County seeking feedback on which district Winters should belong in

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Yolo County residents can create their own district lines using an interactive tool. Courtesy graphic

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Discussion of whether Winters should remain in District 2 or be moved back to the more rural, District 5 was in the main spotlight among Winters and Capay Valley community members on Monday evening.

At-Large Members of the Yolo County Advisory Redistricting Commission (ARC) lead a Redistricting Community Meeting on Monday, Sept. 27 in the Winters Public Facility Training Room as part of efforts to collect feedback and from the surrounding communities on where they believe district lines should be drawn.

In correlation with the nation-wide census that takes place every year, the county is tasked with looking at population changes and creating new district lines to reflect the changes.

Mia Durham, a County ARC Member-at-large, said based on the 2020 Census results (as currently reported) District 5 has a negative 13 percent deviation from the ideal population size of 43,281.

The task of redistricting is to equalize populations among the districts and make sure they meet the two requirements of:

  1. Equal representation: how effective any resident can be at advocating for themselves or being represented within a jurisdiction.
  2. One person, one vote: the equal ability to elect a candidate of choice to represent the communities in their district.

Durham said the redistricting principles that needed to be kept in mind are:

  • Population of people is relatively equal in size with a 10 percent deviation.
  • Districts are contiguous, they don’t hop or jump over each other.
  • They maintain a “community interest” of shared commonalities.
  • District lines follow city and census designated place boundaries.
  • Districts are kept compact in appearance and functionality.

The Board of Supervisors has also set out guidelines that the ARC team is expected to draft three different maps for the board to consider, each with the following criteria:

  • No more than two districts intersecting a city.
  • No more than two cities within each district.
  • Each district includes incorporated and unincorporated areas.
  • District boundaries must not be drawn to disadvantage or isolate a minority population.

Community discussion
Discussion of which district Winters belonged with was a big focus for community comment. Many of the residents of both Winters and Capay Valley shared an opinion that Winters was not correctly being represented as a rural area, and that it belonged in District 5

Chris Turkovich, owner of Turkovich Family Wines and President of the Winters Downtown Business Association, said he believes the districts are currently out of balance.

Wyatt Cline, who resides between Madison and Woodland, said the rural areas have lost authentic representation since the supervisors representing Winters and the Capay Valley are from urban areas.

Cline also noted that Winters and unincorporated communities in Capay Valley are communities of interest and are linked by agro-tourism, organic farming, a rich history of orchard farming and the creeks that flow through the areas.

Winters resident Jack Young said Winters and Davis were not economically similar, nor did they have the same environmental concerns noting the wildfires that have blazed through the Greater Winters Area.

Winters City Councilmember Jesse Loren said that in addition to fire concerns, water and our school districts were also very different from counterparts in west Davis, and that Winters has strong reasons to be in a more rural area.

“I think if we were in a more rural district, that supervisor could represent us,” Loren said.

Another point brought up was whether it was best to have one strong rural representative versus two or three districts that included rural areas to work together.

Glenn Ripley, a Winters resident and Chair of the Winters Senior Commission on Aging, said a nagging thought that kept coming back to him was whether it was enough to have one strong rural voice on the board of supervisors or to split it between multiple supervisors.

Turkovich said it was possible but there’s also a risk of the rural voice being lost and pointed to the current Board of Supervisors as an example.

“You have urban voices, there is no Ag voice on the Board of Supervisors anymore,” said Turkovich.

Sarah Simmons, a Winters resident and Yolo County staff member, said there was strength in multiple supervisors with rural interest in their districts because it could come down to three votes.

Simmons and City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa both expressed that cities get their own funding and the county often will reach out to cities to combine the American Rescue Plan funding to better serve the residents in that area.

“The desire of the county to partner with the cities for arp is for the provision of services within the cities,” Trepa said.

“It’s fair to point out that the cities are jurisdictions themselves. School district and cities each get their own ARP money. We have to keep that in mind as we understand who the board of supervisors are representing,” Simmons said.

Next steps
Durham said the best action for community members to take is to submit their comments to the ARC for consideration.

She said it was important for community members to stay engaged in the process and make sure to attend public hearings and voice their concerns at public comment at upcoming ARC meetings and Board of Supervisors meetings.

The Advisory Redistricting Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of the month from 5–7 p.m. via Zoom. Public hearings are scheduled and public comments can be emailed, called or written in for upcoming meetings on: Oct. 4, Oct. 18 and Nov. 1.

Community members can also draw their own map of where they believe district lines should be drawn. An interactive tool is available at https://districtr.org/plan.

Durham said these user-submitted maps can be considered public comment at ARC discussions.

For more details on the redistricting process, to see the County ARC meeting schedule or to submit comments, visit bit.ly/3F32fLA.

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