By Barbara Wood
Menlo Park would be split into two San Mateo County supervisorial districts under all three possible redistricting maps an advisory committee has forwarded to the Board of Supervisors, which is scheduled to make a decision on district boundaries on Oct. 8.
All the plans given the nod at the Tuesday, Sept. 24, meeting of the county's District Lines Advisory Committee split Menlo Park into two districts. With slight variations in boundaries, they put the western part of Menlo Park into District 3, which also includes Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton and the coastside; while leaving the eastern part of Menlo Park in its current district, District 4, which also includes East Palo Alto and Redwood City.
Several Menlo Park City Council members have said they oppose dividing the city into two supervisorial districts.
Currently District 3 is represented by Don Horsley and District 4 is represented by Warren Slocum.
In November San Mateo County voters approved a measure changing the way county supervisors are elected. Previously, the supervisors representing each district were chosen county-wide. Now only the voters in each district can vote for their own supervisor.
As part of the settlement of a 2011 lawsuit by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights demanding an end to county-wide elections, the supervisors agreed to also consider changing current district boundaries.
The nine-member District Lines Advisory Committee, made up of supervisors Adrienne Tissier and Warren Slocum, plus council members from Daly City and East Palo Alto and a resident from each current district, has held 10 meetings, taking public comment and studying district boundaries. William Nack of Menlo Park represents District 4.
The Board of Supervisors can choose to leave the district boundaries as they are, but the advisory committee is not recommending a plan that does so.
Mr. Nack said he would be happy with any of the three plans the committee agreed to recommend to the Board of Supervisors. "I feel like any one of these three would work for me," he said. "We're down to three out of, how many did we start with, 20?"
Atherton resident Greg Conlon also told the advisory committee that he supports a plan that changes the current boundaries to include Menlo Park and Atherton in the same supervisorial district, because they share school districts and commercial services.
"I think the temptation is going to be very great for you to leave things the way they are," he said. Doing so, he said, might lead to trouble. "I think there is a risk of being challenged," he said.
Redistricting plans could be submitted by anyone, with the three that were ultimately recommended coming from the Community Unity Group, the Republican Party Central Committee of San Mateo County and former San Mateo County resident James Nakamura, each having been modified by the submitters several times.
The advisory committee, with the supervisors and Mr. Nack abstaining, also prioritized the redistricting proposals they have recommended. Their unanimous top choice was the Community Unity 4 plan, which was submitted by a group attempting to give more representation to minority groups in the county.
Second priority went to the Republican AA plan, which at the request of South San Francisco Mayor Pro-tem Karyl Matsumoto, a Democrat, will be renamed the Equity plan. Third priority was given to the Nakamura 1G plan.
The committee members, chosen by the Board of Supervisors, includes in addition to the supervisors and Mr.Nack: Gonzalo "Sal" Torres, a Daly City council member; Laura Martinez, an East Palo Alto council member; Hayden Lee of Millbrae; Raymond Lee of San Mateo; Barbara Arietta of Pacifica; and Rebecca Ayson of Daly City.
Maps of recommended plans
Community Unity Plan - (submitted by the Community Unity Group): Google map and
Republican (now called the Equity plan) - (submitted by the Republican Party Central Committee of San Mateo County)
Nakamura map (submitted by a citizen)
The current district map