It should have been an easy vote. But it wasn’t.
One week after achieving a compromise on how to redistribute San Luis Obispo County supervisorial districts, county supervisors are back to a split vote.
On Sept. 13, supervisors Jim Patterson, Bruce Gibson, and Adam Hill took a vote to move forward a plan that would redistribute the county’s five districts to coincide with a decade’s worth of population growth.
In a surprise turnaround, supervisors Frank Mecham and Paul Teixeira voted against the proposal.
It was a surprise because on Sept. 6, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a redistricting option after several previous split votes.
At the heart of the issue is the community of Templeton, which would be split between Mecham’s and Patterson’s districts under the majority-approved redistricting plan. Despite the compromise reached the week before—which would still split the community, but into two rather than three districts—Mecham said he’d heard from constituents in Templeton that they didn’t like the compromise plan.
“If we are not listening to them now, what comfort do they have that they’ll be listened to later?” Mecham said.
Several Templeton residents spoke publicly against the plan because it wouldn’t keep their community “whole” and they weren’t given enough time to review the last-minute deal.
Patterson, Gibson, and Hill said they were “disappointed” with Mecham’s change of heart.
The item is scheduled to come back for a final vote on Sept. 20. County supervisors must legally approve a redistricting plan by November. However, residents have hinted they might challenge the final plan in court if it splits Templeton.