By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County’s political boundaries will shift slightly this year under a plan approved by the Board of Supervisors that alters supervisorial district lines.
Under the redistricting proposal accepted on Tuesday, the key changes will be to Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove area and the 1st, 3rd and 5th districts.
The 1st and 5th gain people at the expense of the 3rd District, represented by Shirlee Zane, which loses 6,022 people.
Overall, the changes will leave the districts essentially equal in population size, correcting an imbalance that developed since 2001 and has left the 3rd District by far the largest.
Much of the shrinking of Zane’s district — which now has 102,821 residents — occurs in Fountaingrove, which is to be split among three districts.
That division, said Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Janice Atkinson, a member of the commission that came up with three redistricting options, is a “drawback” to the plan. But on Tuesday it did not appear to trouble the board of supervisors.
The plan “ensures fair and consistent representation for all areas of the county,” said 5th District Supervisor Efren Carrillo. He will pick up 2,167 new residents, mostly in west Santa Rosa, while 1st District Supervisor Valerie Brown will get 3,022 new constituents.
Supervisors must redraw the boundaries every 10 years after the U.S. Census to achieve population balance among the districts in light of changes in demographics.
The percentage of Latinos in each district was a key consideration for the commission, Atkinson said.
“Having representation of various ethnicities on your policymaking board is one of the things you want to take into account,” she said.
“The Latino population is growing and of the various ethnicities in the county it is the most significant, next to the Anglo-Caucasian population,” she said.
The new district lines will retain the existing ratios of Latino populations, ranging from 18 percent in the 1st District to 30 percent in the 5th District.