Express Yourself: Modern Winters is not Winters of 20 years ago

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Anderson Bouwens
Special to the Express

Charley Wallace recently wrote an Express (column) saying, “It is time to put Winters back into the 5th district and give the rural residents a chance at having one voice on the Board of Supervisors.” This might have worked 20 years ago but the Winters of today, and the expanding Winters of tomorrow, shares more in common with Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento than rural Western and Northern Yolo County.

In fact, adding modern Winters to District 5 would temporarily disenfranchise the new voters of Winters without providing rural voters a long term solution for equal representation. Just take a look at the most recent election results from the September 2021 recall election in which Winters, Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento all voted to keep Newsom in office while every purely rural precinct of Yolo County voted to remove Newsom from office.

If District 5 had Northern Woodland removed from it so that Winters could be added back to it then District 5 would consist mainly of Yolo County Voter Precinct 18 of rural Western and Northern Yolo County and Precinct 7 of Winters. In the recall election if these two precincts voted together we would have voted 3,242 to keep in office versus 3,610 to remove from office, but remember the majority of modern Winters’ voters voted to keep Newsom in office.

To be fair, our new District 5 would also most likely include the rural western half of Yolo County Voter Precinct 2, that is currently in District 2, and which voted 813 to keep in office versus 260 to remove. Unfortunately, voter precinct results are not published in a way that can reveal as to which of those 1,073 votes came from the Western rural half of Voter Precinct 2, that would now be in District 5, versus the votes that came from the Eastern half of Voter Precinct 2, which includes the Western outskirts of Davis and UCD, and would most likely still be in District 2.

I think we can assume though that the rural Western half of Precinct 2 would have voted more similarly to other rural voters than to voters in Winters and Davis. Modern Winters voters being outnumbered by rural voters might not matter in a state wide election, but when it comes to voting for District Supervisors it means that the citizens of modern Winters would temporarily not be properly represented in District 5. Putting Winters back into District 5 would mean that the new majority of Winters voters would have their vote overruled by the voters in rural Yolo County.

Additionally, as Winters continues to grow, modern Winters voters will eventually outnumber the rural voters of District 5 and the goal of getting a rural voice on the Board of Supervisors will be hurt, not helped, by adding Winters to District 5. Winters is changing and numbers don’t lie. Adding modern Winters back to District 5 will disenfranchise the new majority of voters in Winters in the current time while not solving the problem of getting a rural voice on the Board of Supervisors in the long term.

The voters of rural Yolo county deserve equal representation that lasts and the voters of modern Winters deserve not to be temporarily disenfranchised by the rural voters that currently outnumber us.

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