon, even after a local group called SLO Citizens for Good Government sued saying the map was an example of gerrymandering.
Judge Rita Federman, who ruled on the case, said there were too many time constraints to come up with an entirely new map.