County supervisors favor keeping Winters in District 2

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Yolo County supervisors voted unanimously last Tuesday to keep the city of Winters in supervisorial District 2, voicing support for two different redistricting maps that would do exactly that.

A third draft map before the board would have moved Winters out of District 2, which is currently represented by Supervisor Don Saylor of Davis, and into the largely rural District 5, as the majority of those who spoke during public comment on Tuesday sought.

Many of those commenters favored a return to a largely agricultural district by combining Winters with rural communities in the Capay Valley and elsewhere. That was where things stood prior to the 2010 redistricting when Winters was moved into District 2.

But the Board of Supervisors had previously expressed a desire to include both incorporated and unincorporated land in all five supervisorial districts, rather than concentrating ag land in one district.

Concerns that redrawing District 5 lines to include Winters, as draft Map 2 did, would dilute the Latino vote in that district, which in 2020 elected its first Latino supervisor, Angel Barajas of Woodland. Under Map 2, the Latino voting age population in District 5 would have dropped from over 40 percent to 35 percent.

No supervisors favored moving ahead with that map.

The board has now narrowed down the options to maps 4A and 5 and a vote on a final map is expected later this month.

In both 4A and 5, current district lines have been tweaked enough to bring the populations in all five districts to within a 3.2 percent deviation. Based on 2020 census numbers, the deviation currently stands at 13 percent, which exceeds the 10 percent allowed.

The existing deviation stems largely from significant population growth in District 1, which includes the city of West Sacramento. Currently that district has a population of 46,364, while the smallest district, District 5, has a population of 40,504. In between are districts 2, 3 and 4, which range in population from 41,695 in District 4, represented by Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis, to a little over 44,000 in both districts 2 (Saylor) and 3 (Supervisor Gary Sandy of Woodland).

Under draft maps 4A and 5, a larger portion of West Sacramento’s population would be moved into District 3, which already includes part of that city, while a slice of Woodland’s population would move into District 5, represented by Barajas. The city of Davis would continue to be split between districts 2 and 4.

Two supervisorial districts will be on the ballot in June 2022 — Saylor’s and Sandy’s.

But Saylor previously announced he would not seek re-election and several District 2 residents have announced interest in running for that seat, including Davis Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs and Davis resident and attorney Larenda Delaini.

In addition to Frerichs and Delaini, Winters City Councilmember Jesse Loren has also expressed interest in running, something that remains possible with Winters remaining in District 2.

In voicing their support for maps 4A and 5, county supervisors reiterated their interest in including both rural and urban areas in all five districts.

Barajas noted that many farmworkers live in Woodland, send their children to schools in Woodland.

“There’s a lot of connection between Woodland and the rural community,” he said. “A lot of our workers in Woodland work in the fields, come back into town, their children go to the school district on the east side of town and also the north side of town.

“I was born and raised in Woodland,” he added. “I’m a son of farmworkers who harvest the fields in Yolo County in these areas… Those communities intersect. So when I look at these… different criteria, I go back to Map 4A and Map 5.”

Villegas also noted the rural-urban intersection in his district, saying, “I happen to represent a district that has heavy urban with West Sacramento but a significant amount of ag in Clarksburg… I represent both.

“We have some work to do given the public testimony relative to rural versus ag and the importance of ag having a voice, so no matter what happens, because I don’t think we’re going to make everybody happy with where we draw the lines, I suspect that we will have to regroup… to think about how we address what is critically important, the center of all things Yolo, and that is ag.

Saylor said he concurred as well.

“I think that having both rural and fairly suburban/urban areas within each of our districts is a longterm benefit for all of our county,” Saylor said. “To try to isolate is short-sighted.

“I will tell you that representing rural and urban and a small town … over the past 10 years, we’ve been able to do amazing things.”

That includes a health and human services satellite service center, fire protection services, funding for Winters Healthcare, road improvements and more.

“But the point is,” said Sandy, “when you look at each supervisor’s portfolio, they are replete with rural projects, projects that have at their heart serving the rural areas. And I hate to see a false dichotomy get created here with people who think that it’s either/or. It’s not either/or. It needs to be part of the continuing conversation. If there are legitimate complaints that we aren’t adequately serving individual areas, then we can get on that and we can improve things. But let’s hang together. We are one people.”

County staff will return to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 23 with slightly revised versions of maps 4A and 5 at which time the board may make a final decision. Under state law, a final map must be adopted by Dec. 15.

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