Will hold their only public hearing on Wed., Dec. 8; staff’s one map makes few changes to wards, keeps six cities split, splits two more including Clayton, violates community of interest and compactness guidelines
By Allen Payton
The Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) will hold a public hearing at the December 8, 2021, Governing Board meeting to seek community input on a staff proposal to adjust trustee area boundaries and ensure population balance that keeps the wards gerrymandered with few changes to the politically drawn 2011 map. The regular meeting begins at 6:00 p.m., and will include a review of the proposed ward map based on population changes unveiled in the 2020 Census. (See related article)
The current trustee ward boundary map approved in 2011, was drawn to benefit the late Trustee Sheila Grilli, who represented Ward 3, and include Bay Point, where former Trustee Greg Enholm lives, in a separate district, so he couldn’t run against her, again. He was elected to the board the following year. The current map also benefited the late Trustee John Nejedly, who represented Ward 4, by including most of San Ramon with the more politically conservative portions of Antioch and Brentwood in East County.
It also combined the southern portions of Pittsburg with Concord, rather than use the hills as a natural boundary. It also splits Alamo from the rest of the San Ramon Valley, and includes Lamorinda with portions of Martinez and Hercules, as well as Rodeo and Crockett, again, not using the hills as a natural boundary. The trustee representing that ward must travel outside of their ward to get to the other sections. Such politically based drawing of representative district maps is referred to as gerrymandering.
Both the current and proposed maps violate two basic principles for drawing district or ward boundary maps including keeping communities of interest together and compactness. That’s in spite of the fact Board president Andy Li recently wrote “4CD is following a process to re-draw ward boundaries to ensure population balance and proportion as stipulated in Education Code. Other considerations presented and discussed at the Governing Board’s November 10, 2021, meeting, included ensuring compliance with the federal voter rights act, compact and contiguous areas, respecting communities of interest as much as possible, and respecting incumbency.”
However, respecting incumbency is not one of the guidelines in the state education code and is not a requirement for redrawing boundary maps. It’s a political consideration. For example, the Antioch School Board drew their area boundary map in 2019 resulting in two incumbents residing in the same district. The same can occur with the new college board ward map.
Proposed Trustee Wards Map
While the proposed trustee ward map has a total population deviation of just 1.7% between wards – which is closer to the intent of the Constitution of ensuring one-person-one-vote than the new map recently approved by the Board of Supervisors with a 9.77% population deviation between districts – it keeps things pretty much the same as the 2011 map. It continues to split Antioch, Brentwood, Pittsburg in East County, Martinez, Concord, Walnut Creek and one of the county’s smallest cities, Clayton, in Central County, and in West County, instead of splitting Pinole, as the current map does, the proposed map splits Hercules.
The proposed map indicates where the incumbents currently live, labeled as W’s and shows both Ward 2 Trustee and Board Vice President Judy Walters and Ward 3 Trustee Rebecca Barrett both live in Martinez.
The proposed map also indicates where the county Board of Education (labeled with A’s and COE for County Office of Education) trustees live, because that board normally uses the same map that the college board approves.
Incorrect List of Ward Member Cities and Communities for Both Maps
The staff report includes a list of cities and unincorporated communities associated with each ward for both maps. But it is incorrect. The correct information is as follows:
Ward 1 John E. Márquez 2011: El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Kensington, Richmond, San Pablo, parts of Pinole
2021: El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, and parts of Hercules
Ward 2 Judy E. Walters 2011: Alamo, Canyon, Crockett, Hercules, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Port Costa, Rodeo, parts of Pinole, parts of Pleasant Hill and parts of Walnut Creek
2021: Alamo, Canyon, Crockett, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Port Costa, Rodeo, parts of Clayton, parts of Hercules, parts of Pleasant Hill and parts of Walnut Creek
Ward 3 Rebecca Barrett 2011: Pacheco, parts of Bay Point, parts of Concord, parts of Martinez and parts of Pleasant Hill
2021: Pacheco, parts of Clayton, parts of Concord, parts of Martinez, parts of Pittsburg and parts of Pleasant Hill
Ward 4 Andy Li 2011: Blackhawk, Byron, Danville, Discovery Bay, San Ramon, Camino Tassajara, and parts of Antioch, parts of Brentwood and parts of Clayton
2021: Blackhawk, Byron, Danville, Discovery Bay, San Ramon, Camino Tassajara, parts of Antioch and parts of Brentwood
Ward 5 Fernando Sandoval 2011: Bay Point, Bethel Island, Clyde, Knightsen, Oakley, parts of Antioch, parts of Brentwood and parts of Pittsburg
2021: Bay Point, Bethel Island, Clyde, Knightsen, Oakley, parts of Antioch, parts of Brentwood and parts of Pittsburg.
Public Hearing In-Person and Online
The community is invited to participate in this conversation by either attending the meeting in-person at 500 Court Street, Second Floor Board Room, Martinez, California, or by joining the meeting via Zoom. A link to the public meeting is located on the 4CD website at www.4cd.edu in the December 8, 2021, Governing Board meeting agenda.
Special districts like 4CD are legally obligated to follow Education Code Section 5019.5, which highlights the process to follow, ensuring the population of trustee wards is balanced based on the changing demographics of the community. Community college districts are required to complete this process by February 28, 2022.
The first phase of this work began at the Governing Board’s November 10, 2021, meeting, when trustees received a presentation that outlined the demographic changes of Contra Costa County highlighted in the 2020 Census. Under the direction of legal counsel, 4CD research staff analyzed the 2020 Census information to develop the proposed ward map.
4CD Regular Governing Board Meeting – 12.8.21 agenda
The agenda for the above meeting and a memo highlighting certain reports are attached. The agenda can also be accessed at: 2021-12-08-GB Agenda
If you are attending in person, public session will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in the Second Floor Board Room. Please note that according to Contra Costa Health Services and effective August 3, 2021, masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public spaces such as businesses, classrooms and offices.
If you are attending remotely, please see the information below to access the meeting.
Meeting link: https://tinyurl.com/2021-12-08-GB-Agenda
Meeting ID No.: 972 7628 0768
Phone option: 1.669.900.6833
Public Comment: You may address an item on the agenda or a subject of your choice. The desired goal is to create an environment of mutual respect between participants of Governing Board meeting discussions; to enhance intellectual thought; and to insure that all present have an opportunity to present their views in an orderly fashion. If you would like to make public comment at this meeting, please see the information listed on the attached agenda. A fillable public comment card is also attached within the agenda and included here: 4CD Board Mtg Public Comment Card