IMPERIAL COUNTY — The 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) heard input concerning the future district lines of Imperial County in a virtual meeting held Saturday, July 10.
The CRC is a 14-member commission made up of five republicans, five democrats, and four non-affiliated with either political party and have strict non-partisan rules designed to create districts to provide fair representation to all Californians, according to Commissioner Patricia Sinay.
California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts every 10 years immediately after the census to correctly represent the State’s population.
California voters authorized the CRC to draw the lines and they have created regular meetings to receive direct input from the communities all around the State of California.
“They draw maps to minimize the division of counties, cities, neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent possible,” said Sinay.
Salton Sea Program Director Frank Ruiz from Indio, California, advocated to the CRC to redraw the lines of the current district that Imperial County resides in, currently with San Diego County. He suggested combining the Imperial Valley area with the Coachella region into one district to better combat the growing climate and economic crisis caused by the Salton Sea.
“The Salton Sea region is facing perhaps one of the worst environmental, economic, and public health crises in modern history,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz also said that both communities are united by similar interests beyond the cultural and agricultural connections.
“We also share the same air quality issues, similar economics, and overall a public health issue that should be addressed together as a whole. The polluted elements do not know county lines or boundaries,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz said this requires the attention of all the communities surrounding the Salton Sea and that Coachella and Imperial counties need to work together because both have the highest asthma rates in the State of California.
“It makes no sense for these two counties to address those issues from a separate matter. If the crisis affects both sides, why not face it all together as well,” said Ruiz.
The CRC will conduct future meetings like these and will ultimately certify their redrawn lines at the end of the year.