Could Census Bring A New County Supervisor to the Mountain?

  • illian Goddard worked taking census counts last summer in the Mountain Communities. Now the fruit of that work may begin to have an impact on daily life here.It was discovered that Kern County’s District 4 has over 21,000 people who will need to be moved into a different supervisors’ districts in order to maintain population balance.How that will be done is still being determined.

    illian Goddard worked taking census counts last summer in the Mountain Communities. Now the fruit of that work may begin to have an impact on daily life here.It was discovered that Kern County’s District 4 has over 21,000 people who will need to be moved into a different supervisors’ districts in order to maintain population balance.How that will be done is still being determined.

By Patric Hedlund and Gary Meyer

Census figures show that 21,000 people must be moved out of Kern County’s District 4 in order to balance the five supervisorial districts. In the process of redrawing the lines, Mountain Community residents will have a chance to participate in workshops this month on how the changes may affect this area.

District 4 is represented by Ray Watson and includes the Mountain Communities as well as parts of Bakersfield, Taft, Buttonwillow and other populations. The 2010 Census count indicates that this district, now totaling 189,546 people, has grown larger than those of the other four supervisors. Balancing will take place under rules explained last week by Alan Krauter, an analyst with the county administrative office.

With the Mountain Communities situated at the outer southwest corner of District 4, it is uncertain whether redistricting will result in a new supervisor for this area. Some residents have wondered out loud at public meetings if it might be preferable to be grouped into a district with other mountain communities that have similar concerns.

Krauter said in an email to The Mountain Enterprise: “At the workshops, participants will receive an overview of redistricting requirements and the approval process; they will then be invited to suggest alternatives to the current districts so that rebalancing of populations can occur.”

County Administrative Officer John Nilon recommended to supervisors on January 11 that they approve a work plan for adopting new supervisorial districts by May, 2011, six months ahead of a November 1 deadline for districts to participate in the June, 2012 primary elections.

Kern County ordinance 2.06.010 requires a 4/5 majority vote among supervisors to approve supervisorial district boundaries.

Nilon’s work plan includes a late-April presentation to supervisors of final redistricting options that result from the public workshops. In May, a public hearing will be held by the Board of Supervisors where supervisors will either adopt a redistricting option or direct staff to return with new options.

Watch The Mountain Enterprise for announcements about redistricting workshops during April.

This is part of the April 01, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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