William R. Snaer
Created: 08/13/2011 07:07:11 AM PDT

Political philosophers call it the Principle of Subsidiarity, the idea that tasks of governing should be managed by the lowest level of government possible. This approach is best because the decision-makers are closest to the people and are most responsive to their concerns. City and county governments listen to voters more closely than the federal government.

This is so basically tied to our human nature that we know it just like we know that water runs downhill. Last week, I saw political water run uphill at the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. The civic engineers who accomplished this miracle are attractive, but it wasn’t pretty.

The afternoon session Tuesday was devoted to discussion of the draft maps for the new supervisorial district outlines necessitated by the 2010 census.

There were about 40 citizens who requested to speak. Several were concerned about Barstow’s district placement, and a couple speakers expressed concerns about the availability of statistics bearing on Latino representation.

The rest of the 40 speakers talked about one thing: placing all the mountain communities, from Crestline to Forest Falls, in a single supervisorial district. Of the approximately 35 speakers, two or three favored multiple mountain districts, the rest spoke earnestly about the practicality of having one supervisor. The speakers were community leaders from a broad range of political and activist interests.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly pointed out that the same issue of mountain representation had arisen before the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, and the commission altered its map to provide for consolidated representation of the mountain area.

A mountain newspaper editor reported that her newspaper’s poll recorded 80 percent of respondents in favor of a single district.

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