The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.

PEOPLE’S REDISTRICTING ALLIANCE

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 21, 2021

Contact: Yongho Kim

Communications Consultant, OCCET

(323) 968-3358

yongho@occivic.org

As Orange County Board of Supervisors Prepares for 2021 Redistricting, Community Organizations Want Focus on Community Needs, Not Party Politics

Garden Grove, CA: Following a 2011 Orange County Board of Supervisors redistricting designed to ensure partisan control, community organizations and residents are organizing to ensure this decade’s process centers around community needs rather than party politics. A coalition of over 16 groups, the People’s Redistricting Alliance has come together to educate low-income communities of color about the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative boundaries, mobilize them to participate in public hearings, and create a space through which they can identify “communities of interest” and draw maps that improve the responsiveness of government at all levels.

The Alliance includes the ACLU of Southern California, AHRI Center, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Latino Health Access, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Orange County Civic Engagement Table, Orange County Congregation Community Organization, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, Orange County Environmental Justice, Orange County Voter Information Project, Pacific Islander Health Partnership, Resilience Orange County, South Asian Network, and VietRISE.

As the Board of Supervisors prepares to present an updated redistricting plan during its June 22 meeting, Alliance members expressed concern that the process that begins this year not repeat mistakes of the past. According to a 2011 article in the Voice of OC, the Republican Party of Orange County worked with incumbents to orchestrate a redistricting that protected the party’s interests (Voice of OC, August 24, 2011). According to the Alliance, that has resulted in a lack of responsiveness to community needs around critical issues like healthcare and housing. Alliance members point to the pandemic as an example and the Board’s failure to support public health officials and basic public health interventions like wearing masks. While people of color now make up over 61% of Orange County’s total population, they have made up over 75% of COVID-19 cases countywide

“Redistricting should improve the lives of those most in need, not work against them,” said Mary Anne Foo, executive director at the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance and member of the Alliance. “We can’t afford another process in which the interests of politicians, corporations, and the wealthy are more valued than community members.”

Recent state legislation has changed the rules of local redistricting, creating more opportunities for a fair process. Passed in 2019 and 2020 respectively, AB 849 and AB 1276 now require county and city redistricting processes to include public hearings before and after the release of draft maps, engage the public in multiple languages, and draw district lines in a nonpartisan manner.

“The redistricting process should center and lift community voices,” said Jonathan Paik, executive director of the Orange County Civic Engagement Table (OCCET). “It needs to be designed accordingly, with enough time and enough opportunities for public input, engaging the public in languages that reflect our county’s diversity.”

“State law now prohibits drawing districts to benefit one political party over another,” added Julia Gomez, staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. “A partisan board of supervisors redistricting like 2011 would be illegal in 2021.”

More information about the People’s Redistricting Alliance can be found online at occivic.org/redistricting.

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PEOPLE’S REDISTRICTING ALLIANCE: ACLU of Southern California | AHRI Center | California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative | Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights | Council on American-Islamic Relations | Latino Health Access | Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance | Orange County Congregation Community Organization | Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development | Orange County Environmental Justice | Orange County Voter Information Project | Pacific Islander Health Partnership | Resilience Orange County | South Asian Network | VietRISE

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