A letter opposing the latest draft proposed state redistricting maps released earlier this month as it pertains to Tehama County and the surrounding region is being sent by the county’s Board of Supervisors.
Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly and State Board of Equalization districts, so that the districts correctly reflect the state’s population.
California voters authorized the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw the new district lines. The commission must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.
The Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the Citizens Redistricting Commission in October requesting to keep Tehama, Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Yuba and Sutter counties together in order to have representation that would prioritize common issues.
The Commission subsequently released visualizations for public input and consideration. That proposed map puts Tehama County in a district not at all in line with the board’s request, but instead redistricts the county with coastal counties.
The letter states in part, “Once again, the Tehama County Board of Supervisors wishes to express our deep concerns with the latest draft proposed redistricting maps released earlier this month as it pertains to Tehama County and the surrounding region.
We would like to express our opposition to the latest proposal and offer a few insights and suggestions for the Commission.
“We feel strongly that Tehama County should be combined with Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Yuba and Sutter Counties as the basis of one Assembly District, as well as the foundation of any proposed Senate District. These counties not only share areas of common interest, but also share ‘Communities of Interest’ within our region.”
As explained by the letter, all of the counties mentioned by the Board share a rural agricultural valley with an economy dependent on water and natural resources.
“Tehama County is the northern most county within the region and many of our property owners own lands that span political boundaries into both Glenn and Butte counties. This is not an uncommon occurrence within the other counties in the region,” the letter states.
Other areas of commonality mentioned by the Board is workforce and demographics.
Also noted is a “Lack of Commonality and Connectivity”.
“Although Tehama County shares a western border with both Mendocino and Trinity Counties, Tehama County has little in common with either, let alone the other coastal counties in the proposed District. While these three counties share a common border, it is mainly comprised of the Mendocino and Shasta/Trinity National Forests and very few people live in this mountainous, forested part of the State. Direct connectivity via roads and/or highways between Tehama County and coastal counties is also an issue. Travel is oftentimes difficult, if non-existent during certain times of the year, thereby isolating any future potential Assembly member from certain portions of their District,” states the letter.
The Board explains that the population of the six counties that make up its suggested region is 511,255. “This meets the ideal population for an Assembly District. In order to add population to create Senate and Congressional districts, the Commission should consider adding other rural areas along the Interstate 5 corridor to the North (Shasta and Siskiyou) and then into the Western Placer County, as needed. Tehama County needs to be united with other northern Sacramento Valley counties and have representation that will prioritize our areas of common interests. None of the six counties mentioned should be drawn into urban or coastal districts where our rural needs will go ignored by competing coastal/urban interests,” concludes the letter to the commission.