Orange County Supervisors reshaped the county’s political landscape for the next decade on Monday afternoon, picking new election boundary lines that Costa Mesa City Council members and many coastal and south county residents advocated for.
The new political boundaries, referred to during dais deliberations as map 5A1, keeps Costa Mesa in the same supervisorial district as its neighboring city of Newport Beach.
To see the county’s new election boundaries, click here.
In keeping Costa Mesa with Newport, supervisors also ensured that the two cities most impacted by noise and air pollution from John Wayne Airport stay cohesive in their voting power.
The map, originally drawn up by various community groups and the ACLU, was modified by Supervisor Doug Chaffee.
Monday’s vote came on the heels of reporting by Voice of OC noting bipartisan opposition over maps submitted by Supervisor Chairman Andrew Do’s office, which were said to target Supervisor Katrina Foley specifically by moving her city of Costa Mesa out of its current coastal district for the first time in decades.
While Monday’s vote seemed a direct rebuke of Do’s initiative, the result — as usual with redistricting — featured a mixed bag of winners and losers.
Supervisor Katrina Foley during the discussion said she had “mixed feelings” over the new map.
“Of course I feel — I’ll just say it — iced out with these maps … it is unfortunate that while I would love to serve the communities that District 2 will become, and I think I will do a great job, that’s not who elected me … that’s just not why I ran,” she said.
Supervisor Don Wagner said the new map unfairly splits parts of Irvine, where he used to be mayor.
Wagner, along with residents who criticized the map in the past public hearings, said the map would lessen the impact of Asian American voters.
“If you end up drawing the line that 5A1 does, you inevitably separate those Asian voices,” Wagner said.
Do and Wagner — both Republicans — said the original authors of map 5 were politically motivated to reduce GOP representation in county supervisor elections.
Wagner said the Huntington Beach women’s Democratic club emailed its members to come out and support the new map.
“The Republican women apparently didn’t do that because we didn’t hear from them,” Wagner said, adding that OC Supervisors aren’t supposed to consider political parties when picking the maps.
While supervisors’ offered different opinions on maps, they did agree on one thing:
Drawing new election maps that will change the supervisorial districts for the next decade is tough.
“No map is perfect. There are lots of issues that you can tweek this way or that way,” Chaffee said.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett also echoed Chaffee’s concerns.
“This is not an easy thing. Every 10 years we have the census and we have to draw new districts,” Bartlett said.
Yet some maps were more controversial than others. Namely, Do’s proposed map.
“No map is perfect, we accept that, but we strove to achieve the most balance,” Do,, said before the vote. “People in my party may even chastise me for coming up with a map fully balanced that it hurts us.”
Before Monday’s meeting, supporters of two separate maps came together to lambaste county supervisors for shortening the public’s review time of the maps. They also alleged supervisors largely ignored their weeks of input.
“Everything has disgusted me,” said Marc Ang, a leading supporter of a now-defunct map proposal, in a phone interview last week.
Ang, who heads up the business community events group, Asian Industry B2B, and formerly served as a leader for the Lincoln Club of Orange County, a prominent Republican fundraising group, criticized the lack of transparency.
“They’re not being transparent about the process. And it’s really amazing that my counterparts on the left feel the same way. It’s actually a very unifying thing at this point,” added Ang, who was a prominent supporter of a previous map supervisors rejected.
Despite rebukes by Do and Wagner over Map 5A1, the redistricting plan pushed by groups like the ACLU won out.
“Congratulations. Map 5A1 it is,” Do said after the vote. “Congratulations.”
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Huntington Beach would be in the same district as Costa Mesa. We regret the error.