The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to finalize new district boundaries that protect the two supervisors who will face re-election and will likely keep all five seats Republican.
The 4-to-1 vote came over the objections of Supervisor John Moorlach, the cities of Buena Park and Fountain Valley and the Latino community.
Until the very end, Latinos urged the board to change the proposed boundaries to give them a better chance of winning one of the districts. Latinos constitute about 40 percent of the county’s population.
But since Latinos traditionally support Democratic candidates and all five supervisors are Republican, the pleas fell on deaf ears.
Following the board’s initial vote last month, Republican leader Jon Fleischman, publisher of the conservative political blog FlashReport.org, said he and county GOP Chairman Scott Baugh had urged the supervisors to consider party registration when drawing the lines.
Officially, supervisors are supposed to be nonpartisan. After the August vote, Fleischman said he was “comfortable” that the new lines will keep the five board seats in the hands of the GOP.
Officials from Fountain Valley and Buena Park complained about how the new lines divide their cities.
Despite objections of its City Council, Fountain Valley was divided to add more Vietnamese to Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s 1st District.
The other supervisor eligible to seek re-election, Shawn Nelson, had all of heavily Republican Brea added to his north Orange County district.
About two dozen Buena Park residents and officials turned out to protest dividing their city between Nelson’s 4th District and Moorlach’s 2nd District.
After the board meeting, Buena Park Mayor Fred Smith said “the whole thing that caused all of this was Janet Nguyen.” Earlier versions of maps drawn by the supervisors and their aides had kept Buena Park intact.
“We have been split before,” Smith said. “It’s too hard.” Conflicts can develop among elected officials of those districts, and the city pays the price. Small segments of the city may simply be ignored.
Moorlach, meanwhile, accused his colleagues of gerrymandering. He said Fountain Valley, which is in his district now, shouldn’t be split. Every effort should be made to keep cities intact, he said.
“I believe cities are communities of interest, and that’s the most important community of interest at the local level,” said Moorlach. “I see what we’re doing with [the adopted plan] as gerrymandering.”
The new district boundaries take effect after 30 days.
— TRACY WOOD