By Pam Slater-Price
As I have already made clear, I support the implementation of an independent commission to redraw county supervisorial lines.
The difference between me and Steve Danon, who wrote to this newspaper about this issue, is that he tries to write commentaries that leave out facts in the hopes that you won’t find out what he omitted.
And although I more than welcome debates that revise policies for the better, political posturing in the form of commentaries like his that overlook points of fact, are useless.
First of all, Danon is very good at omission. He said that I have had plenty of time to establish this commission. Well, let’s be clear, so has he.
Danon has worked for elected officials for nearly 20 years. He worked on staff for two county supervisors. Yet not once did he bring forward the idea of an independent commission.
He worked for Supervisor Ron Roberts in 2001 during the last redistricting. Not once did he work to bring forward an independent commission.
In fact, he did not advise his supervisor to vote against the blatant Gerrymandering of 2001. At that time, political jockeying carved huge chunks out of District 3. He did not object to the adoption of that map. Hard to believe that he omitted all these points. As a staffer and long-time lobbyist he should know better.
Maybe he thought he should focus more on creating an ethics commission. This way they could review why he is able to run for office seemingly full time on the taxpayer dime while working for a congressman. In fact, his boss’ district as of Aug. 15 no longer includes the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, or Escondido, where he spends a lot of his time.
Another fact: Danon has been in the district campaigning during key votes in Washington, D.C. Even more galling is that taxpayers pay for his flights between Washington, D.C. and San Diego. He should be ordered to reimburse those flights out of his own pocket.
But that aside, establishing an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is an idea that has been around a long time.
However, Paragraph 21500 of the state Elections Code applies to all 58 counties in California and states that the Boards of Supervisors “shall adjust the boundaries of any or all of the supervisorial districts of the county.”
In other words, the Legislature has set counties’ redistricting policy and only the Legislature or a statewide voter initiative can undo it.
In his commentary, Danon also criticizes my action to initiate the 2011 redistricting process. Of course, he knows that both the chair and vice chair as a matter of historic protocol sign the initial board letter to initiate the redistricting process. That business was non-controversial and passed on consent. Danon did not appear before the Board of Supervisors to express his outrage. The chair and vice chair did the same thing in 2001. Danon never pleaded with them not to do it.
He failed to mention any of this. More glaring omissions of the facts.
In this round of redistricting, an advisory panel hosted a dozen public meetings throughout the county to gather public input. The committee posted its maps and findings online and welcomed all feedback. The public had ample opportunity to weigh in.
While Congress has worked recently on weekends to debate the debt ceiling and the federal deficit Danon stumps for supervisor in San Diego County and writes commentaries on campaign issues – all while getting paid by us. It’s worse than when he ran unsuccessfully for San Diego City Council against Donna Frye. Back then he omitted things, too, including initially refusing to release his SDSU transcripts where his grades included an F and a D in political science. Evidently, he did not want voters to know that he was on probation for two full academic years.
The perils of gerrymandering pale by comparison to this guy. Seeing him in any elected office should be more frightening to the public than the latest Stephen King novel.
— Pam Slater-Price represents District 3 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.