Today Sonoma County had a public meeting on redistricting, and how to achieve more equitable representation.
According to the new 2020 census data, Sonoma County's overall population grew by one percent in the past decade, now very close to half a million people. And it has the lowest population growth in Bay Area, which may be attributed to people having to relocate after wildfires.
Over the last ten years, the Latinx population has grown to 29 percent. And the white population has decreased to 58 percent.
The process of how Sonoma County is getting community input about the map drawing is unprecedented. This year the first ever Advisory Redistricting Commission, comprised of nineteen community members, was formed to guide the board and get input on what residents want the map to look like. The board approved just under a quarter million dollars for outreach and translation services.
"It goes beyond just race and it goes beyond the numbers," said Anna Horta, Vice Chair of the Advisory Redistricting Committee. "This is why we really need to hear the stories and not just hear them but also they have to be documented...it's our history. it can no longer be ignored."
This commission has been holding community meetings and focus groups to discuss possible maps. And topics like the historical oppression underserved and underrepresented communities of color have experienced through government processes like redistricting.
After the redistricting process is over for this decade in mid-December, Supervisor James Gore said he hopes the commission and these conversations can continue in order to create more equity in the county.
"This data set can inform the future in Sonoma County and not just five maps," Gore said.
Supervisor Lynda Hopkins discussed the white and male dominated history of the board of supervisors itself as part of the discussion in future mapping.
"I would love to see different faces on the board that really bring more of Sonoma County's diversity to the table," Hopkins said.
The deadline for the public to submit maps is October 15.