On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will consider the maps that have been proposed for the Supervisor districts. Numerous proposals have been studied and rejected by the County Redistricting Committee. The results, leave the districts pretty much the way they are today. While it could be logically argued that a district should be drawn that better reflects the Latino community of interest currently represented in the First District (such as Proposal 1), the committee did not make that change.
At the very last minute of this process, First District Supervisor Janet Nguyen argued that the recommended maps did not include all of the Vietnamese “Community of Interest,” and that a portion of the City of Fountain Valley needed to be added to the First District. She argued that the proposed maps did not provide the Vietnamese community with sufficient opportunity for representation on the Board of Supervisors. That argument could not be further from the truth. A truth represented dramatically by the fact that Nguyen has been twice elected to represent a heavily Latino population district.
The fact is that the Vietnames community, as a percentage of the overall County population, does not have the numbers to require a district that disproportionately inflates the electoral power of its community. The elections code states:
“Following each decennial federal census, and using that census as a basis, the board shall adjust the boundaries of any or all of the supervisorial districts of the county so that the districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be and shall comply with the applicable provisions of Section 1973 of Title 42 of the United States Code, as amended. In establishing the boundaries of the districts the board may give consideration to the following factors: (a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of interests of the districts.”
For the Board to carve out more of the Vietnamese community into a district combined with the heavily Latino core of the County further than it already has, will only serve to diminish the electoral capability of the Latino community to have effective representation on the Board. If indeed the goal is to focus on communities of interest, then Proposal #1 of the original submissions accomplishes that task. The addition of a portion of Fountain Valley to the final recommended map from the Redistricting Committee is an overreach of epic proportions. It opens up the maps to significant and justified legal challenge.
The Board of Supervisors, given the maps they have been presented, should approve the recommended map submitted by their Redistricting Committee.