Kings County Board of Supervisors adopt redistricting map, residents, city leaders feel unheard

Elisa Navarro Image
Thursday, December 16, 2021

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Kings County Board of Supervisors met their deadline in the South Valley and formally adopted the map redefining district lines.

By law, redistricting happens every 10 years. After six months of hearings and deliberation in Kings County, the Board of Supervisors adopted a new map Tuesday with small changes to the district lines already in place.

Map "PUBLIC 120" was adopted with a 3 to 2 vote. The slight shift will now allow a second district to meet the minimum requirement of 50% Hispanic Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP). The change happened in District 4, meeting the criteria with 52%.

However, city leaders and nonprofit organizations wanted a different map that made District 4 stand at 60% Hispanic CVAP. Claire Fitiausi with Valley Voices says the percentage matters to be effective.

"We've had a significant change in population so there is a big adjustment for how the maps need to work to represent people," said Claire Fitiausi, Community Outreach for Valley Voices.

Avenal City Manager Antonio Lopez says he hoped for map public 101 or map public 113b to be selected. He says the final vote for map public 120 was a shock.

"Out of nowhere, map public 120 was kind of discussed, promoted and adopted at the last meeting with very little discussion. I am very disappointed in the board of supervisors, they are not representing my community or the county," said Antony Lopez, Avenal City Manager.

He says while the changes do not directly impact Avenal, he cares about accurate Latino representation.

Meanwhile, District 3 supervisor Doug Verboon, who voted yes, says he too cares about the county and does not believe major changes were necessary.

"We don't need to shuffle around that much. We have minor changes to the districts, only 5% decrease in our population and I think it's important to move along easily with less changes. I didn't see the difference between 113 and 120. I said well, it shouldn't make a difference so let's just get this done, and that's what happened," said Doug Verboon, District 3 representative.

Lopez says they will be writing a letter to the board of supervisors highlighting their concerns about fair representation once again.

Craig Pederson, District 4 representative says the criteria to have 2 districts with a minimum of 50% Hispanic CVAP was met.

"We did this in a manner that was very upfront and forward. It did not go the way a large group felt it should've gone. I don't have any regrets about voting for what I thought was best," said Craig Pederson, District 4 representative.

You can take a closer look at the adopted map here.