James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/24/2011 04:19:23 PM PDT

San Bernardino County supervisors on Tuesday said they want plenty of input from residents as they prepare to draw new boundaries for the county’s five supervisorial districts.

At a meeting Tuesday, the supervisors laid the groundwork for a redistricting process, one they say will offer multiple opportunities for county residents to make their voices heard.

“This board has been very clear that they want an open, transparent process with involvement from the public,” said Greg Devereaux, the county’s chief executive officer. “We want it to be an open dialogue.”

The next opportunity for that dialogue will be a redistricting workshop, one that will bring together county leaders, a redistricting consultant and county residents, said county spokesman David Wert.

The workshop, which has not been scheduled but will be held some time in June, will give residents a chance to weigh in on how they think district lines should be drawn.

The county has also launched a website, www.sbcounty.gov/redistrict, where county residents can weigh in.

The board offered county residents a few chances to speak at Tuesday’s meeting, but only three spoke. Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Josie Gonzales said she was disappointed by the meeting’s small turnout.

“It is a shame these chambers are not filled,” she said.

She urged residents to get involved in the process, noting that redistricting takes place only once each decade. Redistricting always follows the U.S. Census, which is conducted every 10 years.

“It will be 10 years before we once again have this opportunity,” Gonzales said.

After the June workshop, Wert said there will be two more public hearings.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the supervisors approved a set of criteria aimed at guiding the redistricting process. Those criteria include making sure the new districts have equal or nearly equal populations and that the new boundaries comply with federal voting-rights laws.

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