- Felicia Matlosz
SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) has introduced Assembly Bill 2030 to establish a County of Fresno Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw the boundary lines for Fresno County Supervisorial districts. The revision would take the process out of the hands of the county supervisors and create an independent system that better reflects and accounts for Fresno County’s changing population.
Assemblymember Arambula and advocates strongly believe that an independent commission is needed in Fresno County, citing what happened with the current process in 2021. Local leaders, organizations, and community members sharply criticized the procedure and the decision.
AB 2030 is supported and sponsored by the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
Fresno County’s current system includes the Board of Supervisors appointing an advisory commission to review maps for each supervisorial district, as proposed by community members and organizations. The county supervisors, however, have final approval of the definitive map and the boundaries that will be used for the next decade. This process is carried out every 10 years, after the U.S. census is conducted. The bill’s number – 2030 – reflects the next year that the census will be undertaken.
Critics contended the supervisors last year ignored the fact that the Latino community is growing and now is the majority in Fresno County. Critics also said the board disregarded input from a broad segment of community members, who urged the five supervisors to approve boundaries that reflect how Fresno County looks in the 21st century.
Four of the five supervisors ultimately approved a map that changed very little from the one adopted in 1991 and kept the supervisorial districts essentially status quo.
Assemblymember Arambula now is initiating a change that is not new in California. The State’s voters in 2008 approved an independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission to determine congressional, state Senate, and state Assembly boundaries. In addition, at least six counties – including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego – have independent commissions.
Assemblymember Arambula said: “Fresno County must have an independent citizens redistricting commission that will seriously listen to the voices of people demanding representation that truly reflects their communities and will address their issues. Our county is changing, and Latinos now make up the majority of the population. We can no longer tolerate a process in which elected officials give lip service to following redistricting requirements, ignore public input, and then adopt a map that serves their purposes. This change is long overdue.”
Assemblymember Arambula also said he deeply appreciates the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s support for AB 2030.
Dolores Huerta, labor leader, civil rights advocate, and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, said: “The 2020 U.S. Census results confirmed what we already knew – our state is increasingly made up of communities of color, and it’s time that our elected officials reflect that rich diversity of our state. The unanimously approved legislative and congressional districts in the Central Valley and Antelope Valley finally reflect that diversity. Now we need to make sure that our county and local elected officials also listen to the community voice. The redistricting process in Fresno proved that if left to their own devices, they will sacrifice community needs for their own power.”