Public Letter

PUBLIC LETTER: Supervisors oppose redistricting of county with Santa Clara County

The county writes that it has had a long history of collaboration with its coastal partners.

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On Nov. 9, 2021 The San Benito County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to oppose the placement of San Benito County into the “Cupertino Draft Map” congressional district on their latest draft of the redistricting process.

Monterey County and San Benito County collaborate on regional issues of equity, like transportation, housing, water, broadband and of course, agriculture. We are home to thousands of farmworkers that work in the fields of the Salinas Valley, San Juan Valley and Hollister.

This move would remove San Benito County from the congressional district connection to the Central Coast area, of which the County has had a long history of collaboration with our coastal partners. This seat, now occupied by the Honorable Congressman Jimmy Panetta, has historically represented our local needs and interests well and is currently working on trying to come up with solutions to fix our own San Justo Reservoir.

This new reassignment would put San Benito County with south Santa Clara County and south San Jose. This area is densely populated and urban. Both San Benito County and Monterey County are rural in nature and character. The San Benito County Board of Supervisors feels this reassignment would not be a good fit and feel our County’s needs and concerns would be drowned out by densely populated and urban communities’ needs first.

Yesterday, elected representatives from San Benito County, including Supervisor Hernandez, Supervisor Tiffany , Cesar Flores, Vice Mayor of San Juan Bautista, and John Freeman, San Juan Bautista Council Member joined with Monterey County elected officials in a press conference in the City of Gonzalez, California. The purpose of the press conference was to encourage the public to contact the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to voice their concerns and oppose the latest redistricting placements by the commission.

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors encourages residents to immediately send comments to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, voicing their concern and urging them to place us back into the “Midcoast Draft Map”/Central Coast area.

Link to the Redistricting Commission’s Community Input Form


The following is a copy of the letter sent to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission:

Dear 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission,  

On behalf of the San Benito County Board of Supervisors, we thank you for your hard work in re‐ evaluating the boundaries of all the congressional, state Senate, state Assembly and State Board  of  Equalization  districts  following  the  2020  Census.  Your  hard  work  certainly  impacts  all  Californians  and  ultimately  has  the  most  significant  impact  on  the  most  vulnerable  and  underrepresented of our community members.   

We  are  significantly  concerned  and  oppose  the  recent  ” Congressional  District  Visualization”  VCD_CUPERTINO  1107.  The  proposed  visualization  bifurcate  San  Benito  County  from  its  longstanding congressional partnership and critical communities of interest. For almost 50 years,  San Benito County has been part of the same congressional district as Santa Cruz and Monterey  County. Historically, the 16th district became the 17th district after the 1990 census and is the  20th district today. It consists of all of Monterey and San Benito Counties, plus most of Santa Cruz  County. Consequently, on the November 2, 2021 meeting San Benito County was shown as part  of  the  VCD_MIDCOAST_1102  visualization  which  includes  the  counties  of  Santa  Cruz  and  Monterey, which corresponds to match with historical precedence and demographic similarities.  Splitting  San  Benito  County  from  its  current  congressional  district  would  be a  disaster  to  our  region. The San Benito County Board of Supervisors would like the redistricting commission to  keep  San  Benito  County  united  with  our  rural  neighboring  County  of  Monterey.  These  visualizations do not adequately reflect the longstanding and historically significant relationships  that exist between San Benito County, Monterey County, and Santa Cruz County. The central  coast counties have a high agriculture presence, clean energy alliance, lack of affordable housing,  lack  of  broadband  access,  and  many  other  similar  needs. The  economies  of  San  Benito  and  Monterey Counties continue to grow and diversify, sharing major employers, industries, and key  economic indicators.  

Additionally, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG), which is comprised  of  San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties, have historically collaborated on public transit  services and travel demand modeling due to aligned commuting patterns. We belong together  to ensure that all our residents with shared interests have a stronger voice at the federal level.  Grouping San Benito County with Santa Clara County will serve as an injustice to our community  members as our highly populated neighbor would drown our representation. As a result, we are concerned that the two regions have many competing demands, values, and interests and that  our County’s needs more closely align with  that of Monterey County. We  request  to consider  grouping San Benito County’s congressional district with the Central Coast counties as has been  done historically.   

We urge you to please evaluate the geographical needs of the region and its residents and give  our request the highest level of consideration. 


[Signed by all San Benito County Board of Supervisors: Bea Gonzales, Bob Tiffany, Kollin Kosmicki, Peter Hernandez, Betsy Dirks]

BenitoLink Staff