This letter is to urge my fellow Sonoma Valley residents to lend their voices to the county’s redistricting process as it redraws the supervisorial boundaries. Every ten years, after the U.S. census, the county, as well as the state legislature, Congress, and other by-district elected offices must have their district boundaries redrawn to balance out the population.
Since Glen Ellen, Kenwood, the Springs, and other areas of Sonoma Valley are unincorporated and thus directly impacted by county government in a manner that city residents aren’t, the redistricting process is extremely important for us. Our ability to have any influence over the county is at stake. One of the ideas on the table is to divide Sonoma Valley into two districts. Sonoma Valley’s population has declined over the last decade due to wildfires and the conversion of hundreds of previously lived-in houses to vacation rentals, while the population in other areas of the county has increased.
The Board of Supervisors appointed a 19-member redistricting advisory commission to come up with recommendations for the five supervisorial districts’ boundaries. Only one commissioner is a Sonoma Valley resident, due to the lack of publicity and recruitment to inform Valley residents that applications for the commission were being sought. Most commission members live in Santa Rosa.
Fortunately, there are opportunities for you to offer input. Two focus groups to solicit specific feedback from Springs/ Sonoma Valley residents are scheduled for Oct. 4 and 5 from 2–3:30 p.m. over Zoom. County residents can also draw a suggested map for their district or provide written input about how they want their district drawn. The deadline to submit a map is Oct. 15.
To sign up for a focus group, draw a map, or find other information about the redistricting process, visit www.sonomacounty. ca.gov/CAO/Policy-Grantsand- Special-Projects/2021-Redistricting. You can also submit feedback to the commission by e-mailing [email protected] sonoma-county.org.