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Editor’s note: Because of press deadlines, reporting of the final decision regarding election map districts made at the Sept. 17 meeting, will be on our website, www.selmaenterprise.com, and in the Sept. 25 print edition.

SELMA – Three maps for future district elections were presented at a special meeting called by the Selma Healthcare District Board on Sept. 10. The final map will be selected at the 5:30 p.m. Sept. 17 meeting at the Selma Senior Center at 2301 Selma St.

The public maypresent maps at this time, but they must be population-balanced.

The effort is to comply with the California Voting Rights Act.

National Demographics’ Doug Johnson said it was challenging to create districts and still keep board members in separate districts because more of the city’s population is on the opposite side of town than where current board members live.

“Zone 5 is always the odd-shaped one in all three of these maps. The main reason for that is that the big challenge is we have a lot of people in the southwestern portion of the City, generally across the railroad or even more so across Highway 99. And with no directors down there, in order to achieve the goal of keeping the directors in each seat, multiple seats had to come down in that area and take up that population. That’s why Zone 5 always has kind of a stretched appearance, and Zone 2 does to a lesser extent,” Johnson said.

The demographer reminded the Healthcare Board that three requirements from the federal and state government must be met when deciding how to draw up the districts. These are:

  • Equal population in each zone. The goal is 5,834 residents in each of the five districts or zones.
  • Compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act by not splitting up Latino or protected class neighborhoods in a way they lose their voting strength. Given the demographics of Selma this was not an issue since “it’s so overwhelmingly Latino.”
  • Third, race cannot be the predominate factor. “It can something you look at, but it can’t be the main reason the line is drawn any given place, or the main reason why a map is chosen,” he said.

In selecting a final map, Johnson said the board members should look to preserve communities of interest, keep districts reasonably compact, have districts follow major roads and other clear borders and try to avoid putting board members in the same zone.

“The last one is the easiest to tally up since all three of these maps keep the directors in a different zone which was somewhat tricky you may realize, given where you currently live. There’s a definite concentration of directors up in the northeast corner of the city. It took some work to come up with some maps that met all the other goals in some way. That’s largely what dictates a lot of these maps.”

The demographic break-down of each map was included in the presentation.

The maps are available for viewing on the district’s website:

Maroon map

Considered the most compact, Johnson said the map labeled ‘maroon’ concentrates rural voters in Zones 1 and 3.

“There are not enough people in any of the rural areas to have a zone that’s entirely rural,” he said.

In this map, all five zones contain territory west of Highway 99.

Olive map

Considered the in-between map, the ‘olive’ map has three seats extending out to rural areas and two that are primarily in the city limits with chunks of rural population inside of it.

“Most of the population of District 1 is down in the southeast part of the City and then it’s got a little bit of the north part of the City [and] everything that’s above Dinuba [Boulevard]. But most of the population there is going to be rural in that southwestern part of the city across Highway 99.”

Violet map

All five seats extend out into the rural area in the violet map.

“In order to make that work without pairing directors, you end up with [Zone 5] coming across the city and then going to the southwest. Zone 3 wraps around Zone 4 and it’s in the eastern part of the city. So it is a bit of an odd shape.”

The board’s legal counsel Ken Price said any major map modifications would require a third meeting as the demographer would need to recalculate the population in each district to make sure there are 5,834 residents in each district, plus or minus 10 percent.

While the public could submit their own map suggestions, the maps must be population balanced and would have to be submitted just as the maps are being discussed at the Sept. 17 meeting.

“Someone could bring it [a different map proposal] in and the board could disregard it,” Price said. “Alternatively, someone could bring it in and the board could say ‘we’re interested in this,’ but if it’s a significant modification of the proposed maps, then Mr. Johnson would have to immediately update it and we’d get it on the website and we’d have a meeting after the posting of those maps.”

The approved map will be registered with theFresno County Registrar and Elections Department and will apply beginning with the 2020 elections.

All three of the demographer’s maps have SHD Board members Lorane Avalos and Rose Robertson’s seats come up for election in 2020 and then Leticia Gallardo, Anthony Herrera and Colleen Nelson’s seats up for election in 2022.

Once Census 2020 population data is available, the districts will be reviewed and adjusted as needed.

During the meeting, Treasurer Gallardo reported the District’s current balance is $240,961.45. She will deposit a check of $13,512.11 and thus, the next expected balance will be $254,473.56.

Grant proposals

Grant proposals will also be considered at the next meeting. Selma wrestlers have applied for a grant.

One of the board’s policies is that a tax identification number can only be used once each year as community groups apply for health care grants. Thus, the board is considering adding a new policy giving more leeway to expend funds by making direct donations.

Board members had brought up special projects such as funding defibrillators and helping pay for student lunch debts at Selma Unified School District.

The board’s lawyer said they could come to an agreement with SUSD, or any other agency, that would be exempt from their current grants policy.

“It can be exempt from your policy because it’s not really applicable [to grants]. Your policy is when organizations come to you. This could be done through a separate arrangement as you deem fit.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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