10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, March 9, 2011
By DUANE W. GANG and JIM MILLER
Thousands of Inland residents will soon have a different county supervisor to represent them.
Riverside and San Bernardino county officials must begin redrawing their district boundaries based on census 2010 data released Tuesday.
Riverside County’s population over the past decade soared nearly 42 percent to 2,189,641, meaning each supervisorial district should have 437,928 residents. San Bernardino County has 2,035,210 people, a 19 percent increase since 2000. That means each board district should have 407,042 residents.
Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone’s 3rd District, covering the southwest county, has nearly 80,000 too many people because of the past decade’s explosive growth there, according to estimates from a Press-Enterprise analysis of census data. His district will have to shrink.
Meanwhile, Supervisor John Tavaglione’s 2nd District to the northwest must expand to take in about 30,000 additional constituents.
Tens of thousands of new residents have poured into San Bernardino County’s High Desert since 2000. Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt’s 1st District, which includes the area, is about 47,000 residents over the ideal and will become smaller.
In San Bernardino County’s East Valley, where cities such as Redlands saw much more modest growth, Supervisor Neil Derry is likely to see his 3rd District expand to take in an additional 14,000 residents.
Exactly how the boards of supervisors in both counties redraw district boundaries could be a political tug-of-war. Supervisors likely will have preferences on areas they want to represent, and communities already are lobbying to remain in a single district.
The national census, conducted every 10 years, determines how much states and regions get in federal funding and triggers requirements to reapportion districts so residents are equally represented.
But unlike congressional and state legislative district boundaries in California, which the new Citizens Redistricting Commission will redraw, county supervisors remain in charge of setting the boundaries for the areas they represent. In each county, the districts must be equal in population, or as close to equal as possible.
In an effort to make redistricting less political, California voters in 2008 and 2010 passed propositions creating the new commission and putting it in charge of Assembly, state Senate, Board of Equalization and congressional lines.
It did not cover cities and counties.
Riverside County supervisors established a redistricting committee in September to create a plan to present to the board, which has the final vote. The committee meets Tuesday to discuss the new census data.
If supervisors can’t agree on redistricting by Nov. 1, a commission made up of the district attorney, assessor and county superintendent of schools will redraw lines by Dec. 31, according to state law.
“We really have to move,” said Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, the county’s point person on redistricting.
Larry Ward, Riverside County assessor-county clerk-recorder, heads the committee. He said the group on Tuesday also is expected to discuss where to hold a series of community forums where residents can comment on redistricting.
“The public will have the opportunity, face to face with the committee, to give their input,” Ward said.
“This is something they are going to be living with.”
The redistricting committee has launched a website — www.rivcoredistricting.org — to provide information.
Communities already are lining up to lobby over redistricting.
The city councils in Hemet and San Jacinto recently approved resolutions urging that they remain in a single district.
“We are geographically distinct,” said Eric Gosch, president of the San Jacinto Action Group.
The San Jacinto Valley is in Stone’s district, which also includes the cities of Murrieta, Temecula, Menifee and Canyon Lake.
Ashley’s 5th District, which includes the fast-growing Pass area, is about 7,700 residents over the target.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are Tavaglione’s district and Supervisor John Benoit’s 4th District. Benoit’s district, which includes the Coachella Valley, has an estimated 41,000 too few residents. Both districts will have to take in new area to make up the imbalance.
Tavaglione’s district already includes Corona, Norco, Eastvale, the new city of Jurupa Valley and the northwestern part of the city of Riverside.
The 1st District, represented by board Chairman Bob Buster, also must gain territory to come into balance. The district includes the southwestern and eastern sections of Riverside along with the cities of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar. It is about 15,600 residents short of the target.
San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said Wednesday that the county has not yet started its redistricting process.
But Wert said the county will hold public hearings and provide opportunities for residents to submit their own redistricting proposals.
According to the newspaper’s analysis of census data, San Bernardino County’s 1st District is the most out of balance.
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