From anywhere near Morro Rock on a clear day, you can see the City of Morro Bay to the east, Los Osos to the south, and to the north, Cayucos and our northern coast.
This panoramic vista encompasses the essence of San Luis Obispo County’s 2nd Supervisorial District, which I’ve been proud to represent since 2007.
Even before I took office, I knew the North Coast values its sense of community. Since even before our county was founded, we’ve been bound by our neighbor-to-neighbor interactions, by our shared life in the coastal hills and on the wide Pacific Ocean, and by our reverence for the remarkable landscape that surrounds us.
We are now amidst the once-a-decade struggle to revise the political boundaries that divide our county – and the North Coast has been ravaged in that process. In an action virtually certain to have occurred on Dec. 14 [post press time], the three hard-right supervisors of the board majority will have carved our coast into three separate pieces—scattering Los Osos, Morro Bay and Cayucos into three different and radically-redrawn districts.
This obviously diminishes our political voice, subsuming our fragments into the political power centers of Paso Robles, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo. We fall easy prey to the interests of our inland neighbors.
But it also degrades our county’s government: Imagine a single supervisor, of whatever political ilk, effectively serving constituents spread from Lake Nacimiento to San Miguel, Atascadero, Cayucos and San Simeon. Imagine what attention Los Osos might get from a supervisor centered in the Five Cities.
The audacity of this cynical power grab is sadly unsurprising, given the track record of the board majority. What’s striking, however, is their craven refusal to take responsibility for it.
The map was drafted by one of their fellow partisans and promoted by their political party’s county committee – yet, they have the temerity to deny it favors their political interests, even as political party registration data show it clearly does. The majority, when any of them speak at all, simply repeat their party’s talking points and desperately refuse to acknowledge the data that expose their deceit.
The fate of the new map seems likely to be determined in the courts, but the redistricting exercise has awakened many to the majority’s disdain for governance. So, I’m hopeful that the good citizens of this county will in the end prevail. Next year’s elections will be pivotal.