Map of the Santa Barbara County supervisorial districts.
Candidates for Santa Barbara County’s Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission will be ranked and interviewed by the current five members next month. The will take on the task of redrawing the supervisorial districts, above.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley randomly drew the first five members of Santa Barbara County’s new Independent Redistricting Commission at a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

After receiving nearly 200 applications, county elections chief Joe Holland reviewed the applications to select the 45 most qualified individuals, nine from each district, to be included in the drawing pool.

Dudley placed balls, numbered one through nine to correspond with each district’s applicants, into a bingo spinner and spun until one fell out. She repeated this process for each of the five districts.

The first five members of the commission Laura Katz representing District One, William McClintock representing District Two, Norman Bradley representing District Three, Cary Gray representing District Four, and Glenn Morris representing District Five.

These five commissioners will meet over the upcoming months to select the remaining six members of the commission, one from each district and one at-large member. The six applicants must be approved by the current commissioners by a vote of at least four. 

The commission is to be completed by Dec. 31.

The 11-member panel is required to submit new district boundary maps by Aug. 15, 2021, but that date may be delayed to Dec. 15, 2021, pending the completion of census data, said Nancy Anderson, assistant county executive officer.

Supervisorial districts are redrawn every 10 years based on census data. With the passage of Measure G in 2018, a commission of independent citizens is now responsible for that task instead of the Board of Supervisors.

“This selection process is designed to produce a commission that is independent from the influence of the board, political parties, campaign contributors, or other special financial interests, and is reasonably representative of the county’s diversity,” said county spokeswoman Gina DePinto.

However, some members of the board voiced concern that this applicant pool was not as representative of the county’s diversity as it was intended to be.

Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann said that Holland had created a “skewed pool” that is “old, white, and male.”

“It’s really hard to figure out how we’re going to get a representative pool of the demographics from this,” she said.

Board Chairman Gregg Hart said that there was an overrepresentation of white applicants and an underrepresentation of Latino applicants. There were also age disparities and political party preference was “dramatically under weighted,” he added. 

“My concern is that this pool does not reflect the racial, ethnic, geographic, gender, age, or political party diversity of the county,” he said. “This will make it extremely difficult for the people who are selected to create a diverse commission.”

The supervisors asked to see the criteria that Holland used when selecting the applicants, but when he said he did not want to disclose that information, it brought up concerns about the lack of transparency in the selection process. 

Holland said that the criteria to select the initial applicants did not have specificity regarding the demographic composition of the county.

He said that after the first five members are selected, it will be their responsibility to take ethnicity, gender, race, and political party affiliation into consideration when choosing the remaining commissioners.

Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at jmartinez-pogue@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at jmartinez-pogue@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.