Supervisors Want a Second Look at 1st District Borders

Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday asked their aides to reexamine the proposed new borders of the 1st Supervisorial District, where Vietnamese argue they should have better representation.

The supervisors’ action came after about a dozen members of the public, most Vietnamese, criticized the board’s preliminary maps for not reflecting what they said was the true strength of Asians and Latinos.

Vietnamese speakers asked the board to include Fountain Valley, which has a large Vietnamese population, in proposed new boundaries for the west-central 1st District, which is represented by Supervisor Janet Nguyen.

Nguyen also told her colleagues she would “ask to keep the community of interest together” by adding Fountain Valley to her district.

Nguyen is the only supervisor who didn’t submit a plan for drawing the new boundaries, although plans were suggested by members of the Vietnamese community.

The redrawing of the county’s supervisorial districts takes place every decade along with redistricting at the state level. While statewide redistricting is now in the hands of the newly formed Citizens Redistricting Commission, county boards of supervisors still determine their own district boundaries.

Supervisors could have appointed community representatives to meet and propose the lines. Instead, they gave the job to their aides, which is one reason for the low attendance at redistricting hearings this spring, according to county employees who did not want to be named. Some critics have complained that aides will simply draw boundaries to satisfy their bosses.

Latino leaders have been particularly critical of the work done by the supervisors’ staffs.

Art Montez, public policy director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said Asian and Latino communities are still being divided by the proposed boundaries.

“We actually have regressed,” he said. “We’re going down instead of up.”

The board will discuss the issue again at its Aug. 23 meeting.