By a vote of 13-6 Saturday, the State Bar Board of Governors re-jiggered its voting districts for more equitable representation. The approved changes will, among other things, reshape two Bay Area districts — this despite opposition by the Santa Clara County Bar Association and others around the state.In the Bay Area, District 3, which included Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, will now consist of only Alameda and Contra Costa, and lose one of its two governor positions. Santa Clara will now be all by itself in a brand-new District 6.
District 4, which included Marin and San Francisco counties, will now contain San Mateo County.
District 3 will now have 13,367 lawyers and District 4 will have 27,228 attorneys, a ratio of 13,614 lawyers per each of the latter district’s two governors.
Although redistricting is mandated every 10 years by the state Legislature, some bar associations vehemently opposed the plan passed Saturday. The Santa Clara County Bar Association felt that its longtime shared district with three other counties worked fine, while the Ventura County Bar Association complained that lumping Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in with the much more lawyer-populated Orange County would put the smaller counties at a disadvantage.
But even Michael Tenenbaum, Ventura County’s representative, didn’t put much stock into the argument that the county would be hurt by the change. Nonetheless, he proposed redistricting be sent back to make the per-lawyer representation more equitable, noting that the plan that passed cut the total deviation from the desired equability to only 38.6 percent.
There was a lot of discussion about whether District 1, which includes 19 counties in extreme Northern California, should have been included in the redistricting plan. However, staff noted that a state statute explicitly exempts rural counties, such as those in District 1, from redistricting.
District 2 loses Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado and Tuolumne counties, while retaining Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.
District 5 adds Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, San Luis Obispo and Tuolumne counties, while retaining Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties.
District 6, which now encompasses only Santa Clara County, loses Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
District 7, which encompasses Los Angeles County, loses one of its five governors.
District 8, which includes Orange County, adds Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, plus one governor.
District 9, which includes Imperial and San Diego counties, adds Riverside and San Bernardino counties, plus one governor.
Good luck to candidates for the 2011-12 races in figuring out this whole mess. They will be the first to deal with the new setup.