Every 10 years we are given the chance to rewrite district lines to adjust for population growth and to fix the mistakes of the past. Sadly, the newly accepted district map for Santa Barbara county only meets one of these criteria, as it reeks with political corruption. Once again, it appears that Santa Barbara county is getting it’s lines gerrymandered by the liberal supervisors who are more interested in keeping the status quo and protecting their power. To make matters worse, the redistricting process was conducted by the supervisors themselves, while working with a political insider, instead of a citizen panel like the California redistricting project. The supervisors who are perpetrating this scandal are Doreen Farr, Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal, and the political insider whose map they are accepting is George Relles, a long time supporter and campaign consultant to these supervisors. George is associated with the progressive group SBCAN, the Santa Barbara County Action Network. Farr, Wolf and Carbajal are also all members of SBCAN. This organization ended up controlling the redistricting process, which as it turns out was not a public process at all, but simply a big sham.
At the public hearings, numerous citizens put forth map proposals which would have moved Isla Vista from the third district to second district because it shares more of a community of interest to Goleta and Santa Barbara than to Lompoc or Santa Ynez. Additionally, many Lompoc citizens, including the city council, wanted Lompoc to be a part of a single district to have their vote count for something. None of these requests were considered by the liberal supervisors, who instead gave them the proverbial middle finger. With the new map, Lompoc is now getting split into two districts, one sharing a district with Santa Maria and one sharing a district with Isla Vista. Nothing says disenfranchisement like having your votes in Lompos offset by transitory college students! Liberals claim that keeping IV in the third district ensures the swing vote when determining the county supervisor majority (ie. which is code for liberal incumbent protection). But it’s quite obvious that Doreen Farr would have never been able to win the third district without IV, thus it was vital for the liberal majority to maintain the status quo map to retain their power.
According to Lompoc resident and GOP central committee member, Robert Jeffers, who was interviewed by the Santa Maria Times, “His (Relles’) map was designed to solidify the incumbents in the lower regions,” referring to the South Coast. “In Lompoc, our vote is pretty much toast. Lompoc’s voice won’t be heard because we’re a minority in both districts.”
Andy Caldwell, executive director of COLAB (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business) told the Santa Maria Times, “This has to stop, this is wrong. They (the board majority) take Relles’ map, and Gray and Lavagnino say can we talk about lines in our areas and they said no. They screwed Lavagnino and Gray for their own interests. They gerrymandered the entire North County.”
We need to convey to the public what has transpired and ask the Board of Supervisors to relinquish the power to draw their own district boundaries.
We DO HAVE RECOURSE!!!
The law allows District Attorney Dudley, the Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, and the County Clerk Recorder Joe Holland to perform the task of redistricting. We have hope and do trust that these three elected officials will not recruit a campaign consultant to do this important task to the detriment of the voting public.
The Board of Supervisors only had ONE meeting to debate and discuss their campaign consultants map. It will not take ANY time at all for Dudley, Cirone and Holland to finish the task of drawing fair lines for district boundaries in the time allotted by the law.
Please contact your County Supervisors and demand that they withdraw themselves from this process. They have demonstrated that they are overtly partisan and cannot be trusted with this task!
Please prepare to attend the Board of Sups meeting on August 2 and do contact the Board members in the meantime.
1st District: Salud Carbajal
2nd District: Janet Wolf
3rd District: Doreen Farr, Vice-Chair
4th District: Joni Gray, Chair
|Santa Maria:||(805) 346-8407|
5th District: Steve Lavagnino
|Santa Maria:||(805) 346-8400|
To read more, check out these articles below:
- Santa Maria Times – Board Approves Status Quo County Map
- The Lompoc Record – Giving County Voters a Fair Shake
- Santa Ynez Valley Journal – Several Riled as Board Supports Status Quo Redistricting Map