October 2011 - Sierra Scoop Column
The County took the final step on August 16th at its 3rd public hearing and 2nd reading of the ordinance on Re-Districting. The new ordinance, ORD-11, revised the Mono County Code to establish new Supervisorial District lines based off of the 2010 Census data. This new ordinance effectively implements option B (one of three options submitted by the Re-Districting Committee) with some minor boundary changes.
The Board stepped up and actually did the correct thing by selecting this option as it was the best solution to a tough decision. It may not be perfect but with the community and population of our County, no solution would be perfect.
The Board’s decision was not unanimous and the reasons given for voting against are mistaken.
Supervisor Hansen stated (according to the August 16th minutes) that “No one in his district likes anything about this option” which by all accounts is false. At the public hearings (both in Bridgeport and Mammoth), this option was the top choice by the public and this included many people from his own District 4. In addition I have spoken too many residents of District 4 (where I live) that have also voiced support for option B. Hansen further states “it doesn’t follow other guidelines, such as keeping communities of interest together”. While District 4 does pick up part of Mammoth (just as District 3 has for at least the last 10 years) it does keep Bridgeport Valley and the Antelope Valley together, which these two valleys share a lot in common. And it also puts Mono City and Lee Vining together with the June Lake area (most public comment supports this according to Bauer) as they are all part of the Mono Basin (common interests!) and the way it was 10 years ago.
Supervisor Johnson states that “[Mammoth] Business owners believe the proposed action is ludicrous”. I believe that Supervisor Bauer said it best “The district lines are about voters, and no voters live in the businesses on Main Street in Mammoth”. Looking at the Committee’s minutes, there was no way not to split up Mammoth due to the population. Mammoth had to be split up into at least 3 areas and splitting the Tri-Valley and June Lake areas is not in the “common interests” of these areas.
I think what seems to get lost in all of the discussion when speaking about how this effect’s Mammoth is “what is the County’s responsibility in Mammoth?” The answer is “little” for most residents of Mammoth. Except for the Social and Mental health programs (and maybe a couple of others) supplied by the County, Mammoth takes care of itself. They provide (and are in charge of) things such as Planning, Building, Roads, etc. The normal day to day things that affect the citizens of Mammoth are the duty of the Town of Mammoth, not the County. After sitting through each Supervisor meeting for nearly a year, it becomes very clear that the vast majority of items before the Supervisors have nothing to do whatsoever with Mammoth.
In fact, if the population trends continue as they have for the last few years, Mammoth will continue to grow in size, while other parts of the county will decline. It appears inevitable that in time, Mammoth will have the vast majority of the population and will control the Board of Supervisors no matter how the lines are drawn. Our rural areas do need to continue to grow in population instead of declining for the overall health of our County in general, and for the survival of our cherished rural areas.
Let your feelings be known to ALL Supervisors - District 1, Larry Johnson, email@example.com. District 2, Hap Hazard, firstname.lastname@example.org. District 3, Vikki Bauer, email@example.com. District 4, Tim Hansen, firstname.lastname@example.org. District 5, Bing Hunt, email@example.com