This sign was in front of the old courthouse in June 2014.

Panelists answered the following: Do you support Gavilan College moving to district elections even if it means San Benito County voters would have less influence on the board?
Bill Mifsud: Yes. If the California Voting Rights Act says this the way it will be, then this is the way it will be. Everyone is afraid of being sued so if the districts have to be re-drawn then so be it.
Nants Foley: I am in favor of the changes. It is extremely difficult to campaign effectively over large geographic sectors. And once elected, the official must be responsive to everyone in the county, a daunting task. I look forward to seeing what happens with Gavilan in the future. 
Jim West: Yes. District elections come closer to the “one man, one vote” ideal than at-large voting. Moreover, I can’t see how San Benito County could possibly have less influence on the board than it has been under the current system. 
Ann Ross: Redistricting, or moving to district elections at Gavilan College, would be to supposedly move proactively in line with the California Voting Rights Act. This legislation serves minority groups in California to ensure their votes aren’t being diluted in at-large elections. However, reducing the number of votes from San Benito County through redistricting may have the opposite impact of what the CVRA intends. For example, with an estimated 57.9% Hispanic/Latino, population in San Benito County versus 26.8% in Santa Clara County, removing one of our county’s votes through redistricting may in effect dilute the minority vote on the board and lose the very impact a minority population needs to be fairly represented on this board in the first place. 
Mary Zanger: Yes. Three trustees have not proven to benefit San Benito County. Wise decisions rather than the number of trustees serving seems crucial. For example, the purchase of out-of-town land (Hwy 25 and Fairview Rd.) fails to serve the educational needs of the student population, as transportation and land use would be problematic. Whereas plenty of central infill areas beg for use and could be selected. Access by the large population of graduating seniors plus older students and returning students could be better served. 
Ruth Erickson: District elections for the Gavilan College board could be a good move as long as San Benito County doesn’t lose a board seat. More than one-third of Gavilan’s student population comes from San Benito County, but the demographers have to go by the whole district population. Unfortunately, Santa Clara population statistics are much higher than those for San Benito County, so we probably won’t be able to hold onto our third seat.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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