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Orange County

Supervisors OK Modified Redistricting Map

Politics: Garden Grove and Anaheim are only cities split in version set to be revisited next month.

July 18, 2001|DANIEL YI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County supervisors on Tuesday approved a redistricting map to serve as the basis for an ordinance on which the board will vote next month.

The map, chosen from 12 original proposals and almost as many alternative versions submitted by the public and individual supervisors, will now go to the county assessor's office to be drafted into an ordinance.

The board will meet Aug. 14 to debate final details of the map, which may be further modified or approved by a majority of the supervisors.

Electoral districts are adjusted every 10 years based on U.S. Census figures.

The map submitted Tuesday by the county redistricting committee is a modified version of a proposal last week by Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Tom Wilson. That plan was a modification of a proposal by the League of United Latin American Citizens.

But underscoring the daunting task of finding a compromise among so many proposals and interests, many at the public hearing Tuesday in Santa Ana remained guarded about the map selected, including LULAC officials.

"Anybody of color would be justified to be very skeptical at taking things at face value," Art Montez, LULAC's public policy director, told the board. "This may be whole milk that is 2% arsenic. Before I drink it, I'd have to have it analyzed."

Tuesday's map keeps most cities whole inside the supervisorial districts. The exceptions are Garden Grove, which remains split between districts 1 and 2, and Anaheim, divided between districts 3 and 4. The current boundaries split seven cities among different districts.

The map also keeps Santa Ana in one district, which LULAC had urged to preserve the city's ethnic character, increasing the likelihood of a Latino being elected to the Board of Supervisors. Santa Ana is split among three districts.

Nonetheless, Montez said, the group is not entirely satisfied. Under the latest plan, the Latino population in District 1, which would include Santa Ana, would be about 56%. LULAC had proposed a map that would make the district 61% Latino. The difference could be crucial in a close election, Montez said.

"We look at every penny," he said. "Every nickel."

Xuan Vu, board member of the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, also voiced concerns about the map. Though the group praised the redistricting committee for putting Garden Grove's Koreatown and Westminster's Little Saigon in one district, Vu said those communities are more a symbol of the Asian American presence in the county rather than their actual place of residence. The group originally proposed a District 4 that would be almost equally balanced among the three major ethnic groups: whites, Latinos and Asians.

"Nothing has changed at all" from the current districts, Vu said after the meeting. "Our votes continue to be diluted."

Most of the supervisors characterized Tuesday's map as a good compromise among the possibilities.

"This map is a good map for the people of Orange County today," Supervisor Chuck Smith said, "and it will be a good map for the people of Orange County tomorrow."

Wilson praised the map for "rising above the El Toro [airport] issue," but Spitzer was not so sure. Both supervisors oppose plans for an international airport at the former Marine base.

Tuesday's map moves anti-airport powerhouse Irvine from Wilson's district to Spitzer's, and Lake Forest and Mission Viejo, two other cities opposed to the airport, from Spitzer's to Wilson's district. That should not change the balance in the airport debate, but Spitzer said he wants to hear from his constituents before making a final decision.

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Redrawing the Lines

Source: Orange County

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