Public Policy Committee Update on Redistricting
Redistricting was the focus of discussion at the Chamber’s November 18th Public Policy Committee meeting. Redistricting occurs every decade following the new census numbers and has previously been determined by local governments. However, this year is the first time that independent commissions will be determining new district lines based on public comment and participation, rather than elected officials.
Daniel Philips with the National Demographics Corporation, who has been consulting with local redistricting commissions, presented to the committee on the current progress of the state, county, and local city redistricting. While changes to our State Senate and Congressional districts do not have significant effects on the Santa Barbara south coast area, our State Assembly district could change to include all of Santa Barbara County. Currently, Santa Maria, Orcutt, and Lompoc are in a separate Assembly district.
The focus of the committee’s discussions centered on County redistricting, specifically the proposed changes to the 3rd district. Currently Isla Vista is included in a predominantly North County district, but proposed changes could result in Isla Vista’s inclusion in the 2nd district. The committee supports maps that include Isla Vista in the 2nd district, keeping our local college communities together. Several proposed maps split Goleta along the 101 to keep coastal communities together, another concept the committee supported. The committee also recognized that Goleta has already been split between two districts for many years, of which there are advantages for both communities.