Jul 30, 2014

Supervisors Give Final Approval to New Districts

The new supervisorial districts split cities of Walnut Creek, Pinole and Antioch as well as the San Ramon Valley.

Supervisors Give Final Approval to New Districts

No one seemed overjoyed with the plan, but Contra Costa County supervisors gave final approval Tuesday to new supervisorial districts for the next decade.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the maps as well as an ordinance implementing the .

Supervisor Gayle Uilkema voted against the proposal, saying she didn't like the fact the map created four districts where more than 50 percent of the constituents now have a supervisor they didn't vote for.

"I don't believe this map is in the best interests of the county," said Uilkema.

Supervisor Mary Piepho voted for the map, even though she opposed it two weeks ago. She said her affirmative vote was a show of support for her new constituents.

Nonetheless, Piepho said she is still concerned the cities of Antioch, Pinole and Walnut Creek are split under the new districts. She also noted that the Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara regions are in a different district than the rest of the San Ramon Valley.

"I feel the people are not selecting their supervisor. I feel the supervisors are selecting their people," said Piepho.

However, Supervisors Federal Glover and John Gioia said the new districts were a workable compromise that will save the county money in district office expenses.

Gioia noted the districts now have a regional flavor with one representing the western part of the county, another taking in most of the county's waterfront and another overseeing the southern part of the county.

The supervisors are required to draw up new districts every 10 years after each census. The growth in the San Ramon Valley and eastern Contra Costa County in the past decade forced some changes.

Under the approved map, most of the San Ramon Valley now will be represented by Uilkema, who also oversees the Lamorinda area.

Piepho's district now includes most of Antioch as well as Oakley, Bethel Island, Morgan Territory Road, Knightsen and Discovery Bay. She retains the communities of Diablo, Blackhawk and Camino Tassajara.

Under the new plan, Walnut Creek is split by a north-south line running through the downtown area.

Parts of the town that are west of the line, such as Saranap, fall in Uilkema's district. Neighborhoods east of the line will be represented by Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, whose district also includes Concord, Pleasant Hill and Clayton.

Many city leaders have expressed disappointment in the new maps.

Pinole Mayor Roy Swearingen said Tuesday the plan to split his city came as a surprise. He said his constituents are now asking him why they have two supervisors instead of one.

"Pinole is a very small city and while we appreciate having two supervisors to represent us, it does not seem we need two supervisors," said Swearingen.

The new maps and ordinance take effect in 30 days.

Three of the supervisors are up for re-election next year.

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