Contra Costa at impasse over district maps

Without the necessary three votes to make a final selection, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors this afternoon punted its decision over new political districts to the end of the month.

The five supervisors will take up the matter again on July 26 at 10:30 a.m. (Click here for Contra Costa’s redistricting web site and links to all the various maps and data.)

Frustration was evident as the supervisors each reiterated the merits of his or her preferred map but repeatedly failed to come up with that third and majority vote.  Each views the county through a different political and personal lens, and they have yet to find middle ground.

Supervisors Federal Glover and John Gioia agree. The other three supervisors (Gayle Uilkema, Mary Nejedly Piepho and Karen Mitchoff) dislike the men’s map but don’t support each other’s maps, either.

Four maps remain on the table for debate although any could change at any time.

Click here for Piepho’s preferred map (Proposal 15.)

Here’s the first map proposed by Glover and Gioia (Proposal 17.)

Here are the men’s second and revised map (Proposal 17D) they submitted earlier today.

And here is what Mitchoff has submitted (Proposal 16.)

Broadly speaking, Glover and Gioia want to create a map based on regional subdivisions and reverse the 2001 map under which East Contra Costa County was carved into two districts. They submitted two maps, (Proposal 17 and Proposal 17D) each slightly adjusted in an attempt to win a third vote. But one of their maps slices a small sliver of Concord into a second district, while both maps splits Pinole, Walnut Creek and Antioch and the percentage population spread among the districts is 7.95 to 8.76 points. The law requires the county to draw new districts of equal population or as near as possible to equal; deviations have withstood court challenges but must be justified.

Their map most closely matches the option drawn by a volunteer citizen’s task force, or Concept 6, as it was originally labeled. Much of the audience Tuesday endorsed this version, holding up signed and testifying in its favor.

Piepho’s submission appears designed to inspire compromise rather than survive outright adoption. It draws her out of Walnut Creek, her prime political support base, and instead shifts it entirely into Uilkema’s district. It splits no cities and has a 5.39 percentage point population spread. But it does split Bay Point and Pittsburg, communities with longstanding ties.

Mitchoff’s map shifts Glover’s district westward, as he wanted, and allows Piepho to keep portions of Walnut Creek. But it splits Antioch and Walnut Creek. It has a 6.86 percentage point population spread.

In the next two weeks, the pressure will be on these supervisors to cut a deal, end the political suspense and allow the 2012 election to official begin. Uilkema, Glover and Piepho are up for re-election and at least four possible challengers were in the audience Tuesday and testified.

The question is whether a majority of the board will simply ram a map down the throats of their colleagues and let the chips fall where they will … or will they unanimously choke down a compromise and avert open warfare.

My money is on the latter although the former would be a lot more fun to write about.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Elwood

    The venal, incompetent board of supervisors makes me proud to be a resident of CoCoCounty.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Open warfare has just begun. The broads don’t like the guy’s maps or each others, and the “public” likes Concept 6, which wasn’t considered. The other 4 don’t seem to recognize that Gayle is Chair. Who were the “four possible challengers,” Lisa, now that Cindy has said “really never” at least 6 times?

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Antioch Mayor Jim Davis, Antioch Councilman Gary Agopian, Community College Trustee Tomi van der Brooke and Oakley Mayor Jim Frazier.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Under Proposal 15, Jim Davis, Gary Agopian (again) and Jim Frazier would challenge Glover, while Tomi van der Brooke, Piepho’s former chief-of-staff, (who switched Parties), would challenge Uilkema. Under Proposals 16 or 17, the 3 guy challengers would run against Piepho.

  • A little point correction for Ralph’s comment. THE PUBLIC did not like proposal 6. An ad hoc group prepared proposal 6 and organized a determined effort to steam roll the process with 6-10 supporters. I believe that there were actually more people who tried to create their own versions of the district and some of them got to be posted on the district making web site of the county, but were never really discussed and were hardly mentioned at all. Additionally in the 14 workshops that were held, there was hardly any real size of attendance (Concord had 25 people- others that I attended had 7-10-17-11) and many of those were repeat individuals- like myself.

    The reality is that THE PUBLIC has not really been heard from and for the most part has not gotten themselves engaged in the process of the COUNTY redistricting.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Edi, that’s why I have “public” in quotes. The Public isn’t engaged because they don’t understand the implications of district lines. Heather Gass, who spoke in favor of 6, is organizer of the East Bay Tea Party that meets in Danville, the only CC city left that has more GOP than DEM registrants. At their June Meeting they had a Lesbian Democratic speaker.
    BTW, did you note the CA Senate sent Brown a bill that will shift the Presidential Primary to June, thus increasing turnout in the Primary, plus AB459.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Lisa, you were great on the subject of redistricting on “This Week in Northern CA” tonight on KQED.

  • Tom Benigno

    Hello Ralph:
    How are you doing, I have not seen your comments on this blog for a while. If you didn’t know I have been doing some writing for another paper trying to get the word out on this mess we call recession. The district changes will help some of the new candidates, but it won’t help the economy for the U.S. especially in California. The state should be divided into three different states, that would help get ride of the Sacramento machine they call the legislature. As we can see the special interest Southern California controls the state. Redistricting wont help us in the North, or Central California. Take care.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Hello Tom,
    I’m a reporter for WC Patch now, but on this subject, my Editor has been doing the reporting. Lisa seems to have more experience on the subject of redistricting.
    If I remember my Latin, “Gallia es Omnis Divisa in Partes Tres,” , so why can’t CA. In some ways, we seem to be in “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire.”

  • Tom Benigno

    Hello again Ralph:
    The real experts in redistricting are the lobbyist who put up special interest money, to direct the lines of the districts.
    California was once the 6th largest economies in the world is now 27th. The state should file bankruptcy fire everyone and start over. We would save enough money in one month to pay down our California dept. It sounds drastic but so is going hungry.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Tom, do you think the “volunteer citizen’s task force” received some of that special interest money? According to campaign law, political contributions and expenses are supposed to be reported.

  • Tom Benigno

    To answer your question yes. Come on Ralph you have run for office before,just to give you an example. Have you ever tried putting your signs up, on private property, and later find out that property owner supported another candidate. That might be a poor example but, the lines are drawn to help get their candidate of choice elected. It’s called INVESTING in the future. We should have sign farms, where everyone gets the same exposier. Check out Modesto some time.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Do you have a suggestion of a sign for me to hold on July 26?