Plan 5: back to the drawing board

It’s official: Controversial county redistricting Plan 5 will face another vote—and possibly two.

County Clerk Candace Grubbs announced Tuesday that she had certified the vast majority of the more than 14,000 referendum petition signatures turned in to force reconsideration of the plan.

That means that the Board of Supervisors, which approved the plan by the narrowest possible margin in August, will take a second vote on it.

Referendum organizers needed a minimum of 6,500 signatures to qualify but ended up turning in 14,588, reported Grubbs.

Grubbs’ office examined each of the signatures to make sure it was valid, she said. In the end, 11,907 were certified.

Board of Supervisors Clerk Marion Reeves confirmed that the plan would be placed on the board’s Nov. 20 agenda. If none of the supervisors change their votes (Jane Dolan and Mary Anne Houx voted against the plan; Bob Beeler, Curt Josiassen and Kim Yamaguchi voted for it), Plan 5 will be placed on the March ballot for voter consideration.

Supervisor Beeler, who voted for Plan 5, said that he’s still “thrilled” that the referendum will apparently go to the voters. He said he will not change his vote when the board reconsiders the matter in two weeks specifically because he wants to see what the voters say.

All the uproar was created when Yamaguchi presented his redistricting "Consensus Plan" two weeks after the public-comment period ended on the four other plans the county was considering. Until then, few people took notice of the redistricting process, but his plan caused a considerable stir for both the way it was presented and its content—it would divide the Chapmantown voting bloc and put much of Dolan’s and Houx’s urban Chico Districts 2 and 3 into the rural District 4. That would dilute Chico’s influence on the board and potentially make it a lot harder for Houx and Dolan to be re-elected.