Water agency directors at mercy of Placer supes in district remap

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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While Placer County supervisors will have final say on carving out new district boundaries as part of the redistricting process, elected officials from the Placer County Water Agency can only watch and wait. One or two Placer County Water Agency elected officials could be on the outside looking in when final boundaries on their districts are decided on. If they live outside their former districts when boundaries are made official Nov. 1, they would be facing a special election against a fellow director to stay on the board. And because of the potential shifting of boundary lines, the possibility of two directors residing in one district could also mean at least one district could be without a water agency director – forcing an open election there as well. While the water agency and its officials have no official say in supervisors’ decision-making, state law says the agency’s district borders have to align with Placer County supervisorial districts. With the Board of Supervisors giving itself final say on district boundaries – Mike Lee and Gray Allen are facing the precarious position of living outside their current districts’ boundary lines. Borders are being shifted dramatically in Placer County because updated Census data driving changes is reflecting unprecedented growth in Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville – and lack of growth in eastern Placer County. District populations have to be about the same and the population swing over the past decade has been to South Placer. Lee, a Loomis resident, and Allen, who lives in Roseville, reside in areas that are being considered for shifts into different districts. Supervisors are eyeing changes that would leave Lee – now in Supervisor Kirk Uhler’s District 4 – residing in Auburn-area Water Agency Director Lowell Jarvis’ District 3. Lee, who has served the Loomis area on the board for 11 years, said he’s hopeful that the county can find a way to keep his residence in District 4. “I can certainly understand the logic in perhaps what they’re trying to do but I’d like to serve at least one more term,” Lee said. Lee said he has invested time and effort in the Middle Fork Project relicensing project and would like to see it through. “I’ll live with whatever happens,” Lee said. “But I think they can do it.” Under the currently favored map, Allen’s Roseville-area residence is in fellow Director Alex Ferreira’s Lincoln-area district. But supervisors were told Tuesday by planning staff that the shift to put him back in District 1 would not be difficult because he lives close to the new boundary. At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, agency General Manager David Breninger outlined concerns and expressed his own hope that current directors could continue on. “The challenge is keeping elected officials aligned with the people who elected them and the people with their elected official,” Breninger said.