Kern County Supervisor redistricting in process

Kern County Supervisor redistricting in processBy Renee Westa-Lusk

News Review Correspondent

Every ten years the boundaries of the county supervisorial districts must be redrawn to accommodate for any changes in population. The county will be having meetings during the redistricting process and is required to hold at least four public hearings to receive public input on where those district lines should be drawn.

What are residents facing in the Ridgecrest area when the supervisors are redrawing the district lines for the next 10 years? There is a large chance the supervisors will be forced to draw maps combining the two geographies of District 1 (Ridgecrest + the Kern River Valley) and District 2 (Tehachapi + South East and South West Kern) into one giant Supervisorial District represented by only one supervisor and staff. Currently there are two County Supervisors and two staff that now represent all of Eastern Kern County. This geography is the equivalent of almost 2/3rds of the whole Kern County land mass. In addition to this large geography the future one and only East Kern County Supervisor would represent two military bases (China Lake NAWS and Edwards AFB) and the Mojave Air and Spaceport. Currently we have one supervisor representing China Lake NAWS, Phillip Peters and Supervisor Zach Scrivner representing Edwards AFB and Mojave Air and Spaceport.

The board is under tremendous pressures as the demographics and population of the western side of the county has changed since the last redistricting in 2011. In 2019 the “Fair Maps Act” became law in California stating all district lines drawn in California must be of equal population and comply with U.S. Voting Rights Act Section 2.

There is an active coalition on the western side of Kern County proposing the single supervisorial district for Eastern Kern County and is actively pursuing the passage of their redrawing of all the supervisorial districts. This means we will be receiving 50% of the representation we now have compared to what we are receiving now. That means when there is another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) we will have only one supervisor office to defend China Lake NAWS and Edwards AFB and do all the prescribed paper work required by the BRAC Commissioners where we now have two supervisors to handle all the work. Also there will be one supervisor out of five to defend and convince other supervisors to vote in favor of something that both military bases need such as stopping encroachment of their operations by outside entities. Currently we have two supervisors to defend and convince a third supervisor to vote for something in favor of the needs of the military bases.

To get involved so voices from our District 1 are heard, attend a meeting in person or virtually via the internet (phone access given to call into the meeting)

Story First Published: 2021-08-27