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SLO County Board of Supervisors approves controversial district map, nonprofit announces plan to sue

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Dec 14, 2021

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to a new district map on Tuesday.

After hearing from dozens of residents during public comment, the board voted 3-2 to approve what's become known as the "Patten map."

The map was submitted by Arroyo Grande resident Richard Patten. It makes significant changes to the county's current supervisorial districts, including removing Oceano from District 4 and adding it to District 3, splitting the city of San Luis Obispo into two districts rather than three, and separating Los Osos, Morro Bay, and the Cayucos/Cambria area into three separate districts, among other changes.

The map approved on Tuesday included one minor change from the original Patten map. It moved approximately 100 residents from District 1 to District 2, keeping everyone within the San Miguel Community Services District boundaries in the same district.

The new map is set to go into effect in 2022.

Supervisors John Peschong, Debbie Arnold, and Lynn Compton voted to approve the map while Dawn Ortiz-Legg and Bruce Gibson voted against it.

Prior to the Tuesday afternoon hearing, a group of protesters gathered outside the County Government Center on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo, holding signs urging supervisors to reject the map.

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Residents gather on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, to protest the final map approved by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Those opposed to the map argue that it breaks up communities of interest and favors Republican representation, while those in favor believe it more fairly divides the county and follows all redistricting rules.

Immediately following the board's vote, a recently-formed nonprofit called San Luis Obispo County Citizens for Good Government, announced that it plans to file a lawsuit aiming to overturn the board's approval of the map.

The group claims that the map is a violation of the Fair Maps Act.

"Even though the county has considerably more Democrats than Republicans, the Patten map deliberately creates three districts with significantly more Republicans than Democrats," attorney Michael Normoyle said in a press release Tuesday. "The supervisors packed the remaining Democrats into two weirdly shaped districts. This is in clear violation of [California Elections Code] Section 21500 (d)."

SLO County Citizens for Good Government says it will be accepting donations to pay for the legal effort.

Click here for an interactive view of the final map.