Letter: Splitting communities apart dilutes voices

The Butte County Board of Supervisors redistricting process is going about as well as expected. The majority (Kimmelshue, Teeter, and Connelly) are doing their best to slice Chico apart to favor their own party and silence opposing voices. Why do we still allow incumbent politicians to lead this process?

Chico should be kept within three districts, according to both common sense and the law. However, the majority Supes just voted to push through a map which splits Chico into four districts, with parts of West and South Chico spliced into an otherwise-rural district where their voices have no weight. Not only this, but it appears the map intentionally places Lucero, Ritter, and new challenger Durfee all in one district.

Splitting communities apart dilutes their voices, and when it’s done intentionally to favor one party, it’s called gerrymandering. We have laws against this practice, but tradition prevails.

In 2011 the Board of Supervisors approved an obviously “Larrymandered” district map that favored right wing incumbents including Larry Wahl by unnecessarily splitting Chico into four supervisorial districts. Progressive and dense neighborhoods in South Chico were cut off from the rest of the city and lumped into a deep red agricultural district. My neighbors and I have almost zero chance of electing a representative who lives in our community.

Let’s not repeat this. We need to reform our city and county redistricting processes by establishing nonpartisan redistricting commissions composed of citizens rather than incumbent politicians.

— Bryce Goldstein, Chico

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