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2000 census may dictate redrawing districts

MIKE RODMAN, Sun News Service

While many are consumed with a landmark New Year’s Eve and possible Y2K fallout, the coming year may also have a strong political significance in Nevada County.

The 2000 census may dictate redrawing the districts for the Board of Supervisors, as the population boom in Truckee could shrink the vast boundaries of District 5 into a district more concentrated on the immediate Truckee area.

Truckee grew about 50 percent during the 1990s, from about 8,000 people to an estimated 12,000 people. And redistricting may make sense for more reasons than just the numbers.

“It’s interesting to think of lines drawn so that at least people of this district will be above the snow line,” said Rachelle Pellissier, president and chief executive officer of the Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce. “There are different things to deal with as far as roads, and our concerns are different.”

Pellissier said the same is true of other Lake Tahoe area communities, and therefore, somewhat removed from mainstream county concerns.

Tahoe City is in Placer County, and South Lake Tahoe is in El Dorado County.

Indeed, state statutes require more than just an even split of population in configuring district lines.

Also to be considered are topography; geography; cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity and compactness of district; and community interests of the districts.

And short of secession, the best those communities can hope for is a district to themselves, meaning their supervisor will be home-grown.

There has been but one Truckee resident – Bob Drake, appointed by former Gov. Pete Wilson – on the board since the 1980s, which could change if District 5 Supervisor Sam Dardick’s endorsed successor on the March 7 ballot, Barbara Green, is elected. Dardick estimated that more than 60 percent of voters in his district live in Truckee.

Regardless of who wins this time around, however, sitting supervisors won’t be affected by redrawn boundaries until their terms expire.

Conceivably, that could result in a given supervisor representing one district, while living in another.

For example, if the new District 5 supervisor is from the San Juan Ridge, but District 5 is later confined to the Truckee area, that supervisor would be living in another district – probably an expanded District 1, according to Dardick’s version of the most likely scenario.

“Truckee could become more of a major player than they are now,” Dardick said.

Board faces deadlines

Lorraine Jewett-Burdick, county clerk-recorder, said the Board of Supervisors is the lead agency in determining district boundaries and would have until Nov. 1, 2001, to align new districts in accordance with the census. The board can name a citizen advisory committee to help in the process.

If the board fails in that mission, state statutes dictate formation of a redistricting commission, which would have until Dec. 31, 2001, to decide new boundaries. The district attorney would serve as chairman of the commission, with the county assessor and clerk-recorder as members.

If District 5 is indeed shrunk in size through that redistricting, the 2004 election would be the first time candidates would have to live in the Truckee area.


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