Supervisors Latest Redistricting Plans Split Antioch or Gerrymander

CCC Board of Supervisors Redistricting Draft Proposal 16 (12A)

Final Vote Could Happen Tuesday

By Allen Payton, Publisher

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors have narrowed down the field of redistricting plans to three final maps, of which two of them split Antioch. The third one, while keeping Antioch and all the other 52 communities in the county whole, continues the current gerrymandered Districts 2 and 3 in an attempt to preserve the status quo, as much as possible. One of the plans that splits Antioch, also creates a district that places most of the city and far East County in the same district as part of Walnut Creek.

After two months of public input, including 14 workshops throughout the county, and with a variety of maps submitted by members of the public, as well as county staff and the Supervisors, and an overwhelming majority of residents supporting what became know as Concept 6, the Board could decide Tuesday at their regular weekly meeting to adopt a new map for their districts, in the decennial redistricting process. But, it takes three votes to make that happen and so far there is not consensus of which three Supervisors will support which plan.

Concept 6 was submitted by a group of citizens from throughout the county, from various political parties and walks of life, known as the Contra Costa Citizens Redistricting Task Force, of which I am Chairman. It’s the only plan that splits only one city, Concord – the county’s largest – while creating the most compact districts and the smallest population difference from one district to another. Both compactness and as equal population as possible are legal requirements in the redistricting process. Our group is continuing to push for adoption of our Plan A2/Concept 6 as the best plan submitted with the most¬† public support, countywide.

The county staff created Concept 4 and columnist Dan Borenstein of the Contra Costa Times published a plan on May 1st, which the Supervisors included in their process and labeled Concept 5, both of which were similar to Concept 6. Then Supervisors John Gioia and Federal Glover submitted plans which were also very similar to Concept 6. All of those plans split just one or two cities, Walnut Creek and/or Concord.

The final three plans are known as Proposals 15, 16 and 17.  Proposal 15 is a modification of Proposal 9 which was submitted by Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette. It keeps Antioch whole and in the same district with Pittsburg, Oakley and Bethel Island, as it is now, but places Bay Point into a district with Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, Pacheco, Clyde and an unincorporated section of the county next to Martinez known as Vine Hill. It also places all of Walnut Creek in District 2 which will continue to be gerrymandered by including Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda with Hercules, Rodeo, Crockett, Port Costa and Martinez. That district was created in 1981 to hurt then-Supervisor Nancy Fadden by lumping in two distinct parts of the county with differing views into the same district, so as to hurt her for reelection, because it was assumed every time she took a vote for one part of her district the other part would be unhappy.

Finally Proposal 15 keeps the San Ramon Valley in the same gerrymandered District 3 with Brentwood, Knightsen, Byron and Discovery Bay, where Piepho lives. That district was created in 2001 to hurt the chances for higher office of then-Supervisor Donna Gerber. It crosses to hill ranges and in order to get from one part of the district to the other, you have to either drive through one or two other districts or out of the county. The plan has a population deviation of 5.39% so it is the closest to the Supervisors’ criteria they adopted in February, this year and the maximum rule of thumb in redistricting of 5%, of the final three plans.

Proposal 16, a modification of Proposal 12, submitted by Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, splits Antioch down Lone Tree Way with the western half in a district with that stretches to Hercules, much like the current 11th State Assembly District. The eastern half of the city would be in a district with the rest of East County and a part of Walnut Creek – which the plan also splits – in an attempt to satisfy the desires of Piepho who grew up in Walnut Creek and wants the city in her district. However, she has stated her top priority is to keep Walnut Creek whole, unlike the current three-way split which the city experiences, today. (Only Proposal 15 accomplishes that, but it doesn’t include the city in her district). With a population difference of almost 7% between districts, Proposal 16 violates the 5% criteria.

Proposal 17 appears to be a compromise plan as a revision to Concept 6 and the Gioia and Glover plans, and the desires of Mitchoff to keep Concord whole, plus Mt. Diablo and the Concord Naval Weapons Station in her district. However, it splits off about 10,000 to 11,000 residents from each of four cities – Antioch, Concord, Walnut Creek and Pinole. Another downside is that the population deviation is almost 8% at 7.95% which could be legally challenged in court and might not stand up, especially since the plan splits four cities.

The Board has until August 15 to adopt a plan or the process is handed over to the County Assessor, Registrar of Voters and the District Attorney to draw the new district lines.

All three of the latest map proposals, plus Concept 6, as well as all of the other maps and public input submitted throughout the process, can be found on the county’s redistricting website at www.ccredistricting.org.

The Board meeting is at 11:15 a.m., Tuesday, July 12 in the Board Chambers, Room 107, Administration Building, 651 Pine Street in Martinez. For those wishing to email or call the Supervisors with your opinions, their contact information can be found by clicking here.


One Comment to “Supervisors Latest Redistricting Plans Split Antioch or Gerrymander”

  1. Arne Simonsen says:

    Proposal 16 (12A) is an abomination! Splitting Antioch is totally STUPID!!!

    Discovery Bay has nothing in common with Walnut Creek. Antioch has nothing common with Crockett.

    If this is more “politics as usual”, then let’s hope that there won;’t be 3 votes at the Board of Supervisors and redistricting will be turned over to the county-wide elected officials who are not beholding to the Supervisors.

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