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Kern County redistricting map enters final stages

Kern County Board of Supervisors
Posted at 4:10 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 01:15:03-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The new redistricting map for Kern County is entering its final stages of approval. This map reflects how the five districts in Kern County will look for the next ten years.

The ordinance needed to move forward was approved during the board of supervisors meeting this morning in a 1 to 4 vote.

The draft A3 map that was previously voted on in November has now moved forward in the process, ahead of the December 15th deadline. The county has been working on this since February of this year and has been receiving public input since September. The tensions were often high at the meetings with the A3 map and one called the equity coalition map at the center of the debate.

Ultimately, map A3 was moved to the next step today.

Supervisor Leticia Perez once again voted against this map. Unlike other redistricting meetings, no board member or community resident made a comment on Tuesday.

However, Perez did speak out during the November 16 meeting in support of a different map created by community organizations called the equity coalition map.

“I want to tell my community that has spoken loud and clear that I support you, I support your equity map, I support your heart and soul in trying to improve the condition and quality of your leadership,” said Perez.

Looking at the proposed map and the current map, the borders are very similar, with districts three and five just slightly different in the top portion.

The EMC map was also in question throughout the process and was created by several community organizations that came together as the Equity Map Coalition.

That one would have put current districts one and two under one district which meant, one supervisor for essentially all of eastern Kern County.

The map was criticized for grouping minorities, but Lori Pesante with the Dolores Huerta Foundation which organized the coalition said it is just a fact that Latinos now make up the majority of the population in Kern County and must be represented as such.

She is not surprised with Tuesday’s decision and said they will continue their efforts for fair representation.

“We are watching our elected leaders; we are going to hold our elected leaders accountable, and we are going to fight for the laws to take this decision out of their hands altogether. There is an inherent conflict of interest with them deciding which map to adopt. They are choosing the voters; the voters should choose them period,” said Pesante.

The final adoption step will be next Tuesday. Pesante said they will continue to register people to vote and are now focusing on the redistricting process in Bakersfield.

For those interested in getting involved, the City of Bakersfield will hold a virtual workshop Wednesday at six in the evening.