Supervisors cancel, redirect to new district cards at special meeting – Oroville Mercury-Register

OROVILLE – The Butte County Supervisory Board held a special meeting on Monday in light of concerns about possible violations of Brown’s Law at its previous special meeting on November 22 regarding the redistribution.

During the November 22 meeting, Supervisor Doug Teeter offered to reject two proposed cards, one from outside firm Redistricting Partners and the other made public, in favor of the consultant re-creating new cards for the board of directors. The action was approved 3-2 with supervisors Debra Lucero and Tami Ritter voting against the motion.

Because the vote was not on the meeting’s agenda, the county administration opted to hold an additional special meeting on Monday to give supervisors the opportunity to overturn the decision and vote it again. , this time with public notice for the vote.

“At the end of the meeting, a number of actions were taken by the board, one of which was the direction given to the consultant to create new maps,” the report said on the related agenda. “The board used a motion and a vote to take this action instead of just giving direction to staff, which would have been a cleaner action. While staff don’t think this is a de facto violation of Brown’s Law, for the sake of being as transparent as possible, the action is (put on the agenda).

After some discussion, the board voted unanimously to allow Teeter to overturn the vote. Once the item was returned, the board again voted 3-2 in favor of the now scheduled action as it had previously done.

The terms of the motion presented by Teeter read as follows: “Two valley districts (one north and one south), a divided town in Chico which includes school district lines, a division in Oroville which uses the Feather River, which Forest Ranch and Cohasset stay together, Cohasset and Forest Ranch may or may not be in the same district as the town of Paradise, north of the town of Oroville / Feather River must be included in the town of Paradise District, heed comments public that have been received (including not dividing Mechoopda), Chico can be divided into four districts, Oroville can be divided into three districts and the district in which the city of Paradise resides can be underpopulated in the same way as this which was considered previously.

Developing a new district map was a difficult process. Concerns about violations of the Brown Act and Fair Maps Act, as well as accusations of gerrymandering, were frequently discussed publicly and within the board of directors during meetings.

Local attorney Jim McCabe has been at the forefront of the charges against the board and sent a letter to the county ahead of Monday’s meeting.

The letter listed actions McCabe believes conflicted with the Fair Maps Act.

“The discussion at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, November 22 showed that many supervisors operate under a misunderstanding of the California Fair Maps Act and are inclined to adopt maps that clearly do not meet its requirements.” , McCabe said. in his letter.

Supervisor and chairman of the board, Bill Connelly, expressed frustration at the accusations and said those who rejected card 69836, a card proposed by Teeter, should be ashamed of themselves.

“Somehow I have to listen to people at every meeting say that the Chico Districts are more important than the people of Berry Creek and Clipper Mills,” Connelly said.

Teeter had previously said he would be prepared to defend the proposed card in court if it came to this.

“Our legislature makes laws interpretable,” Teeter said. “Unfortunately, sometimes it takes court cases to define what it is and I just want to throw it out there.”

Lucero asked Executive Director Andy Pickett who would be responsible for an illegal map if a map was produced using the Teeter criteria that Pickett said the county would be responsible for.

There is not yet a definitive case when it comes to the relatively new Fair Cards law, so there is little precedent yet.

Lucero also said she was concerned about the cost to the county in the event of a dispute.

“I think it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to go ahead in this way,” Lucero said. “I wish we had honored the audience’s participation. When you have 500 comments and as much participation as we have had in the process ignored by the board, it’s disappointing. Why should people participate if participation is not honored? “

The Butte County Board of Directors meets at 9 a.m. most of the second and third Tuesday of the month at its offices located at 25 County Center Drive, Suite 205 in Oroville. Meetings are free and open to the public. Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask in the building.

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