County Supervisorial Districts Unlikely To Make Much Geographical Change

Though the members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors are keeping their options open in terms of how the county’s electoral map that includes the districts they represent will look for the next ten years beginning with the 2022 election season, it does not appear the county’s supervisorial districts will be substantially different than they are now.
Reapportionment is conducted across virtually all political jurisdictions in the United States following each decennial census, from the federal down to the local levels. That includes the states’ addition or subtraction of Congressional seats in the House of Representatives, the determination of the size of each state’s representation in the U.S. Electoral College, the geographical lines of Congressional districts and state legislative districts, districts within counties for the offices of county supervisor and council wards within cities which utilize by-district voting in choosing city council members.
At its inception in 1853, San Bernardino County had three members on its board of supervisors. Later in the 19th Century, the county transitioned to five supervisors and has maintained that governmental geographical representation standard ever since. In San Bernardino County there is a redrafting of the five district boundaries upon the eclipsing of the third year of every decade, based upon the latest census data.
On November 2, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors looked over three supervisorial district maps drawn up by the county’s redistricting committee. The board is to consider those maps and any others proposed by members of the public on Tuesday, November 16. Based upon the rules governing the reapportionment process, the county has until December 15 to finalize the district map that will be operative throughout the county from 2022 until 2032.
It now appears that the board of supervisors will seriously consider two of those maps next Tuesday – Commission Map 2 and Commission Map 3 – as its members had expressed a preference for those drafts on November 2 in that they leave the basic boundaries in the existing map relatively intact.
According to the U.S. 2020 Census, San Bernardino County had a population last year of 2,180,152. Ideally, each of the five districts would therefore be composed of 436,030.4 people. Efforts have thus been made to create districts with approximately that number of residents.
Map 2 would redraw District 1 so that it roughly approximates geographically what District 1 covered in the map in place since 2012, consisting of 430,041 residents, some 1.4 percent fewer residents than the target of 436,030.4 residents. District two under Map 2 would entail 441,285 residents, 1.2 percent more than the ideal. District 3 would number 430,650 residents, roughly 1.2 percent fewer residents than one-fifth of the county’s entire population. District 4 would consist of 440,920 residents, 1.1 percent more residents than one-fifth of the county population and District 5 would have 437,266 residents, 0.3 percent more than the target of 436,030.4 residents.
Map 3 would redraw District 1 so that it roughly approximates what District 1 covered in the map in place since 2012, consisting of 445,485 residents, some 2.2 percent more residents than the target of 436,030.4 residents. District 2 under Map 3 would entail 428,010 residents, 1.9 percent fewer than the ideal. District 3 would number 440,921 residents, roughly 1.1 percent more residents than one-fifth of the total county population. District 4 would consist of 430,528 residents, 1.3 percent fewer residents than one-fifth of the county population and District 5 would have 435,208 residents, 0.2 percent fewer than the target of 436,030.4 residents.
The county made substantial changes to its electoral map ten years ago. Previously, District 1 had accounted for more than 90 percent of the county’s desert area and all of its desert municipalities: Hesperia, Apple Valley, Victorville, Barstow, Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley and Needles. With the substantial population growth in the county’s desert communities that had taken place over the previous three decades, the redistricting that took place in 2012 entailed the First District losing Barstow, Twentyinine Palms and Yucca Valley to the Third District. Prior to 2012, the Third District had consisted of the farthest eastern cities and portions of San Bernardino Valley, including east San Bernardino, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands, Yucaipa, and the mountain communities of Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead Twin Peaks, Valley of Enchantment, Lake Gregory and Crestline. With the redrawing of the county’s electoral  map in 2012, the Third District gained the three desert cities of Barstow, Twentyinine Palms and Yucca Valley, but lost the unincorporated areas of Crestline, Twin Peaks, Lake Gregory, Valley of Enchantment and Lake Arrowhead to the Second District.
In the two maps most favored by the board of supervisors this time around, the changes being made fall generally around the periphery of the existing districts. There were only three significant changes being seriously considered as the board is set to meet on November 16, one of those being removing the Angeles National Forest District town/village of Wrightwood from the Second District to the First District. Another is Map 2’s removal of much of the east side of Fontana, which is currently split between the Fifth District and the Second District from the Fifth District into the Second District. Another would be Map 3’s shift to include at least of portion of Barstow in District 1.
Board members directed county staff to provide them with population data for the county’s unincorporated communities in the districts as proposed.
Following the special meeting called for November 16, the board is scheduled to hold another redistricting hearing on December 7 to vote to finalize the new map. The new districts will go into effect immediately, such that some of the county’s residents will be represented by members of the board of supervisors they did not have the opportunity in 2018 or 2020 to vote for. The first actual manifestation of the new boundaries will take place with the June 7, 2022 primary election. In that contest, the county’s voters will be selecting supervisors in the Second and Fourth districts.
The county has given the public the opportunity to submit maps that are drawn up independently of the influence of the county’s redistricting commission. Whether the supervisors will heed those citizen recommendations or consider them at all is a different question. The redistricting commission consists of Mark Creffield representing the First Supervisorial District; Robert Little, representing the Second Supervisorial District; Jessica Naquin, representing the Third Supervisorial District; Jean-Rene Basle, representing the Fourth Supervisorial District, William Jernigan, representing the Fifth Supervisorial District and Pamela Preston King, as an at-large member. The alternative commission members are Kenneth Anderson in the First Supervisorial District; Henry Shannon in the Second Supervisorial District; Donald Runels in the Third Supervisorial District; Peggi Hazlett in the Fourth Supervisorial District and Sonja Wilson in the Fifth Supervisorial District. Pamela King is a Superior Court Judge in San Bernardino County. Basle is former San Bernardino County Counsel, and as such was the county’s highest ranking in-house attorney with regard to civil law issues.
The most concerted public effort to alter the existing map this year came from residents of the San Bernardino Mountain communities, which had sought to reunite the entirety of the mountain district – Crestline, Lake Gregory, Blue Jay, Twin Peaks, Cedar Glen, Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs, Valley of Enchantment, Arrow Bear, Angeles Oaks, Forest Falls, Big Bear and Holcomb Valley into one district. In most of those proposals, the district thought best to encompass them was the Third District. One proposal called for them to be contained within the Second District.
Mark Gutglueck

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