October 19, 2021-Jean-Rene Basle, San Bernardino County Redistricting Commission- Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Hybrid Meeting: In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Megan Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Ken Coate, Michelle Decker, Louis Goodwin, Lena Kent, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Brian Nestande, Bansree Parikh, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Sol Teh, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, Ray Wolfe, Marisa Yeager and Frank Zabaleta.

Announcements:  1) The “upcoming events” book was distributed to in-person attendees.  Events by date:

2) The “Build Back Better” grant application from IECF was successfully submitted last week.  Michelle Decker expressed appreciation for support having receive some 87 letters for submission.  3) The State of California has signed an agreement with Brightline rail to allow them to construct, operate and maintain within the I-15 Corridor from Rancho Cucamonga to Apple Valley.  Design plans are expected to be submitted to SBCTA by November 1st.  The previous signed lease allows Brightline rail to run from Apple Valley to Las Vegas. This important project continues to move forward.  4) Appreciation was expressed to Chris Carrillo who will now serve as Chair of the Judicial Committee.

Lowell King, Chair, presiding.

Motion by J. Mirau/ Second by R. Wolfe/Passed: Minutes from October 12, 2021.

John Mirau introduced Jean-Rene Basle who joined us virtually was appointed to serve on the San Bernardino County Redistricting Commission by Curt Hagman, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Previously, Basle served as the San Bernardino County Counsel for over 15 years, including the period of 2011 County redistricting activities.

Every ten years San Bernardino County uses new census data to redraw its supervisorial district lines to reflect how local populations have changed.  State law requires the County to engage communities in the redistricting process by holding public meetings and doing public outreach, including to non-English-speaking communities.  The districts must be redrawn so that each supervisorial district is substantially equal in population. This redistricting process is important in ensuring that each board member represents about the same number of constituents.  Redistricting is both a statutory and constitutional requirement.

The responsibility falls on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors who have adopted an ordinance establishing an Advisory Redistricting Commission that is required to recommend to the Board of Supervisors a minimum of two possible supervisorial district maps.  Redistricting will be based on the 2020 U.S. Census.  Although the commissioners were appointed in May the census data was delayed and not submitted to the state until the end of September.  The Advisory Commission must submit their proposed maps by Nov. 9th and the Board of Supervisors must finalize the map to complete the process by December 15, 2021.  The Board of Supervisors will have meetings that are open to the public on Nov. 9, 16, and Dec 7, 2021, to finalize the maps.

The Advisory Commission is made up of 7 Commissioners, one from each of the existing five districts and two retired judges.  Additionally, there are five alternate Commissioners (one from every district) who are allowed to participate and give comments at all meetings.

Since their appointment in May, they have had numerous presentations from experts and consultants, but it was difficult to begin the process without the needed numbers from census data.  The Commission is trying to make up for lost time and to date they have held 13 meetings across our geographically large county.  They will hold 3 more public meetings, but the group was reminded that all input is encouraged and welcome at any time.  Due to safety concerns all public meetings have been held virtually.    They have assistance from a consultant who is able to move map lines in real time to show the potential end results of changes to population and majority/minority numbers.

The required mechanics include federal and state criteria.   Unlike ten years ago, California has new requirements.  The Fair and Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions (FAIR MAPS) Act was adopted in 2020 by California.  After the federal criteria, it drives a lot of the specific requirements and the order  requirements.  Additionally, there is a structural element that requires cities and counties to engage the communities in the redistricting process by holding public hearings/and or workshops and do public outreach, including to non-English speaking communities. The FAIR MAPS Act specifies mandatory, ranked criteria:

  1. Geographically contiguous districts (each supervisorial district should share a common border with the next).
  2. The geographic integrity of local neighborhoods or communities of interest shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division.
  3. Geographic integrity of a city shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division.
  4. Easily identifiable boundaries that follow natural or artificial barriers (rivers, streets, highways, rail lines, etc.).
  5. Lines shall be drawn to encourage geographic compactness. In addition, boundaries shall not be drawn for purposes of favoring or discriminating against a political party.

The first consideration in redistricting is population equality so that every person has an equal voice in representation and equal voting power.  San Bernardino County’s population of 2,181,654 cannot be equally divided by the number of districts but the Commission is allowed a maximum deviation of up to a 10%.  Other criteria include the Federal Voting Rights Act which prohibits electoral systems which dilute racial and language minority voting rights by denying them an equal opportunity to nominate and elect candidates of their choice.  State law dictates that Communities of Interest (COI’s) must be respected.  To qualify, COI’s must have common social or economic interest, can be geographically described and benefit from being a single district for purposes of effective and fair representation.  Excluded are relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.

The County has a user-friendly web site that has a great deal of information including the Agendas/Minutes from their meetings and are using software from Maptitude that allows the public to create their own maps with many options.  Visit https://sbcountyredistricting.com/#attend-public-meeting

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:32 a.m.