Fresno County supervisors are close to picking a new map for county districts drawn by a conservative strategist — leading detractors to claim the three Republican members of the board are using the redistricting process to stay in power as the county turns increasingly blue.
It’s not unusual for an interest group or lobbyists to be involved in governmental affairs and it routinely happens in Washington, D.C., according to Jessica Trounstine, a professor and chairperson for the political science department at UC Merced. “From the sound of it, there is nothing illegal going on here (in Fresno County),” she said. “And yet, just like with lobbying, the fear is that democracy has been distorted by these relationships and this process because it gives more weight to some voices than others.” Redistricting is typically political, she said, which is why some municipalities use nonpartisan redistricting commissions to make the final decision. The district map in Fresno County has not been significantly changed since 1991, according to Michael Evans, a member of the Central California Coalition for Equitable Realignment. He said the map needed an overhaul if it was ever going to be fair to people in rural communities of color