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Friday, January 21, 2022

Butte County district map referendum falls short of votes required

CHICO — The referendum petition to put the map of the newly adopted Butte County district on November’s ballot fell short of the necessary votes as it meets its deadline on Thursday.

An announcement was made Thursday during a press conference by referendum proponent David Welch that gave some of the details behind the effort.

Although residents were still signing the petition before the press conference was held, Welch said it had become clear that it would not meet the required number of 8,900 by the end of the day and that there were still “several hundred” signatures short. .

Welch said a number of factors play a role in the lack of votes such as the COVID-19 omicron version coming to a head combined with the series of storms that hit the county.

“Despite all this, we have had amazing feedback from volunteers across the county,” Welch said. “More than 160 citizens, mainly women, took up the petitions and invited their friends and neighbors to sign. Some individual volunteers received 100 or more signatures.”

One of the imminent concerns has been the prospect of a lawsuit. Asked if this is the group’s next move, Welch said he could not elaborate.

“I can’t really give any details,” Welch said. “We are still exploring options in that direction. I don’t want to say anything premature at this point of time, so it’s still very much under consideration.”

Another committee member, Mark Kerns, spoke during the press conference expressing his concerns regarding the two large agricultural districts in the west of the county.

Kerns said, “While these things were being discussed, I attended a meeting of the Board of Supervisors and it was very clear that most supervisors decided to ignore the law and the recommendations of the people they had put on a map.” was hired to make.”

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Observer Todd Kimmelshoe, who drew the map chosen by the board, praised the work done by those behind the referendum.

“I applaud the people who were holding the referendum and trying to get the signatures,” Kimelshu said. “They worked really hard, and that’s a good thing, but it tells the story that the general public is not in favor of it. I think they want the supervisory board to focus on issues that are important to the country like homelessness.” Being there, taking care of the roads, making sure everyone is safe and the law is enforced.”

The referendum petition process began in December when the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the new 10-year district map, which was met with criticism and controversy during months of discussion and public hearings. Was.

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