Santa Barbara County’s current map of supervisorial districts, top left, and draft maps submitted to the redistricting commission.
Santa Barbara County’s current map of supervisorial districts, top left, and a few of the 60-plus draft maps submitted to the redistricting commission. (Santa Barbara County Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission photos)

Santa Barbara County’s redistricting commission will start reviewing draft maps submitted by the public at Friday’s meeting, and the big question is: What will the commission do with the Third District?

The Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission will adopt a map in early December to split the county population into five districts that elect the five members on the Board of Supervisors.

Santa Barbara County’s South Coast communities have a population too large to fit fully into two supervisorial districts and too small to completely fill three districts, and it’s the same situation for North County and Mid-County communities. 

So the question becomes, which South Coast communities are split off from the rest, and to join which North County and/or Mid-County communities? 

The current map groups together Isla Vista and southwestern Goleta with the Santa Ynez Valley, part of the Lompoc Valley and Guadalupe.

As the deadline to submit draft maps for the county’s supervisorial redistricting quickly approaches on Friday, the Santa Barbara County Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission met on Nov. 3 to preview maps that have already been submitted by the public.

Every 10 years, local governments redraw district boundaries using U.S. Census Bureau data.

The commission, made up of 11 county residents, is tasked with designating those supervisorial district boundaries for the county. It is the first time an independent commission is drawing the maps, rather than county supervisors themselves.

Once the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission adopts a map on Dec. 8, its selection will be sent as a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. 

Since July, local members of the public have been able to submit their own draft maps to the commission’s website. Maps submitted before mid-October did not include the latest Census data and have to be submitted again, according to the county. 
The current map of Santa Barbara County supervisorial districts.

The current map of Santa Barbara County supervisorial districts. (Santa Barbara County photo)

Between plans submitted by county residents and five plans submitted by the county’s redistricting consultant firm, National Demographics Corp., 62 maps had been submitted as of Nov. 3.

Draft maps are being accepted until noon Friday, and the commissioners will meet again at 3 p.m. Friday to start reviewing the submitted maps. 

During the commission’s meeting last week, Daniel Phillips, a consultant for the National Demographics Corp., presented maps that have already been submitted and discussed several trends found in the draft maps.

While many public commenters did not want the maps from National Demographics to be considered at all, Phillips told the commissioners that National Demographics’ maps should be seen as suggestions or examples.

Currently, District 1 and District 2 are based on the South County, District 3 is a north-south district stretching from Guadalupe to Isla Vista, and District 4 and District 5 are in the North County and Mid-County. 

Because neither the North County or South County regions have enough people to fully populate three whole supervisor districts, District 3 is made up of part of South County and part of North or Central County.

Phillips showed that common trends in the already-submitted maps identified six options for South County areas to include in District 3.

Those options included Isla Vista, UCSB and southwestern Goleta; Isla Vista, UCSB and western Goleta; the whole city of Goleta; western Goleta and the portion of the Eastern Goleta Valley that is north of Highway 101; the portions of Goleta and the Eastern Goleta Valley that are north of Highway 101; and Carpinteria, Montecito and areas north of Highway 192.

Contenders for North County areas to be put into District 3 included the Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Guadalupe, Orcutt or portions of Santa Maria. 

Residents also submitted their recommendations for communities of interest, which are communities or groups of people that share common concerns or interests.

The communities of interest that were identified include the Mesa neighborhood in Santa Barbara, Isla Vista and UCSB, Lompoc and Vandenberg, Santa Maria and Guadalupe, the Westside Santa Barbara neighborhood, and the Eastside Santa Barbara neighborhood.

During the meeting, several public commenters expressed their concerns or preferred maps, including a large number of people who shared their support for the United Communities Map, which can be viewed online by clicking here.

“By uniting communities that have historically been divided to dilute power, the United Communities Map addresses the core goal of this independent process,” said Rebeca Garcia with the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy. “Our map creates three districts that will strengthen the voice of working-class immigrant communities, renters, young people, and people of color to reflect the economic and racial diversity of our county.”

At least 17 of the 36 public commenters expressed direct support for the United Communities Map.

The United Communities map that several public speakers supported at the Nov. 3 redistricting commission meeting.

The United Communities map that several public speakers supported at the Nov. 3 redistricting commission meeting. (Santa Barbara County photo)

Others also emphasized the importance of putting Santa Maria and Guadalupe in a district together, as well as keeping Isla Vista and UCSB together in a district.

Click here for the redistricting commission’s meeting schedule and submitted draft maps.

Goleta City Council Discusses County Redistricting, ‘Confusing’ Santa Maria Letter in Special Meeting 

The Goleta City Council also held a special meeting last Friday to discuss the county’s redistricting after Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte’s name was included, without her knowing about it, in a letter from the City of Santa Maria in support of a map the Santa Maria City Council had drawn. 

“It came to my attention that my name was attached to a letter supporting Santa Maria’s map,” Perotte said. “Knowing that we hadn’t even discussed the maps yet … I was quite surprised.”

According to City Manager Michelle Greene, Santa Maria had prepared a draft letter anticipating support from each mayor in the county for its preferred map, and that letter was attached to the commission’s agenda packet.

Assistant City Manager Kristy Schmidt called into the commission’s Nov. 3 meeting to make it clear that the letter was confusing as it implies Perotte had taken a position on something the City Council had not discussed. 

“Mayor Perotte has definitely not taken such a position, and any implication that she supports those positions is a misunderstanding and should be disregarded,” she told commissioners. 

Santa Maria’s map, which can be viewed in the meeting’s agenda and below, wanted entire cities to be considered communities of interest in the redistricting process and requested that Goleta advocate for its map. It also separates out the city of Santa Barbara to be its own district, completely surrounded by another district. 

“When we’re considering what we want, it has to be what’s in Goleta’s interest and not in Santa Maria’s interest,” Councilman Stuart Kasdin said.

The map Santa Maria supports and wants other cities to get behind.

The map Santa Maria supports and wants other cities to get behind.  (City of Goleta photo)

Despite Santa Maria expressing the desire to keep cities together in one district, its map split Goleta up between District 2 and District 3, similar to how it is now.

“(In Santa Maria’s map), it’s almost like the Second District would be a pimple,” Mayor Pro Tempore James Kyriaco said. “It’s just this little island in the middle of another district.”

Ultimately, the Goleta City Council decided not to comment on or endorse any specific map for redistricting, since public maps are still being accepted. 

“We do encourage our community to stay engaged,” Perotte said. 

This week, Goleta sent out an email asking local residents to submit their own maps and comment during the county’s process.

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.