A member of the county’s redistricting committee, Eric Reyes (at the lectern on left) of Brawley, representing District 4, and Imperial County Intergovernmental Relations Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter (right) speaks before the Imperial County Board of Supervisors during a public hearing on the redrawing of supervisorial lines on Tuesday, Oct. 12. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO
EL CENTRO — Few spoke during a public hearing on how to divide Imperial County’s supervisorial districts, yet there is still time to comment on the decision that will impact the district in which people reside.
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors got an update on the redistricting process and a look at potential supervisorial districts during a public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 12.
Most of the options included splitting up Calexico into two supervisorial districts, though one kept most of the city in one district. That option included splitting El Centro and Brawley into two districts each.
“There is going to have to be some choice by the board about where to split Calexico, because if we did put it all within one district, the plan would be outside of the 10 percent deviation that is possible,” said Paul Mitchell with consultant, Redistricting Partners.
A decision has to come by Dec. 15, or the county faces losing control of the redistricting process, he said.
Comments can still be made at upcoming public hearings and online. The tool https://districtr.org/california can be used to look at the maps and redraw one’s own lines.
The county has already held at least 10 different events to solicit input on the new lines, but the process has been condensed, said county Intergovernmental Relations Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter. Something that would have almost taken a year has been squeezed into two to three months. That’s due to late Census data releases and a strict deadline of Dec. 15, which the county has interpreted as having to be done by Nov. 15 in order for the ordinance to go into effect by Dec. 15.
Eric Reyes of Brawley reiterated that point, too. He’s a member of the redistricting committee representing District 4, and the process has been very condensed, he said. It’s a problem, especially in a community that is apathetic to the process.
“The condensed portion of it is giving me heartburn,” Reyes said.
He asked for more hearings to try and rally the community to take an interest, especially with draft maps released now, he said. It’s only going to cost the county time and a bit of money to get the process done right.
“Are there people who have something to say?” Reyes asked. “I don’t know.”
People have spoken with him about the maps, but there hasn’t been time to better engage the public, he said. Especially in the Imperial Valley, with the apathetic community, sometimes people “need to be kicked in the *ss.”