County To Push for Independent Redistricting Commission

San Diego County's Board of Supervisors agreed to establish an independent redistricting commission during a hearing on Tuesday.

Currently, the County's charter allows board members to hear recommendations from a citizens panel but gives them the final say in drawing any political lines. Under the new proposal, introduced by Supervisor Greg Cox, a panel of retired judges appointed by a court official will conduct public hearings before etching out the political landscape.

"We have reached a tipping point. The citizens we were elected to represent want county [supervisor] districts drawn independently from supervisors," Supervisor Cox said during the meeting.

"There's no doubt if you ask people on the street, ' should elected officials be designing their own districts,' the substantial majority is going to give a resounding no."

During the hearing, some board members voiced concern about changing the redistricting process.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob felt that taking the process away from elected officials could silence residents living in rural areas of San Diego County.

"Why is a panel of retired judges better than a panel of citizens?" Asked Jacobs. "I don't think we should sit here and feel like the process that we went through is flawed. I don't believe that there is any process that is going to guarantee a fair outcome."

More concerns came from Supervisor Bill Horn, who like Jacob, also represents a large unincorporated areas. "It seems like we are reacting to a very vocal minority," said Supervisor Bill Horn. "I have a problem with wanting to fix something that is not broken."

Despite the concerns, the board voted 4-to-1 in favor of establishing an independent redistricting commission.

(pictured: detail from Elkanah Tisdale's original Gerrymander)


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