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Ornellas wants Manteca to sue county supervisors over redistricting
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RIPON – San Joaquin County Supervisor Leroy Ornellas is hoping Manteca leaders file a suit against himself and his colleagues to block the redistricting plan approved on Tuesday.

Ornellas is upset that Ripon is being redistricted into the same district as Lodi as the result of population shifts verified by the 2010 Census. Ornellas, who currently represents Ripon as well as part of Manteca, favors a plan that would make Manteca whole and put Ripon in a “true” South County district that includes Tracy and Escalon.

Ornellas made his stance known during Thursday’s Ripon Chamber of Commerce installation and awards dinner at the Spring Creek Country Club. He was the lone supervisor to vote against the redistricting plan on Tuesday.

The redistricting goes into effect Aug. 2 unless the board reconsiders its decision or a court injunction is secured.

Ornellas said with all of its common water, agricultural and transportation issues, it makes no sense to split up the South County by tossing Escalon and Ripon in with Lodi.

“I think that the committee and the county staff did a horrible job, and I’m not happy with the way that it turned out,” Ornellas said. “Not only did they take Ripon away, but they’re planning on carving Manteca up into three districts.”

Ornellas said he made attempts to lobby Supervisor Ken Vogel, the chair of the committee, to reevaluate the decision made and the negative impacts that will come from putting Ripon into an already extensive district.

The Ripon City Council is on record favoring being in a district with Tracy and Escalon so that South County issues can be addressed by a lone supervisor.

Ripon Councilman Chuck Winn was extremely disappointed with the outcome of the meeting. He believes that including the community in District 4 – represented by Vogel and encompassing Escalon and Lodi as well as most of the land east and north of Stockton – will pose new challenges for the council.

“Here in the South County we all share the same transportation concerns with I-5, I-205, and Highways 99 and 120, and we’ve worked together on other issues like county roads that connect Tracy and Ripon and Ripon and Escalon,” Winn said. “The ideal scenario is to have one supervisor that understands the needs of the South County.

“I’m not saying that Ken Vogel can’t or won’t be able to do that, but the other options makes more sense,” Winn said. “Here we have SSJID and MID and a bunch of other things that we collaboratively deal with.”

“We’ve been addressing the same issues for years, and there’s understanding and dialogue there,” Winn continued. “I just think now that we’re going to have to start over again. To get to know the issues of Stockton and Lodi -- it’s going to take some time for us to get up to speed and introduce them to our issues. Maybe I look at this from a local perspective, but it would make more sense to have Ripon with Escalon and Tracy.”

The Manteca plan was to put their entire city in with South Stockton as part of District One so they could be represented by one supervisor, Carlos Villapudua.

 “I just want to let all of you know that I always loved Ripon, and I spent as much time here as I possibly could. I will always be here for you,” Ornellas said. “I didn’t leave you – you were taken from me.”