Mayor Alice Patino and Councilmen Carlos Escobedo and Mike Cordero
Mayor Alice Patino and Councilmen Carlos Escobedo and Mike Cordero discuss redistricting maps on Tuesday night while meeting at the Maramonte Community Center. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A divided Santa Maria City Council opted to adopt a map making minimal changes to election district borders.

In voting for the Minimal Change Map B option Tuesday night, the council rejected all of the quadrant plans that had cleaner borders but would have moved one-fourth of the city into new districts.

The meeting at the Maramonte Community Center marked the fourth and final hearing for the city’s redistricting effort as required following the 2020 U.S. Census

“Looking at the maps, I think the minimal amount of change is best,” Mayor Alice Patino said. 

Options they considered included maps making minor tweaks to existing districts to adjust for uneven populations or alternatives carving the city into quadrants using Main Street and Broadway.

“I would like to support a minimal change. (I’m) not interested in the quadrant map because I think in three years it’s going to be obsolete,” she added.

The mayor added that the Third District, or the southwestern area of the city, is slated for significant growth in the coming years.

When the council created the first map, it pushed to include the downtown area in all four districts to drive home the importance of efforts to revitalize the area.

Election district map

The Santa Maria City Council voted to approval election district maps with minimal changes from the current maps, with the council majority rejecting the quadrant maps featuring clearer borders. (Courtesy map)

Council members said future redistricting maps following the 2030 Census may not be able to include the downtown area because of growth on the southern area of the city.

“The quadrant map will be obsolete, and that is a concern I have,” Patino said.

After being forced to move from the at-large voting system to district-based elections, Santa Maria’s council members agreed they would still represent people across the city, not in the four districts.

While voters in four district election council members, the mayor continues to be chosen by voters from across the city.

Santa Maria has held four hearings for the redistricting process with two last year and two since creation of draft maps with six proposals ultimately under consideration, most crafted by consultant National Demographics Corp. and two submitted by members of the public.

The mayor plus Councilwoman Etta Waterfield and Councilman Carlos Escobedo approved the minimal change map. 

Escobedo noted that the quadrant map would move 24.8% of the city’s population into different districts. 

“That’s not a small change,” Escobedo said, adding that the minimal change map would make redistricting “easier, smoother.” 

He also objected to dividing West Main Street as the quadrants map would do.

However, Councilman Mike Cordero and Councilwoman Gloria Soto supported one of the quadrant maps.

“The overwhelming support that we’ve heard via public comment has been for one of the quadrant maps, and it would be really disappointing for us to not listen to the needs and wants of constituents,” Soto said. 

She said the quadrant map avoids jagged borders among districts, making lines “much smoother and clearer.”

Soto made a motion for the quadrant map, but it ultimately failed in a 2-3 vote with her and Cordero as the only pair in favor. 

Final approval of the new district is scheduled to occur at the council’s April 5 meeting. The new map will go into effect for the November council election.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at