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Sonoma County supervisors appoint new members to expanded redistricting commission

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday carried through its commitment to add four seats to the commission charged with redrawing the county’s five districts, following criticism that the panel’s makeup wasn’t diverse enough.

The board appointed Lyndsey Burcina, Kirstyne Lange, Mike Martini, Veronica Vences and Rocio Rodriguez to the 19-member commission.

Last week, the board intended to approve Martini to the Sonoma County Advisory Redistricting Commission as its 15th and final member. Strong pushback from community members and the NAACP calling for the board to add more diverse members, changed those plans.

On July 5 the NAACP issued an open letter to the Board of Supervisors contending that the board’s appointees at the time did not equitably represent all of the county’s residents.

State and federal law requires counties to redraw supervisorial districts every 10 years, following the U.S. Census in order to achieve population balance amid demographic shifts.

During last week’s discussion about expanding the commission, Vences, Lange and Burcina — all prior applications and all women of color — were named as potential nominees for three of the four additional seats.

Supervisor David Rabbitt later nominated Rodriguez for the last vacant seat.

Among the original applicants for the commission, Rodriguez works as the director for Sonoma County Community Organizations Active in Disaster and previously served as a member of the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights from 2017 to 2018.

The board approved the final appointments on Tuesday, with minimal discussion.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or emma.murphy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MurphReports.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Kirstyne Lange’s name and to add that Rocio Rodriguez’s term on the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights expired in 2018.

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