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County supervisors reach redistricting deal

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Despite butting heads for several weeks, San Luis Obispo County supervisors have reached an agreement on how to split Templeton.

County supervisors were tasked with choosing a plan to redraw their district lines to conform with a larger population since the last Census in 2000.

But the decision to get there resulted in two split votes, putting supervisors Jim Patterson, Bruce Gibson, and Adam Hill in opposition to supervisors Frank Mecham and Paul Teixeira. Though the decision is supposed to be nonpolitical and only based on population numbers by law, the board majority was accused of pursuing political gains because they originally favored a plan that would split the community of Templeton among three districts rather than keeping it in one. That plan would have brought Gibson’s coastal district into the rural inland Templeton area.

On Sept. 6, however, the supervisors voted unanimously to pursue another option that would only split the town into two districts—Mecham’s and Patterson’s. Though residents consistently said they didn’t want the community split at all, they preferred a plan that would spread Templeton across two districts but not three.

Resident Marie Roth said the original board-majority plan to redistrict was wrong: “It’s flawed, and it’s incorrect, and some will argue that it’s actually illegal.”

Patterson, Gibson, and Hill argued that the first plan they preferred would have trisected Templeton, but other plans would have gone against the wishes of people in Paso Robles or split the community of Shandon.

“I find that a little bit disconcerting and a little self-serving,” Patterson said to a roomful of Templeton residents who moaned and cried out in protest.

Some residents threatened to campaign against Patterson in his upcoming bid for re-election for attempting to split the community into three districts.

But in the end, the supervisors went with another option, referred to as Option B2, which will split Templeton between Patterson’s and Mecham’s districts, and give Mecham’s district a greater population than other supervisors. But, as Gibson put it, he was “relaxed” with the option.

Hill said it was a “fair and thoughtful compromise.”

The vote passed unanimously, which moves the item to Sept. 13 for another introduction of the redistricting ordinance, now scheduled for a final public hearing on Sept. 20.

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