[UPDATED with Board Rejecting Plan:] Redistricting Committee Trudges On, 18 Proposals Remain

Categories: Politics
UPDATE, JULY 20, 11:25 A.M.: And, back to the redistricting committee it goes.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors had its first official look at the committee's redistricting recommendations Tuesday and opted to kick the proposed plan back to the panel, citing potential political harm to the county's Vietnamese-American population.

The OC Register's Kimberly Edds reports that dozens of Vietnamese Americans were at the meeting Tuesday, some hoisting up "Save Little Saigon" and "Don't Split Our Community" signs. They want Fountain Valley to be in the first district, not the second, Edds writes.

The Vietnamese-American population had a hefty--and influential--outpouring at Tuesday's meeting. Local Latinos are hoping to have their own at Friday's meeting. 

State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) visited the Los Amigos community meeting in Anaheim this morning and urged club members to show up in throngs and speak at Friday's meetings, calling that their best chance to sway redistricting decisions their way. 

The meeting is Friday at 9 a.m. in the board room at the Hall of Administration, 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana.
UPDATE, JULY 1, 3:25 P.M.: After a months-long process, the Orange County redistricting committee reached a milestone yesterday: They picked their favorite redistricting map, and a couple of runners up, which will now be presented to the Board of Supervisors. 

Of more than 20 maps submitted, the committee narrowed it down to their four favorites -- 16A, 20A, 21 and 22. To see the different maps and their demographic breakdowns, visit the county's website. 

Although various individuals and one group--Santa Ana League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)--submitted redistricting proposals, the four aforementioned finalists were all drafted by the supervisors and their staffs. The top choice, proposal 21, was drafted by the Fourth District.

Although the committee members seemed happy to have reached a conclusion, the two men who spoke during the call to the audience voiced their frustrations.

Santa Ana LULAC Public Policy Director Art Montez says he thinks the committee ignored Latinos. "Not once did we hear about Latino spheres of influence." He added: "It astonishes me. Obviously these lines were drawn for political influence."

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 24, 2:36 P.M.: Last night's redistricting meeting in Mission Viejo was a bore for the audience and a chore for the committee.

Redistricting Committee Chairman Don Hughes called the meeting to order, said a few things and then leaned away from the microphone to ask Assistant CEO Rob Richardson a question: "Is this our fourth meeting?" A few minutes later, after jumbling the meeting's order bit, he admitted that he'd misplaced the meeting's agenda after slamming on the brakes to avoid a crash and creating a flurry of papers in his car.

Needless to say, it's been a long process--and it's far from over.

Toward the end of the meeting, Rick Francis, vice chairman of the committee, motioned to table one of the redistricting proposals--proposal three. Francis had a slew of complaints about the plan. One complaint: it places Newport Beach in four separate districts. "That's a little much," Francis says. And, he adds, it splits up 13 cities.

But the others on the dais say they weren't quite ready to table the proposal, especially since nobody from Santa Ana LULAC--the proposal's author--was at the meeting.

"I'd rather he be here to be able to defend the plan," says Denis Bilodeau, committee member from the fourth district, about the absence of Zeke Hernandez, who presides over the League of United Latin American Citizens chapter.


Francis later says he just wants to get the ball rolling. "I'm ready to strike about 20 more. I'm ready to get this done. I'd like to bleed these out slowly," Francis says.

The redistricting committee did vote unanimously to table one proposal last night--proposal 20--but that's because they introduced a modified version of it, 20A. Proposal 20A splits both Anaheim and Irvine into separate districts. Maps and stats of the modified proposal unveiled last night are available on the county's website.  

The meeting ended like the dreaded ending of a school day: with a homework assignment. Hughes told committee members he wanted them to do their research and pick out a few of their favorite maps by their next meeting on June 30. (The meeting starts at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Administration in Santa Ana.)

"Get prepared to really get into this and put our nails into [it]," Hughes says. While the nail-digging might start Thursday, the tentative date for adoption of the ordinance isn't until Sept. 13, according to county spokesman Howard Sutter.

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