When the redrawing of voting district lines comes up, somehow, some way, Imperial County gets its feelings hurt in the process. Residents, officials, what have you, can’t help but feel the sting from larger neighbors who don’t want to be lumped in with us.
Frankly, that thought process hasn’t changed much since we went through redistricting last time, and this time we are well-aware of the fact that Coachella Valley wants nothing to do with being part of Imperial County’s district.
2010 Census has broken it down, we could see Imperial County align itself more with southern San Diego County, to the tune of two-thirds San Diego and one-third Imperial County, much like it already is with the congressional district.
That’s the way voters and interested parties in the Coachella Valley want it, and at the moment, it appears they have gotten it. Coachella voices have been pretty loud to that effect because not only have Imperial Valley residents and officials been largely quiet in the redistricting committee process, but any committee meetings have been done outside Imperial County.
Three locals attended the committee meeting in Palm Desert last month, and we don’t know if any attended the other in San Diego. It’s inexcusable that local representation did not travel to make itself heard, to let this area have a presence and a place in the discussion.
That said, it’s even more disturbing that state officials said every community in this state would be covered, every corner brought in to participate, and then the closest committee meeting is an hour and half away in either direction from the county seat. It’s shameful.
Still, Imperial County officials are hopeful that the Assembly district can remain similar to what it is now, where one-third is Imperial County, one-third is San Diego and one-third is Coachella. Under these conditions there is still the hope that we can get local representation elected into office. Anything less than that makeup puts us at a distinct disadvantage in trying to get a Valley person elected.
What can happen now to make that a reality isn’t yet known.
It’s difficult for Imperial County not to continue to operate with a chip on its shoulder in these cases. But we do become our own worst enemies when given the opportunity to participate and we choose not to.
Traveling to Palm Desert or San Diego to make our voices heard is an inconvenience. At some point, though, if we show we are willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of respect and representation, than we might see that treatment change.
We are not without our next opportunity. The next step will be the public hearing process to gather input on Friday’s preliminary redistricting results. We must be there to have our say. If we aren’t, than we have no place to complain.
<b>THE ISSUE:</b> Redistricting will affect Imperial Valley’s say in election results.
<b>WE SAY:</b> Our public representatives must make the effort to be our voices.
<b> WHAT DO YOU SAY?</b>Send us your thoughts on this topic to www.ivpressonline.com/letterstotheeditor