Mono County redistricting promises to be difficult, painful

A quiet but critical requirement to change the boundaries of the county’s five supervisor districts after the last Census gets under way this spring, as a citizen commission wrestles with the best way to divide the county into districts of equal population size.

That means some districts will lose and some will gain people, since the law requires all supervisor districts to be almost equal in population.

The law allows for no more than a 10 percent difference between districts, meaning districts can only have 10 percent less or 10 percent more people than all other districts.

It’s a thorny problem, say, for Supervisor Tim Hansen’s District 4 up in North County (Lee Vining to the Nevada border), which needs to add another 300 people to gain the right number of residents.

The supervisors noted Tuesday as they listened to a staff presentation on the subject that the changes mean possibly tapping into other districts for additional population, such as some portion of District 3’s June Lake, now represented entirely by Vikki Bauer, or even grabbing some residents from over in the Tri-Valley area on the eastern edge of the county, now represented entirely by District 2 Supervisor Hap Hazard.

In a county with residents as far flung as Mono County, the process is harder than it might be in a city, as whole areas now identified as a unified whole, like June Lake, could find themselves represented by more than one supervisor if people are shuffled out of the community, n, making community cohesion a bit more problematic.

Mammoth Lakes, represented by three supervisors, will be a bit easier, as all its residents live close together. But even Mammoth presents some challenges in trying to keep whole neighbor hoods intact and represented by one supervisor, not two or three.

The whole painful process is being re-created across the entire state of California, not just at the supervisor level, but in the state Legislature arena as well, following the 2010 Census.
A June 2010 election resulted in giving the right to do the redistricting to citizen committees, and that process will be followed in Mono County.

Two volunteer residents per district were appointed by each supervisor Tuesday. They will meet throughout the next half a year, with the goal of having final boundaries ready to go to the state by Nov. 1.

Here they are:
District 1 (Larry Johnston): Jose Garcia and Chris Carmichael
District 2 (Hap Hazard): Rick Phelps and Cindy Kitts
District 3 (Vikki Bauer): Brent Harper and Rob Morgan
District 4 (Tim Hansen): Bob Peters and Sally Miller
District 5 (Byng Hunt): Bill Taylor and Tony Taylor