Last night's redistricting meeting in Mission Viejo was a bore for the audience and a chore for the committee.
Redistricting Committee Chairman Don Hughes called the meeting to order, said a few things and then leaned away from the microphone to ask Assistant CEO Rob Richardson a question: “Is this our fourth meeting?” A few minutes later, after jumbling the meeting's order bit, he admitted that he'd misplaced the meeting's agenda after slamming on the brakes to avoid a crash and creating a flurry of papers in his car.
Needless to say, it's been a long process–and it's far from over.
Toward the end of the meeting, Rick Francis, vice chairman of the committee, motioned to table one of the redistricting proposals–proposal three.
Francis had a slew of complaints about the plan. One complaint: it places Newport Beach in four separate districts. “That's a little much,” Francis says. And, he adds, it splits up 13 cities.
But the others on the dais say they weren't quite ready to table the proposal, especially since nobody from Santa Ana LULAC–the proposal's author–was at the meeting.
“I'd rather he be here to be able to defend the plan,” says Denis Bilodeau, committee member from the fourth district, about the absence of Zeke Hernandez, who presides over the League of United Latin American Citizens chapter.
Francis later says he just wants to get the ball rolling.
“I'm ready to strike about 20 more. I'm ready to get this done. I'd like to bleed these out slowly,” Francis says.
The redistricting committee did vote unanimously to table one proposal last night–proposal 20–but that's because they introduced a modified version of it, 20A. Proposal 20A splits both Anaheim and Irvine into separate districts. Maps and stats of the modified proposal unveiled last night are available on the county's website.
The meeting ended like the dreaded ending of a school day: with a homework assignment.
Hughes told committee members he wanted them to do their research and pick out a few of their favorite maps by their next meeting on June 30. (The meeting starts at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Administration in Santa Ana.)
“Get prepared to really get into this and put our nails into [it],” Hughes says.
While the nail-digging might start Thursday, the tentative date for adoption of the ordinance isn't until Sept. 13, according to county spokesman Howard Sutter.