Mono supervisors approve redistricting option
“Folks are either content or resigned to the outcome,” said Mono County District 2 Supervisor Hap Hazard. “Either way, we’ve met the goals of redistricting.”
Hazard was referring to the lack of public input last Tuesday at the final public hearing for redistricting in Mono County. The redistricting process has been going on for several months, ever since the 2010 Census data showed that the population in Mono County had grown, especially in Mammoth, and supervisorial districts needed to be shuffled in order to allow each supervisor a sufficient number of voting constituents (approximately 2,800 each).
But meeting goals and making everyone happy don’t always go hand in hand, as was proven during the supervisors’ discussion on Tuesday.
“[Option B] breaks every other guideline outside of the census data,” stated District 4 Supervisor Tim Hansen. Hansen’s district will suffer the most change, including no longer holding Lee Vining within its boundaries (the town will become part of District 3), and adding a portion of Mammoth (in and around the Knolls area).
The addition of a Mammoth contingency to District 4 means that someone who lives in Walker, Bridgeport, or other north county towns could end up representing a piece of Mammoth, and vice versa. It will be the same situation that is currently in play for District 3. Supervisor Vikki Bauer lives in June Lake, but represents the portion of Mammoth that falls within her boundary lines.
“Maybe it will open the door to more conversation between north and south counties,” said District 5 Supervisor Byng Hunt.
The addition of a District 4 representative in Mammoth means that the town will be divided among four supervisors making county decisions on its behalf. Two of those four (districts 1 and 5) must live in Mammoth, while the other two (districts 3 and 4) could live outside of town.
District 1 Supervisor Larry Johnston felt that with the changes to the Mammoth makeup, a greater effort should have been made to contact the homeowners that will be affected.
“We should have directly emailed the 700 homeowners in the Knolls,” he said.
Bauer, however, disagreed. “I know the Knolls voters because [currently] they’re mine,” Bauer said. “Many of them would be interested to have the ear of a Bridgeport supervisor.”
But Knolls homeowner and HOA Board member, Kathy Cage was shocked at the outcome of the process. “I didn’t even think to give input because it (Option B) was so bizarrely out of the realm of reasonability. It is pointedly an effort to dilute Mammoth’s influence in the county.”
For Hansen, the restructuring of District 4 poses a unique problem. Since he lives in Lee Vining, he will not be able to run for District 4 Supervisor when it comes time for re-election, since supervisors must live within their district’s boundaries. Hansen would have to run for the District 3 spot against Supervisor Bauer if he wanted to continue to serve on the Board.
The district with the least amount of change is District 2.
“The quote, ‘weirdness’ starts in 30 days, and continues through the next election,” explained Deputy County Counsel John-Carl Vallejo, referring to the term used by Board members. “The boundaries become effective 30 days after the ordinance is adopted, but the supervisors will continue to represent their district number until the next election. Same number, different boundaries.”
The Board voted to approve Option B, 3-2, Hansen and Johnston dissenting.
For previous stories on the process, visit www.thesheetnews.com and search “redistricting.”