The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board was clear about one thing Tuesday morning – they don’t want director Dave Kamper to have to drive from his home in order to represent his constituents.
During a discussion on redistricting and how to best proceed, the SSJID board agreed in principle to exclude a mapping option that would take Kamper out of District 3 in order to level out the increases in population that have taken place over the last decade.
But they’ll take another month to weigh their options before rendering a decision that will finalize the map that’ll be put up for scrutiny at a public hearing in November. Manteca is currently spit between four of the five SSJID districts, and represents 68 percent of the district’s residents – based on 2010 census data.
A presentation from consultant Quartaroli and Associates – in conjunction with Merced Data Special Services – pointed out the population increases in particular districts to show where the biggest shifts will have to take place in order to create population equality in five separate areas.
Kamper – who generally represents portions of the City of Manteca that are east of Main Street and north of Yosemite Avenue as well as a large swath of the rural area east to Van Allen Road – pointed out that at least one of the proposals completely takes him out of his area.
“If there’s a problem with the staff, then people call me,” he said. “But if I’m completely in the city, then that goes away. Next would be to go to annexation and have everybody campaign at large.”
The target, according to MCSS Engineer Rich Green, is a 3-percent deviation from an equal number of constituents in each of the five districts. The current accumulated deviation is 77 percent, and is reflected in a variety of ways between areas which have gained large numbers of residents and those that have declined when compared with previously smaller districts.
Prior to the start of the reapportionment process, Area 1 – the segment that includes Escalon that is represented by Robert Holmes – had just over 10,000 residents while John Holbrook’s Area 5 held more than 25,000. It’s Green’s job, he said, to try and get those numbers as close to 19,970 as possible so that no single district holds more political sway in terms of voting numbers.
While those that utilize the services of SSJID are rural farmers, directors are elected based on their address and run at-large in a given district.
SSJID staffers hope to have one of the two proposed options selected by directors when they meet again next month. A public hearing will follow before the redistricting plan can be finalized.