Supervisors Decide On New District Plan – Antioch Split

The new Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors districts

“Not a perfect plan…but the plan that most reflects the commonalities of communities” – Supervisor John Gioia

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Most of Antioch will have a new County Supervisor starting in September, while the northern part of the city will continue to be represented by Supervisor Federal Glover in District 5.

On Tuesday, July 26, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors on a 3-2 vote, approved a final redistricting plan for their five districts which splits Antioch along Highway 4 and East 18th Street, with most of the city in an East County district with Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen.

The larger part of Antioch south of Highway 4 and East 18th Street will move into District 3, currently represented by Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay, as of September 8, which is 30 days after the August 9 scheduled final vote on the new plan.

Supervisors John Gioia, Karen Mitchoff and Glover voted for the new plan, while Supervisors Gayle Uilkema and Piepho voted against it. The latter two preferred a plan that did the least to change the current district configuration.

The new map was a variation of the plan proposed and submitted by the Contra Costa Citizens Redistricting Task Force (of which I was the Chairman), which was labeled Concept 6 and garnered the most support during the public process, including 14 workshops throughout the county, emails, postcards and letters.

However, in that plan only Concord – the county’s largest city – was split and it had the smallest population difference from one district to the next at 3.56%.  That was opposed by Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill who currently represents Concord and made keeping that city whole one of the key requirements for her vote.

So, in order to obtain her support, Gioia made changes to Concept 6 and it was relabeled Proposal 17, splitting Antioch, Pinole, Walnut Creek and Concord by 10,000 to 11,000 residents each and presented it at the July 12 Board meeting.

But, Mitchoff still opposed that. So Glover, who was prepared for such a possibility, presented Proposal 17D at the same meeting, which made Concord whole, but split Antioch further and the San Ramon Valley, moving Diablo, Blackhawk and Camino Tassajara into the East County district.

Further changes were made to that plan to bring it under an 8% population deviation between districts and labeled Proposal 17D Amended, and presented at the July 26 meeting.

Uilkema, who is up for reelection next year and will now have half her district new, with the San Ramon Valley in and Hercules, Rodeo, Crockett and Martinez out of the district, argued for making the least amount of change.

“The law says it is a mandate for adjustment,” she stated. “I will be supporting map 15.”

Gioia, the main member pushing for what Uilkema labeled “radical change”, spoke of the current districts in support of the new plan.

“We’re correcting an error that occurred 10 years ago,” he said. “With the goal of keeping as many cities whole. While 17D Amended is not a perfect plan, it is the plan the most reflects the commonalities of communities.”

Before the vote, things got heated between Mitchoff and Piepho.

“We’re not making a major change, here,” Mitchoff stated. Piepho rolled her eyes and tilted her head back and looked at the ceiling in response. “If we ever thought we were going to get a perfect map, we should be recalled.”

Piepho who lost part of Walnut Creek and the entire San Ramon Valley from her district, gave an empassioned speech in favor of her Proposal 15, which kept whole all the cities and communities in the county, and had the lowest population deviation of the final five plans under consideration by the Board, that day.

“How can you split Antioch, Pinole, Walnut Creek and the San Ramon Valley and meet your definition of keeping the commonalities of communities (quoting Gioia’s earlier comments)?” she asked of her fellow Board members.

One last effort by the task force was made at that meeting, by presenting a plan labeled 17E, which revised Proposal 17, making Antioch and Pinole whole, keeping Walnut Creek split by leaving only Rossmoor in District 2 and splitting Concord by about 5,000 less than in Concept 6. A variety of individuals spoke in favor of the proposed plan, including Antioch Councilwoman Mary Rocha and East County Democrats for Action President George Van Hasselt.

Rocha also argued from the standpoint of which plan had the highest percentage of Latinos in each district. Both Proposal 17D Amended and 17E have three districts that are close to or more than 30% Hispanic.

But, none of the Supervisors would bring up17E for consideration and in the end it was Proposal 17D Amended which was adopted.

“This was the compromise,” Glover said following the meeting. “I felt it gave everyone a little bit of what they wanted. The magic here was getting to three. It keeps me representing part of Antioch, dealing with issues of power plants and the annexation.”

“It was a good process,” he added. “One of the best in terms of public engagement. The plan reflects that input.”

Glover gave up Oakley, Bethel Island and most of Antioch, and picked up Clyde, Martinez, Pacheco, Port Costa, Crockett, Rodeo, Hercules and part of Pinole in his new district.

Piepho offered her thoughts following the meeting.

“I already represent Antioch,” she said. “It will now be more direct in the future.”

“I look forward to continue working on delta water issues, transportation issues of Highway 4, the Bypass and Vasco Road.”

Both Glover’s and Piepho’s terms end and they will be up for election, next year.

For more information on the new map, with detailed population and demographic information, vi sit and click on Maps and Data.

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2 Comments to “Supervisors Decide On New District Plan – Antioch Split”

  1. Arne Simonsen says:

    Splitting 4 cities was not a good choice. All of Antioch should have been included with the new District 3 and Blackhawk & Diablo included with District 2.

    For instance, all of Antioch is in a different Water Quality Control District from the land to the west.

    The 8% deviation between the number of residents in the new districts is not “one man, one vote”.

    But it was great to see that the Contra Costa Citizens Redistricting Task Force which Allen Payton chaired come up with the most logical redistricting plan.

    • Publisher says:

      I agree and thank you for your kind words.
      But, when you mix in politics, and have one Supervisor hold out for everything she wanted – and got – then other districts and areas will get short-changed, and you end up with the districts the Board adopted.
      Politics is the art of compromise. Two Supervisors, Gioia and Glover, compromised in order to get the necessary third vote of Mitchoff.
      Just one correction to your comment. They only split three cities – Antioch, Pinole and Walnut Creek. Gioia’s Proposal 17 also split Concord. But, in 17D Amended, it’s whole.

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